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March 2020

On Friday 6 March 2020 Louth International Women’s Association held its Annual General Meeting.

12 members and a guest were present. The secretary took the meeting.

Apologies were noted.

Last year’s monthly events were read out as a re-cap.

The financial report was presented by the treasurer and discussed. MA has been IWA’s treasurer for more years than she could remember and will now hand over the job to another member.  The IWA thanked her for all the work she has done over the years, always keeping an ample balance on the IWA account, and presented her with two roses, aptly named Thank you and All Gold.

The committee’s suggestion to increase the annual fee for membership of the IWA was discussed.  In the end it was decided to increase the fee to £15 per year, to increase the fee for the speakers to £30 (while the committee can decide to pay more where necessary), to restrict IWA’s spenditure to the fees for the monthly events (including £10 for the hostess), but what’s left of the legacy received two years ago and the extra money on the bank account can be used to pay towards special outings.  Suggestions for such outings were given at the meeting and are welcomed by the committee who will make final suggestions to the members.

The payment of the subgroup fees was not changed (£1 per person per attended meeting, to be paid to the hostess).

All the present members filled in the renewal membership form and the guest decided to join on the spot!  Starting this year membership fees can only be paid by cheque or online.

The present committee members were re-appointed and SB was re-appointed as committee member after a 2 year break. GC was appointed new Treasurer, while she and MA will be signatories for the IWA account. Members who are willing to join the committee are very welcome.

Next year’s programme was discussed. The meeting agreed to appoint Women’s Refuge as charity for this year.  Members were encouraged to help organising events like the garden party. 

The monthly meeting programme and the programmes for the three subgroups (2 Literature groups and 1 Issues group) have been emailed to the members.

All the programmes will be put on IWA’s website.

The members agreed that the best way to ‘advertise’ the IWA was by word of mouth and by hanging posters in public/visible places and every member is encouraged to attract new (younger) members. 

All in all the meeting lasted longer than the regular monthly meetings so the afterwards presented tea/coffee and tasty buffet were very welcome!

February 2020

On Friday 7 February 2020 sixteen IWA members got together to listen to former IWA member Irina Lingard.  She discussed the rise and fall of tsars and tsarinas of the Romanov dynasty in Russia from 1613 until the abdication of Nicholas II in 1917.  She highlighted the lives of Sophia, regent in the 17th century, Peter I the Great who lead the country into the 18th century, Catherine II the Great and Alexander III the Liberator. She also showed the links between the Danish, British, Greek, Russian and Hanoverian royal families in the 19th century thanks to the marriages of Danish king Christian IX’s children.  Five myths were unravelled, and some Russian jewellery followed in their trip all over the world. 

We thanked Irina for her illuminating talk and enjoyed an, as usual, varied array of savoury and sweet dishes provided by the members.

January 2020

On Sunday 12 January 2020 13 IWA members gathered at 12.30 at Restaurant Montebello, Upgate, Louth for the yearly winter event.   

After the successful gathering last year, the committee decided to again choose for a lunch event.  This time however no buffet, but a choice of a mains and/or desert for every member.  The atmosphere was great, the food very nice and we were happy for the IWA to offer us a glass of wine / juice beforehand.

December 2019

On Friday 6 December 2019 17 IWA members attended a meeting at which Derek Gibson, vice chair of the Louth Churches for Refugees, explained the work of the charity over the past 5 years.

The origin was a prayer meeting in the Methodist Church for the Yezidi’s who were trapped on a mountain in Iraq due to the threat by ISIS.  It soon developed into a joint effort of all Louth churches to not just pray, but also to act and to give.  In 2017 3.5 tonnes of collected clothes, toys and toiletries were brought directly to refugees in Syria via Samara Aid.  Also money was donated for this cause and “Stations” photographic exhibitions were held highlighting the need to understand and respond to the situation that those displaced by war and conflict find themselves in. Later only specifically indicated items were collected in Smiley bags by the people of Louth and again transferred to those in need in Syria.  As a next step 41 banana boxes were filled with essential items for mostly women and children who had escaped ISIS.

