Monday, 9 November 2015

Out and About in October!

October was a busy month for Herts Belles!

Ghosts, Ghouls and things that go bump in St Albans...

As Halloween approached, October's meeting saw the bravest of the Belles hit the streets of St Albans on a ghost walk. Led by local tour guides Bernard and Elizabeth the walk took us to some of the oldest, most interesting and most haunted buildings in the city.

The tour started outside the Old Town Hall where we learned about the ghostly soldiers who died in the Battles of St Albans during the Wars of the Roses in the fifteenth century. Witnesses have heard the clattering of hooves and clinking of armour on the anniversary of the battles.

Then we headed to The Grange, now Nationwide, the building dates back to 1763 and was built by John Osbourne, a former mayor of St Albans. It is said to be haunted by his daughter-in-law Dorothy Osbourne who killed herself when she found out her husband was having an affair. Her ghost has been seen disappearing through walls and workers in the offices have reported a ghostly chill in the air even when the heating is on....

We also headed to Ivy House and heard the gruesome story of Meades the chambermaid. Many people have reported seeing the apparition of a young woman dressed in white going up the staircase of the building. She is thought to be the ghost of Meades, a servant who found herself pregnant by a member of the household and was punished by being bricked up alive behind a wall of the house!

After hearing about various pubs, inns and houses with enough ghostly goings-on to keep Yvette Fielding and the Most Haunted team busy for a whole series, we ended the tour at the Cathedral. Alongside the usual array of ghostly monks, heretics and exorcisms we heard how organ is mysteriously heard playing even when the church is empty and locked - spooky!

For more information about walking tours of St Albans have a look at the website

Soggy Bottoms and Warm Buns...

Herts Belles teamed up with Waterstones to host two bake off competitions in St Albans and Welwyn Garden City. Entrants were judged on their creativity, taste, presentation and technique plus an overall star baker award. We were there promoting all things WI and talking to potential members.

A host of celebrity judges including Charlotte White from Restoration Cakes, Masterchef finalist Theo Michaels and Herts Advertiser food critic Becky Alexander were joined by Lucy from Heaven is a Cupcake, Danny Smith, presenter of West Herts Drivetime and Mayor of St Albans  Salih Gaygusuz to taste the vast array of cakes on offer.


The judges hard at work sampling the entries

With the pressure to uphold the WI's reputation, Herts Belles ladies did us proud! At the St Albans Bake Off Bec won the award for best tasting bake and Dawn won Star Baker, while at the Welwyn Bake Off Emma G won best presentation. Congratulations!

Dawn and Bec with judge Charlotte White
Dawn's Star Baker cake

Emma G's award winning Nutella cake

Music, Magic and More...

This month saw us host our long-awaited Autumn Group Meeting for the other local WI's.

Nearly 100 WI members packed out the London Road Club for an exciting evening of entertainment.

The evening was compered by friend of the Belles. Cllr Annie Brewster and began with a recording of 'Loving Hearts and Skilful Hands: by Sandra Kerr and Werca's Choir, a song written especially for the WI Centenary.

Cllr Annie Brewster

The first half featured two fantastic live acts. The Polkadot Dolls vocal harmony group brought some vintage glamour to the proceedings singing a selection of songs from the 1940's. The gorgeous girls were followed by magician Kevin Flannery who astounded the audience with an array of tricks and illusions and balloon art.
The Polkadot Dolls

Kevin Flannery

The interval gave everyone a chance for tea,sandwiches and cake - and even a cheeky glass of wine or two.

The second half got underway with a mesmerising routine from CaHula Rose, hula hoop performer, followed by the very glamorous Delilah Delice burlesque act.

CaHula Rose

Delilah Delice
The evening's finale, girl group, The Amorelles, hand every one up on their feet and singing along to a selection of sounds from the sixties. 

The Amorelles

After the raffle was drawn, all that was left was to thank everyone for a fantastic evening and wish everyone a safe journey home. Now we can relax and look forward to the Spring group meeting!

We would like to thank everyone who came, all the fabulous acts who performed and everyone who gave their time and hard work to organise such a fantastic evening.

The next meeting sees the Belles back at the Jubilee Centre getting ready for the festive season with a Christmas wreath making workshop run by Nadine form Spinney Cottage flowers. The cost of the workshop is £7.50 which covers all the materials you will need to make a fabulous wreath or table centrepiece. Full details of the evening are on our Facebook page so hopefully see you there...

Best wishes,
Emma C