2 December 2016

MS Study participants wanted

We've received the following request from Bryony Bennett-Lloyd at The University of Bristol Clinical Research and Imaging Centre (CRIC) who seeks to recruit female volunteers. Several members at the November meeting were interested, and if you'd like to be part of this study please arrange things direct with the University department as requested below.

"We are doing a brain imaging study to look at the parts of the brain involved in attention and fatigue. Our aim is to find an objective and quantitative measurement of fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis, therefore improving diagnosis and clinical care for MS patients suffering from fatigue.

"We are recruiting female healthy volunteers in or near the South West to participate in our non-interventional study and wondered if your members might be interested or might know people who would be.The participants we require are females, ideally aged between 45 and 70.

"The study would involve lying in an MRI scanner for 55-60 minutes and having your brain scanned whilst you do a simple attention task. Travel expenses will be covered by the research team, and the study has been fully ethically approved.

"For those who meet the criteria and are interested in taking part in our study please email cv13365@bristol.ac.uk or call 0117 342 1505 for further information."

Clifton WI Charity Donation for 2016

The three charities shortlisted were:

SARSAS (Somerset and Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support) - SARSAS.org.uk

Bristol & District Tranquilliser Project  http://www.btpinfo.org.uk/

Hartcliffe Youth Project  http://www.southbristolyouth.org.uk/hartcliffecyp

Members present at the November meeting voted overwhelmingly to donate our £500 operating surplus from the past year's accounts to the Hartcliffe Youth Project.

1 December 2016


Grateful thanks to all those who brought lovely home-made goodies to last night's meeting, and we'd just like to remind you that we still need lots of freshly-baked deliciousness for Sunday. So please, please, get baking on Saturday if you can - muffins, biscuits, fruit cakes, Victoria sandwich, brownies, whatever you love to make. Christmas cakes, puddings and edible decorations, of course - or how about a little box of gorgeous truffles from the recipe in the new post below? WI baking is always in huge demand, so we can sell as much as you can bring us!

We'll be setting up from 10am on Royal York Crescent (our stall is opposite no. 20 RYC) so please bring your contributions there between 10 and 12.

If you can't bring your goodies on Sunday please email Sally who can arrange for alternative delivery.

All profits from the whole year's fundraising (after our operating expenses are paid) are given at the end of the year to a local charity that you, the members, vote for. Next time it could be your pet charity so please give generously!

Last night's meeting - origami boxes - and chocolate truffles to put inside!

We had a lovely crafty time at Clifton WI last evening with guest speaker Judith Laing, who had set up a display of her jaw-droppingly intricate and lifelike origami sculptures and gave us a brief talk about how her hobby began a good many years ago, and more lately turned into a business when she was made redundant from her 'day job'. Since then she's travelled the world to give demonstrations and tuition, including an all-expenses-paid trip to Hawaii!

Judith then provided us with the materials and guided us in making our own simple origami objects - a Christmas tree, a six-pointed star and a little presentation box. She suggested the box could be filled with treats as a small gift, and lo! as if by magic brand new member Marianne Stewart, a professional pastry chef and cookery teacher, kindly gave the following recipe.

Chocolate truffles:
makes approx 50. 

300g double cream 
300g dark chocolate (ideally 60% cocoa)
1tsp honey or glucose 
optional flavouring: 1tb alcohol e.g. Brandy, Cointreau, Rum, 1/2 vanilla pod split in 2, zest of 1 orange

1. Chop the chocolate roughly & place in a heatproof bowl. Warm slightly in microwave (this helps prevent truffle mix from splitting) - it doesn't have to be completely melted.

2. Heat the cream and honey/glucose (and vanilla or orange zest if using) until boiling point. 

3. Remove from the heat and pour over the chocolate. (Strain if you added vanilla or orange zest). Shake the bowl so the cream covers all the chocolate evenly and let it sit for 1 minute. 

4. Stir the mixture together gently using a balloon whisk until the chocolate and cream are evenly mixed. If adding alcohol, stir it in at the end. 

5. Tap the bowl to release any air bubbles and cover the surface with cling film. Let cool then chill in the fridge until firm (around 1 hour).

6. Use a teaspoon or melon baller to scoop out large teaspoons of the mix and roll into balls before dusting with cocoa powder. Or melt a little dark chocolate and using food gloves roll each truffle with the dark chocolate to coat. Let set on baking parchment. 

7. Truffles should keep in a cool dark place for up to 2 weeks. Can also be refrigerated but check they are in a well sealed container so they don't absorb other flavours. 

27 November 2016


The resolutions for 2017 are published in the current issue of WI Life (pages 43 - 45) and via this link

Every WI member is invited to vote for the resolutions they wish to have shortlisted for presentation at the next AGM, and a vote will be taken at the January meeting which is then submitted as the Clifton response to add to the Avon Federation of WIs.  