It was very expensive and dangerous to get these goods to the places where they were needed and when the Syrian Government stopped all import of aid, another way needed to be found to support Syrian Refugees.  The Louth Churches for Refugees decided to join the Community Sponsorship Scheme and support the resettlement of a Syrian family in Louth.  They therefore needed to become a charity, collect money (within a year the Louth population provided the necessary £15,000 by pledging to give £5 a week for 2 years!), find a house and get permission from the county and local councils. This was hard work but the expectation is that in January a Syrian family (now in Jordan) will be able to come to Louth to live.  They also found ESL teachers and interpreters (though more Arabic interpreters are needed!).  Further information on:

Derek was thanked for the inspiring and personal way he related the successful actions of the charity. Some members promised to look into finding more Arabic interpreters. Derek joined the members for as always tasty and varied buffet.

November 2019

On Friday 1 November 2019 fourteen IWA members gathered at a member’s house to listen to Geraldine Commowick who spent two years in China, teaching English at the Foreign Languages Department of the Huaihai Institute (now University) of Technology in Lianyungang, in the Jiangsu Province. 

Geraldine showed us photographs of Lianyungang: wide boulevards (sometimes not yet in use); modern housing and other buildings often inspired by building styles in the west, like Art Deco; the few leftover old parts of the town which will probably soon disappear in the rush to build for the future; the three hills between the flat, easily cyclable parts of town (of which Huago Mountain is the home of the legendary Monkey King); the harbour (where the new Belt and Road Project of the Chinese government starts); churches for the different religions; wasted land and even pavements used for growing vegetables, etc.  Even though Lianyungang is not exactly a tourist hotspot (Geraldine was one of the few foreigners around), all signs are both in Chinese and in English.

She also told us about her life on the nicely set up campus of the Institute, her classes (in total 16 hours a week teaching plus other activities) and her students and colleagues from different backgrounds. 

The many road cameras and the gated entrances to housing complexes make the Chinese feel safe, there’s hardly any crime except for the odd stolen bike (only the solved crimes are shown in the news).

There were also photographs of Geraldine’s trips to other parts of the country, of local festivals, the spicy hotpots the Chinese favour and other food related info (roasted crickets, no sweets!).

Geraldine’s talk gave a very interesting insight in the life of the Chinese whom she considered generous, healthy and hard working. She appreciated this more pleasant and ‘human’ side of the Chinese lifestyle very much.

Geraldine also showed presents she was given when she left, of which a 6-meter-long silk scroll with an old drawing of life along a river stood out.

There was still so much left to discuss that it was decided to dedicate another IWA meeting to Geraldine’s exciting two years in China.

October 2019

On Friday 4th October 2019 fourteen IWA members and two guests gathered at the Navigation Warehouse in Louth where the Louth Navigation Trust is located. 

After a short introduction by Graham Cox, the Deputy Chair, Andrew Stratford, the Treasurer of the Trust, took us with a video presentation along the canal pointing out the different highlights – locks, warehouses, bridges, milestones, etc - en route from Louth to the Humber Estuary.  He described the start of the Navigation, based on a plan by John Grundy and fully completed in 1770, the effect of it on Louth (at one time the second biggest town in Lincolnshire after Boston!), the tolls that were charged and the different boats (Keels and Sloops) that used the canal. From 1848 the Navigation suffered from competition from the railways which led, together with lack of maintenance, vandalism and the damage caused by the 1920 flood, to closure of the canal in 1924.  Additional photographs gave insight in the use of the canal in its heydays. The word ‘navigation’ indicates that it is not just a canal, but that it runs parallel to a river and shares its water with it.

Finally Andrew mentioned that thanks to the works of the Trust the Navigation still has several uses.  The Trust encourages interest in the canal, does maintenance work, and cleaning exercises, organises guided walks, publishes walking brochures and hopes to promote more sailing boats and canoeing in the future. In September next year a Riverhead Festival will be organised to celebrate the Navigation’s 250th anniversary.

More info, also about membership of the Trust, on the website

We thanked Andrew and Graham for their interesting presentation and, while looking around the lovely meeting room at all the interesting info displayed and for sale (including cards based on watercolours by the Secretary of the Trust, Paula Hunt), enjoyed a great finger buffet provided by the members.

September 2019

On Friday 6th September 2019 sixteen IWA members and two guests gathered at SL’s house. Jerome Higging-Commowick, of Jerome’s IT in Louth, was our speaker for the evening, talking about modern IT technology.

