Victoria at Harewood


Last Tuesday we had a lovely day at Harewood House, we had a private tour of the Victoria exhibition, so we were looking round for an hour before the house opened to the public.  As Harewood House was used in the filming of the TV programme ‘Victoria’  they now have an exhibition about Victoria, including many of the costumes used in the programme.

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Walk around Harewood


Our walking group were blessed with fine weather last week when Tina led us around the Harewood estate on a route I’ve personally never taken before.

It was a perfect Autumn walk with all the delicious spicy, damp smells of the season, birdsong, a glimpse or two of Red Kites, the sound of hundreds of geese preparing to migrate, and flocks of red deer gathering together for the rutting season, plus wonderful glimpses of Harewood House itself.DSC_0277

In all we walked around five miles with one or two steep hills which, as everyone knows, I don’t like ! But it didn’t matter because the whole walk was so enjoyable. We rounded it off with delicious coffee, tea and cake in the (new to me) cafe at the back of the village hall. That was a real surprise and highly recommended if you plan to walk around Harewood.

Hazel (2)

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Federation Quiz Team

Our quiz team were celebrating again having won comfortably at the first round. There were seven teams from the area at Bolton Abbey village Hall and the questions were pretty tough, try these out;

Name five of the seven wonders of the world…and you only got one point for all five!!

Give the first six words of the 1863 Gettysburg address.

Which part of the flower becomes the fruit?

Which English County with a sea border has the shortest coastline?

On which island is Fingals Cave?

We had a lovely supper provided by Bolton Abbey WI, and Hazel was very organised with pre-supper snacks and a bottle of wine to help the team along.



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Ilkley Playhouse

Roger and Barbara Davey from Ilkley Playhouse were the speakers at our September meeting. Roger began by giving us a brief history of the drama group, known from the beginning as the Ilkley Players, who produced their first play in 1929.  After using various venues around the town they finally settled in part of the Liberal Club in Weston Road and in 1960 were able to purchase the freehold of the entire building and could then begin to convert it all. Roger went on to explain how they select which plays they’ll perform each year starting with sixty titles and eventually whittling these down to eight. He also told us a little about how the sets are built, the sound and lighting, the auditioning process, and the intensive rehearsals which take place before each production finally opens.

Then Roger introduced Barbara who gave a very interesting account of their production of ‘The Jungle Book’ which they performed in Ilkley this year and which the cast and crew then took to the Minack Theatre in Cornwall during the summer. She gave us a brief history about how this wonderful and unique open air theatre was created, perched in the cliffs overlooking the Atlantic.<> on August 2, 2013 in Penzance, England.

She’d brought along some of the inventive costumes and masks which were made for the production. Barbara had agreed to take on the job of making the masks which involved a great deal of research and a lot of trial and error working out the best materials to use and how the actors could keep them in place whilst performing. It was truly fascinating to learn how she did it and the masks were quite amazing. Then we had a Powerpoint tour of the costume department at the Playhouse and shots of the final production in the spectacular surroundings of the Minack Theatre. Once again a fascinating evening.

Our visit to Menwith Hill in August was an eye-opener, especially for those of us who went all the way up to the dish inside one of the golfballs ! Never imagined we’d do that. image

We enjoyed the Celebrating Yorkshire Day with Amanda Owen, the Yorkshire Shepherdess, and just last week a team from our WI took part in the preliminary heat of our Federation quiz when over 60 teams from North Yorkshire West compete. Although we won at our venue we won’t know for a while if we scored enough points to go forward to the final, so watch this space.

As usual we have our craft and walking groups, and a monthly lunch get together and in October our speakers are Jill Turton and Amanda Wragg, restaurant critics for the Yorkshire Post and restaurant inspectors for a number of national food guides. They’re passionate about good food and claim to have eaten at every halfway decent restaurant in the whole of Yorkshire…… well someone has to do it !

Sue A





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Rigby and Pellar Visit

Following our July meeting where two ladies from Rigby and Pellar came to tell us the history of the company and all about corsetry, several ladies took them up on their offer of an evenings appointment at their Harrogate shop.

Judging by the smiles they had a very enjoyable and uplifting time at the store!


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Celebrating Yorkshire

In August several of us spent a very interesting day at Hampsthwaite village hall at  a federation event called Celebrating Yorkshire. There were several interesting speakers, all of course with a Yorkshire theme.

The first speaker was from Wharfe Valley Farms in Collingham. Wharfe Valley Farms make rapeseed oil, they diversified into manufacturing in order to ensure the farm could support their son as well. They harvest the seeds using traditional methods rather than the modern method of using chemicals. They then  press the seeds to extract the oil in order to preserve the natural nutritional values of the oil.They now make several types of oils and the waste product is made into briquettes for burning in a woodburner.