Before the January meeting, please look at the Resolutions, complete the voting form on page 45 of WI Life and bring it with you to the meeting.

November meeting - Origami and charity selection

Lots to get through, so we'll be starting a bit earlier to fit it all in. Please arrive by 7.30 if you possibly can - and don't forget to bring scissors for the origami workshop with Judith Laing. Click on the "next meeting" tab for more information about Judith's talk and a link to some fabulous photos of her incredible origami.

Before Judith's demonstration, however, you will receive a very brief introduction to the three charities shortlisted by the Committee to receive our donation from Clifton WI's surplus funds from the past year.

21 November 2016

Royal York Crescent Christmas Fayre Sunday 4 December

A reminder that we're running a stall at the brilliant RYC Christmas Fair, selling home-made goodies of all kinds. This is such a great festive event with lots to do, see and buy - and this year it'll be bigger than ever, with several choirs performing Christmas music and a fun dog show.

We welcome donations of all kinds of home baking - cakes, biscuits, mince pies, Christmas cakes or puddings, edible tree decorations - or jams, chutneys, mincemeat, brandy butter, Christmas crafts - even a prettily-tied bunch of holly or mistletoe from your garden. It'll all add to the festive home-made goodies on offer and raise funds for Clifton WI and our chosen charity for 2017.

Please bring any non-perishable donations to the next WI meeting on Wednesday 30 November, or if you can't make the meeting - or if you're kindly doing some fresh baking - then you can just bring your goodies along on Sunday morning - Sally and Gill will be setting up from 10am and the fair opens at 11. You'll find our stall opposite no. 20 Royal York Crescent.

If you have a problem getting your donations to us either on Wednesday or Sunday, please email thecliftonwi@gmail.com and Sally or Gill will get back to you to arrange an alternative.

It would be hugely helpful if you could bring your donations in cardboard boxes or other disposable packaging but if this isn't feasible then any tins or other containers you leave with us can be collected at the January meeting.

9 November 2016

Change of Address and WI Life

If you move house, don't forget to let us know your new address by emailing thecliftonwi@gmail.com - otherwise you'll miss out on your monthly copy of WI Life.

24 October 2016

Meeting this week

Do you drink wine? If so, are you QUITE sure you have enough wine glasses to take you through the festive season?

No? Well your luck is in because we have a surplus of wine glasses to dispose of so at Wednesday's meeting you can buy a box of four John Lewis Basic wine glasses for just £2.

Also, don't forget that Christmas party tickets will be available so please bring £15 cash or cheque (payable to Clifton WI).

Lastly, Lorna will be collecting donations to make up hospital/prison packs for the One25 project, so please think about what a difference you can make to women who are trying to get off the streets in Bristol. The following items are needed to make up each pack:

Items for hospital and prison packs

(new items only in sizes 6-16, individual items or made-up packs)

Prison pack: pyjamas, two tops and leggings, a pack of 1st class stamps, 3x knickers, 2 pairs of socks
Hospital pack: pyjamas, two tops and leggings, slippers and a wellbeing item i.e. wordsearch puzzle, colouring book and pens etc.

11 October 2016

October Meeting

October is the month for our Annual Meeting, and as you'll know if you're a longstanding member our AM is legendary for its brevity! This does, however, depend on everybody taking a little time to read through the Annual Report and look at the Financial Report which our Treasurers have so diligently and expertly prepared, and which will be emailed to all members at least a week beforehand.

If you have any queries at all about either of these reports please, please email cliftonwi@gmail.com or speak to a committee member WELL BEFORE 26 OCTOBER so that somebody can answer your question in advance.

As soon as the business is over and glasses have been recharged, we have a treat in store with a singing workshop led by Ian Towers.

Full details are under the "next meeting" tab - hop over and check out Ian's credentials!

Christmas Party

Lots of you have already put your names down for the Clifton WI Christmas Party at Channings on Wednesday 14th December, so please remember to bring your £15 to the October meeting to receive your ticket and confirm your place.

If you wish to bring anybody, you're most welcome to do so - as long as they're of the female persuasion - the more the merrier!

25 September 2016

One25 - Step Away from the Streets

One25 is a Bristol charity which helps women to leave sex work. One of the many ways we can help them is by donating complete or partial hospital or prison packs, comprising a specific list of items which you will find here.

Lorna will be collecting donations at the October meeting so if you'd like to help this highly-valued charity you have a month to collect the items they request. If you can donate a complete pack, please bag and label it accordingly - maybe you could get together with one or two friends and assemble a pack between you? Otherwise, individual items will be gratefully received for One25 to make up packs.