He told us the pros and cons of having a basic mobile phone, a smartphone, tablets (“useless when you have a smartphone”), laptops and desktop PCs. 

He gave 5 golden rules when communicating with the outside world (including: write down your passwords – using upper and lower case letters, symbols and numbers - and keep the list somewhere safe in your house). 

He gave suggestions regarding scams (use Trustpilot to check companies), indicated that with some systems (like Windows 10) a separate antivirus programme is not really necessary any more, stressed the importance of using an SSD instead of a hard drive and finally, not to buy a computer with a Celeron or AMD E2 processor!

During his talk and afterwards, while enjoying a varied and tasteful supper, Jerome answered numerous questions from the members, which was very much appreciated.

August 2019

On Friday 2nd August 2019 six IWA members gathered and dedicated the evening to playing games.

We started with a simple children’s game (counting in turn and replacing certain numbers by a specific word) which showed that we really still were children.

Then we showed our age by playing Reminiscing, a board game with questions about the 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s, with very unhelpful hints when, for the majority of times, we didn’t know the answer right away.

After a delicious supper we played Jenga and toppled the tower twice under much laughter.

We finally played Pass the pigs and concluded that the evening had been a great success!

IWA walk July 2019

Eleven members of the International Women’s Association Louth and two guests met on Saturday 13 July 2019 in Aby for their annual walk, setting off at 10.30 am. 

Walking for about two hours ‘through fields of gold’, past Claythorpe Mill and visiting Belleau church on the way, we all realised how glorious the Lincolnshire countryside is. 

On returning to the Railway Tavern Aby, we enjoyed a wide selection of pre-ordered luncheon. 

Thanks were expressed for all the arrangements to J and the meeting concluded. 

July 2019

Thirteen attended the annual IWA Garden Party at a member’s beautiful garden from 1pm on 7 July 2019, complete with gazebo, garden chairs and a well situated conservatory. 

Welcoming one guest from France, who may have brought the good weather with her, we enjoyed great conversation and we could all relax.  

An international flavour of Food was prepared by members - so very delicious! 

Thanks were shared towards the host on departing. 

June 2019

18 IWA members and guests got together on Friday 7 June 2019 in order to learn more about slavery in today's world by Pat Mowbray.

We learnt and were shocked at how much slavery there still is throughout the world. Current estimates are 40 million people in slavery today making 150 billion US$, roughly 179,307 billion sterling pounds, a year.

We learnt how to spot the signs of slavery on our own doorstep.  Hidden Slavery is in easy sight i.e. children of 10, 11, 12 years of age, out of school, making iPhone text messages - nothing unusual??? Could be transporting drugs across boarders (countyline).  People clothed inappropriately for the job they are doing.  Looking hungry, cold, nervous and not wishing to make eye contact.

We were requested to stay vigilant to recognising slavery as it is growing in rural areas. 

We were warned not to approach, as this would make things worse and could be dangerous for both parties.  If slavery suspected phone 999 or get in touch with The Salvation Army, the Modern Slavery Helpline of UNSEEN and also CLEWER INITIATIVE for further information and advice. 

Q&A followed the talk.  A vote of thanks was given and a delicious supper was enjoyed by all. 

Soup lunch 11 May 2019

Spread over the afternoon 11 IWA members and 4 'others' attended the soup lunch at SL’s on Saturday 11 July 2019 

Several soups were served and the atmosphere was cheerful and charitable as more than £80 was collected for IWA’s charity of this year.

The weather cleared up by the time we were ready for a cup of tea/coffee with a lovely piece of cake so we could also enjoy the beautiful garden,

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed!

May 2019

On Friday 3rd May 2019 15 IWA members gathered to listen to Nick Louth, our local best-selling thriller writer.  He has been a speaker to IWA before but this time the subject was “Researching and writing a crime thriller”.

Nick referred to the start of his writing career by self publishing “Bite” in 2007 which became the UK No1 Kindle best-seller for several weeks in 2014.  He since published some financial comedies and several contemporary thrillers.

As building blocks for a successful career in writing crime thrillers Nick mentioned: compulsion to write, plot idea, twist at the end, being able to summarise the book in one single sentence, a main character who has franchise to investigate, internationally appealing settings, find a way to put the necessary info across, create empathy for some of the characters, and, last but not least: inspire an appealing cover!