We then enjoyed a cookery demonstration, where despite tribulations with the sound system, we were shown five different recipes; pea & mint soup, summer baked Wensleydale chicken, fish parcels, lamb wellington and apple and bramble brad and butter pudding. Even better we all got a copy of the recipes to try at home. After all those lovely smells we were all ready for lunch.

As there was so many of us lunch was provided in picnic form, which was great, we could sit outside in the sunshine to eat our delicious packed lunch.cheese

Our next speaker was a very entertaining gentleman from Wensleydale Creamery, he told us all about the history of the company and about the production of cheese, all whilst making cheese in front of us in a mixing bowl, just using his hands.


The highlight of the day for me was the last speaker, the Yorkshire Shepherdess. Amanda grew up in Huddersfield with absolutely no farming background but decided as a teenager that she wanted to be a shepherdess, much to the amusement of the careers officer.

Amanda 3 She told us of her journey to get to her dream of being a shepherdess and her life at the top of Swaledale in a remote farmhouse with her husband and nine children.

Amanda 1Throughout her talk she had a stream of beautiful photos of the farm in all weathers, her family and her work. It was an inspiring talk of following your dream.

Amanda 2


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Open Arms Infant Homes

Apologies, I’ve got a bit behind with posts!

One of our members, Andrea ,was our speaker at August’s meeting. She’s a longstanding volunteer at the Open Arms Infant Homes in Malawi and gave a moving insight into its valuable work caring for orphaned babies and toddlers who would otherwise almost certainly die. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, an estimated 74% of its population earn less than 1.25 dollars per day, and many women die in childbirth, either due to lack of medical facilities, poor diet, or health complications.

Malawi 1

This is why Open Arms exists, to take in orphaned and abandoned babies and provide love, shelter, food, and medical care, until such time as they can be returned to their extended families where possible and hopefully grow up healthy and strong.

Malawi 2

It was an extremely moving account of life in Malawi and was a salutory reminder of how lucky we are in the West.

Malawi 3


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Lime and Coconut Cake

IN0trRLLQ6y10kjPeui0_CoconutLimeCake2I’ve been asked for the recipe for my Lime and Coconut cake which I make for Askwith show, so I thought I’d put it on here! It’s quite exciting as no one has ever asked me for a recipe before!!! I always make mixture in my Kenwood…

  • 8oz (225g) plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 8oz (225g) butter at room temperature
  • 8oz (225g) sugar
  • grated zest of 2 limes
  • 4 eggs from chickens in garden!
  • 4tbsp fresh lime juice (from about 2 limes)
  • 3oz (85g) desiccated  coconut

I always weigh my eggs as there is a huge discrepancy in egg size depending on who has laid the egg (Jasmine’s are little, but Evangeline’s are huge!!) and ensure the flour, butter and sugar are the same weight.

For frosting, sorry, this recipe is all in metric, it’s from the hummingbird cookbook!

  • 600g icing sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • 250g cream cheese
  • Lime juice and zest from 1 lime


  1. Preheat oven to GM4/350/180. Grease 9″ sandwich tin, line bottom if necessary
  2. In the large bowl, beat butter, sugar and lime zest on full speed until pale and fluffy,  then continue at full speed to beat in eggs one at a time. I usually add a tablespoon of the flour every so often to try and stop it curdling!
  3. Fold in flour, baking powder and salt on slowest speed, add lime juice at same time. When mixture is smooth, fold in 2/3rds of coconut mixture.
  4.  Pour in baking tin, smooth out and bake for about 40-50 minutes. Test with a skewer
  5. Allow cake to cool on wire rack.
  6. Spread remaining coconut on a spare cake tin. Bake until golden, give it a stir or a shake after a few minutes. Watch carefully as it doesn’t take long, maybe 5 minutes or so. Cool.
  7. Make cream cheese frosting; I seem to remember this makes a lot of frosting, but half quantities is not enough and my maths isn’t up to more complex divisions! Beat icing sugar and butter together in mixer on slow-medium speed until it comes together and is well mixed. Add the cream cheese in one go and beat it on medium to high speed until light and fluffy, around 5 minutes, keep a close eye on it though as if it is overbeaten it goes runny! Add lime juice and zest during this last beating, adjusting to taste as needed.
  8. Cut cake into two layers, spread frosting over middle and on top. Sprinkle toasted coconut on top to make it look pretty!



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