Royal York Christmas Fayre - Sunday 4 December

Are you making any kind of preserves with your autumn produce, or are you about to make mincemeat or Christmas cakes or puddings? If so, it would be great if you could make extra for the Clifton WI stall at the Royal York Christmas Fayre in early December. Last year this was a big success both financially and in publicising Clifton WI and we gained several new members early in the new year, so we'll be running a stall there again this year selling all kinds of home-made baking and preserves.

The WI ethos of home baking and preserves still counts for a lot, and people couldn't get enough of our lovely home-made provisions at the last two fetes, so we'll be counting on your generosity in the run-up to Christmas to pile our stall high!

But not everybody loves to bake or make preserves, so if cooking isn't your thing, then don't be shy - come and buy!

18 September 2016

Theatre Group

Grateful thanks to Jane Golding for starting the Theatre Group several years ago now, and for running it ever since with calm efficiency. Jane has now retired from this role and passed the baton (usherette's torch?) to Paulene Denyer.

If you have any ideas about future theatre visits Paulene would love to hear from you. Meanwhile, three new Hippodrome shows are on the horizon:

The Commitment - featuring over 20 classic soul hits (February 2017)
Sunny Afternoon - memories of The Kinks in their heyday! (March 2017)
Matthew Bourne's The Red Shoes (April 2017)

If you're already a member of the Theatre Group you'll have received details directly from Paulene, and if you would like to be then you need to email her without delay on psdenyer@gmail.com.

See under the Special Interest Groups tab for contact details of the other groups' organisers.

Bristol Fashion Week

Would you like to join other Clifton WI members and attend a catwalk show at Bristol Fashion Week? The event runs from 28 September to 2 October at The Mall, Cribbs Causeway, and you're invited to meet up for the 6pm show on Friday 30 September. Tickets cost £8.95 and can be booked online here

The catwalk shows last 45 minutes and M&S are sponsoring goody bags and refreshments on arrival. If you'd like to go, please book your own ticket and let Barbara Quin know by emailing her on barbaraquin@email.com 

Barbara will wait at the fountain in the central atrium from 5pm and will need to know who's turning up, then the plan is to join the queue by 5.40 as recommended, and go in together. Afterwards if you don't need to hurry home you may wish to browse the new trends in the shops.


Mah-Jong is fun, fast and keeps the brain cells active - something we all need to do! 

Jan Hamilton is hoping some members will be interested in playing Mah-Jong on a regular basis during the winter months. If there are enough people interested she'd be glad to get a new Special Interest Group up and running so please email her on jan@tuffleighhouse.com or speak to Jan or Patsy at a Clifton WI meeting.

This could perhaps run monthly, and it's envisaged that it'd be an afternoon group meeting in a local pub, but Jan would host the initial meeting or two and the potential membership could sort out the details between them.

LIGHT YEARS at the Watershed

We have been invited to a screening of a new feature film which was shot in and around Bristol and stars a local cast mixed with international artists, actors and singers - including Beth Orton in her first acting role.

LIGHT YEARS was made by local BAFTA-winning film maker Esther May Campbell and premiered at the Venice Film Festival. 

Esther recently ran a successful crowdfunding campaign and as a result LIGHT YEARS will now play at the Watershed on Monday - Thursday 26, 27, 28 and 29 September at 1810 each day.

Aware of the difficulties that women can face in the creative arts, and in particular film and television, Esther is keen to invite local WI members to watch the film and has negotiated with the Watershed for a discounted price. All you have to do is inform the box office by phone or in person that you're a member of Clifton WI and you'll get the concession.

Watershed: 0117 927 5100

8 August 2016

Alma Vale Summer Fayre

Thanks to all your many wonderful contributions to our stall in the Artisan Market, Clifton WI made £150 from this event. Home baking and preserving from WI members still has a particular appeal and it was notable how many of our customers stopped by and bought because of the WI reputation. It helped as well that our stall was the most attractive and vibrant one there, according to one customer!

Victoria spent much of the day recruiting in her usual inimitable fashion, and we confidently expect some new visitors as a result.

As for the dog show, our very own Jane Thomas confesses she was in doggy heaven as one of the judges. Jane reports:

Canine Chaos, but many wagging tails, happy owners and dog treats.
Canine comedy with 40 odd dogs all trying to do a quickest sit, and the best dog trick was won by one who could dance on her hind legs, followed by the husky who could woof on demand.
Odd how many people were proud to enter the owner who looks most like their dog! (AND THEY DID!!!)

August meeting - Wednesday 31st

Traditionally our August meeting is a social with "home-grown" activity or entertainment, and this year our programme co-ordinator Jill is presenting a quiz with a difference. Rumour has it there might be silly drawings involved, and pubs, and pasta. Do we know anything about pubs and pasta? We'll see!