After that Nick gave insight in the quite amazing commercial side of publishing books, especially how little royalty is left for the author after bookshops / Amazon and publisher have been paid and therefore the importance (but also the pressure) of having an advance payment. 

Based on experience Nick now does his research only after he has made a first draft of the book, so as to be sure his research will indeed benefit the book. Having good contact in different fields relevant to crime thrillers is essential.

Nick’s talk inspired enough questions to last during the as always enjoyable supper afterwards.

April 2019

The IWA enjoyed a very informative evening on Friday 5 April 2019, learning why Rosalyn Spencer started a small school 20 years ago. Twelve members attended.

When her mother was told by the school that 10-year-old Rosalyn “would never amount to much” it had a devastating effect on her.  With support from her family and with some luck she managed to gain more self-confidence, entered the world of education and set up a nursery.

When facing similar problems in mainstream education with her own child, who she was convinced was dyslexic, she had the inspiration to start her own small non-fee, independent school, opening with 12 children in the same building as the nursery.

Rosalyn believes that all children develop at different times and they need their individual pace to grow and develop. Quoting Albert Einstein: “If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid”.

Rosalyn has told her personal story in a book, published in 2014, “Why I started a small school”.  She intends to write two follow-up books.

Rosalyn holds an MA in Education Research and is presently working for the Lincolnshire County Council as a consultant Home Education Advisor, a Respite Foster Carer and a Trustee of Human Scale Education. 

Thanks were extended and a lively exchange over supper was enjoyed by all. 

March 2019

Louth International Women’s Association held its Annual General Meeting on Friday 1st March 2019 from 7.30 pm. 

14 members were present. The Secretary took the meeting.

Apologies of non-attendance were given and a possible new member was introduced. 

The present committee members were re-appointed with the exception of MB who wanted to take a break. Members who are willing to join the committee are welcome.

The new IWA Rules and Constitution were discussed and approved.

Last year’s monthly events were read out as a re-cap and next year’s programme was discussed.  The programmes for the three subgroups (2 literature groups and 1 Issues group) have been emailed to the members.

The fees for membership of the IWA and its subgroups were discussed and approved.  The payment of the subgroups fees has changed from once a year to £1 per attended meeting, to be paid to the hostess. The commitment to membership of the subgroup stays the same.

Programmes and Rules and Constitution will be put on IWA’s website.

The Treasurer gave her report. Even though there was an overspend over the past year, there was no reason to change the yearly membership fee of £12 as the current bank balance is sufficient.

Attending members paid their membership fees for the forthcoming year to the Treasurer. 

A former member, Greta Ross, who moved away, wrote the poem winning the 2017 Hammond House International Literary Prize, titled ‘The Small Strand of the Furthest Reach’. The prize was handed out at the University Centre Grimsby where our Treasurer accepted on Greta’s behalf.  The poem was read out by a member for all to hear. 

Forming a Scrabble Game night/day and/or Canaster night/day was suggested. Any member can start a new IWA subgroup.  She can email the other members to gauge interest.

A delicious supper was shared after the meeting where convivial conversation and exchange took place. 

February 2019

On a very wintery Friday evening, 1 February 2019, 9 IWA members gathered at JB’s house for a Dementia Friends Information Session, led by Tracy Wilkinson.

We were very happy for Tracy to be available at such short notice as the originally planned speaker had to cancel.

After coming into contact with people living with dementia through her work Tracy decided to become a Dementia Champion.  She took us through a friendly and interactive Session in order to increase our understanding of dementia.  It made us realise that small things can make a difference to people living with dementia and gave us more insight in the fact that dementia has many faces. 

The 5 key messages were:

·         Dementia is not a natural part of ageing

·         Dementia is caused by diseases of the brain

·         Dementia is not just about losing your memory – it can affect thinking, communicating and doing everyday tasks

·         It is possible to live well with dementia

·         There’s more to a person than just dementia.

The IWA members were especially surprised by the fact that ‘feelings’ can still play an important role even though the event that caused the feeling may have been forgotten.  Some IWA members recommended reading Wendy Mitchell’s book Somebody I used to know, and watching the short film Barbara’s Story on line.

We thanked Tracy for giving us so much more insight in dementia and invited her to our usual, varied supper. 