These August meetings are great for getting to know other members, as we're in small teams around tables and there's more time to chat properly. It's a good opportunity for new members to integrate and for visitors who might be thinking of joining to get the feel of Clifton WI.

Nordic Walking

Our summer meeting was quite a novelty and over 30 members enjoyed Nordic Walking tuition from Bristol Nordic Walking and then a short walk on the Downs, before joining the hardcore (sorry, the key committee members who'd nobly foregone the exercise in order to meet and greet the returning walkers) in the Kings Arms.

It was a lovely evening and we ended up taking over half of the roof terrace in the sunset while we had a very relaxed and enjoyable social time.

14 July 2016

Light Years at the Watershed

One hot summer’s day, Rose (newcomer Zamira Fuller) longs to see her mum (Beth Orton) but nobody will take her.  Her father (Muhammet Uzuner), struggling to cope, disappears to work, her sister (Sophie Burton) waits to meet a boy on the local golf course and her brother (James Stuckey) is preoccupied at home communing with spirits online.
Taking destiny into her own hands she sets off alone deep into England’s forgotten edge lands to reach her.  Rose’s odyssey provokes her disconnected, fractured siblings and parents into a poignant reunion to face their challenges together.

Clifton WI has been asked to help support women in UK film-making by publicising a crowd-funding project. Light Years, made by independent film company Third Films, is directed by BAFTA award-winning film maker and photographer Esther May Campbell and features the acting debut of acclaimed singer/songwriter Beth Orton.

It is planned to show the film at the Watershed on Saturday 24 September, and in order to make this happen the promoters are seeking pledges of £12 for a ticket.

More details here - please read and pledge!

13 July 2016

Nordic Walking 27 July

Just two weeks till our next Clifton WI event, which offers an excellent opportunity to try out Nordic walking with a beginners' lesson amongst friends, led by the experts!
If you can walk, you can Nordic walk - but Nordic walking increases your fitness levels far, far more than 'ordinary' walking and not only burns lots more calories but will tone your entire body, especially waist and triceps, so what's not to like?
To ensure there are enough instructors and poles for everybody we do need numbers by Monday morning 25 July, so it's important that you let us know by emailing cliftonwi@gmail.com if you haven't already put your name down at a Clifton WI meeting.
For more information go to http://www.bristolnordicwalking.co.uk/nordic-walking/benefits

Walkers meet near Cafe Retreat on the Downs (just beyond the water tower) and tuition will start promptly at 7.30pm. If you're not walking you can join us at the King's Arms any time from 8pm for a social evening, and the walkers will join us later on.

11 July 2016

Durdham Downs Group meeting TOMORROW EVENING

There's room for a couple more from Clifton WI at the Bowls and Bakes event which Gloucester Road WI are hosting tomorrow evening from 7pm. Entry is £3 and it takes place at the St Andrews Bowling Club on Derby Road, which leads off Sommerville Road near the top corner of St Andrews Park.

You can buy tasting tokens and vote on your favourite entry - categories include several types of cake and bread, biscuits and pies, so what a great chance to try out some new flavours ... and isn't it always true that somebody else's home cooking is such a treat! (Plus I've heard a rumour of Pimm's ...)

Meanwhile you can lose a few of those cake-induced calories by trying out lawn bowls, tutored by the experts at St Andrews Bowling Club. You must wear flat shoes (or bare feet?) though!

Clifton WI monthly e-newsletter

The monthly e-newsletter is emailed to all current members, last year's members and visitors from this year and last year. We've had a number bounce back from the last mailing though, so if you think you should have received a newsletter but can't remember seeing it, please update your email address in an email to thecliftonwi@gmail.com

The newsletter is normally sent out the weekend before each meeting of Clifton WI and even if you're just looking at this website and haven't yet visited us, we'd be very glad to send you a copy so just let us have your contact details and we'll put you on the mailing list and hope that one day you'll come to one of our meetings!

No email addresses are ever passed on to anybody, and it's pretty rare that we'd send you more than the one email a month with the newsletter attached.

1 July 2016

July meeting

Our next meeting is an introduction to Nordic Walking. We've been taking names at the last two meetings but if you're not yet on the list would you please email and let us know you'd like to join in so we can ensure there are enough poles and instructors.

Walkers will meet at 7.30 on Wednesday 27 July outside Cafe Retreat, near the Water Tower.

After instruction and a short test walk on the Downs, we'll be quenching our thirst at the King's Arms on Blackboy Hill.

However, if you would rather just enjoy a social evening without the effort of Nordic Walking then Lorna and others will be waiting in the pub from about 8pm.