January 2019

On Sunday 13 January 2019 16 IWA members gathered at Bar Castilléjar, New Street, Louth for the yearly winter event.   

This year the committee had chosen to have a lunch, from 1pm, and Bar Castilléjar turned out to be a great spot for a lavish buffet of vegetarian, meat and fish dishes.

The first half hour was used, while sipping a glass of Cava offered by the IWA, to catch up on the Christmas and New Year period, after which we set down at three tables to enjoy the buffet. 

Two hours later we thanked Megan and the chefs of the tapas bar for a delicious meal and most of us then went to SL’s, who couldn’t be at the lunch itself but instead offered us a great after-lunch wind down with tea, coffee and cakes! 

December 2018

The IWA met on Friday 7th December 2018 and 16 members attended. 

Sheila Read gave a talk on her work accompanying her husband to Papua New Guinea as missionaries in the 60s. 

Reading from the interesting letters she had sent home (no internet at that time!) we learned how they arrived in the remote setting on the main island and what life was like... dealing with snakes, scorpions and of course earthquakes!  The Anglican Church was the basis and over 300 local inhabitants were baptised.

Coffee, sugar cane, taro and beans were grown and a barter system of currency was introduced and frequently used. 

They stayed there for 5 years, arriving with one child and leaving with two.

The eldest child learned the local language (one of many!) but Sheila didn’t.  Luckily the locals’ English improved over the years.

Sheila answered quite a number of questions after the talk, also about the photographs and other items she still had from that time.  Thanks was given and a healthy supper followed. 

Extra meeting 10 November 2018

7 IWA guest members (1 sent apologies due to illness) came along to JI’s ‘extra event’ presentation on the Martin Scorsese’s movie SILENCE. 

We all enjoyed ourselves whilst learning a lot about CHRISTIANITY during the 1600’s in Japan.  Members each brought food suitable to accompany Jennifer’s authentic Japanese lunch. We started at 11 am & finished at 5.30 pm!

November 2018

15 members of Louth International Women’s Association members attended the talk on ‘Tracing WWII Orphans in Japan’ on Friday 2 November 2018. Jennifer Ichikawa told the true story of a Japanese woman of wealth and status, Miki Sawada, who relinquished all her materialistic wealth in order to save the lives of 1,600 mixed-blood children, born between men of the occupying US Armed Forces and Japanese women.  The children were rejected by the Japanese society and would, without Miki’s help, have died.  She set up an orphanage in a former family residence and named it, after the first of many international donors, the Elizabeth Saunders Home.

Jennifer found inspiration from this amazing woman and enjoyed sharing her story. 

Thanks were given and a supper followed.

October 2018

The IWA enjoyed a very informative evening on Friday 5 October 2018 learning all about Feng Shui from Krystyna Klamecka. 14 members attended. 

Feng Shui is the Chinese system of thoughts to help you find peace & relaxation through the organisation of your life, wellbeing and home. 

As Krytyna is an architect she studied deeply this art in order to help her clients with advice for a well situated and laid out house. 

Thanks were extended to the host after a delicious supper was enjoyed. 

September 2018

The IWA enjoyed a Foot Therapy session for 17 members on Friday 7 September 2018.

Jennifer Ichikawa explained how  9 years ago after a very bad sprained ankle whilst living in Akita, Japan, the rehabilitation process was aided by attending Foot Therapy classes. Enjoying the classes so much she attended for 9 years with the same instructor and attended Workshops in Tokyo. This evening she shared her demonstrations and the joy of Foot Therapy with the IWA.

Most members joined Jennifer, starting with good posture and breathing lessons, in massaging their feet and discovering the importance of feet for one’s general health.

Day out to Saltaire 6 September 2018

The IWA enjoyed a wonderfully arranged OUTING to the Salt Mills, Victoria Road, Saltaire,  Bradford West Yorkshire BD18 3LD. (open: 10- 5.30 p.m. S/S 10- 6 pm. Free entrance) on Thursday 6th September 2018.  14 attended the OUTING which, with many thanks and appreciation, was possible and voted on, with a donation from a dear, long-standing member of the IWA, Doreen, who sadly passed away very recently. Thank you, Doreen, from us all!

Everyone was on time for departures and the driver, Graham was excellent.  Thanks were given.

The history of Salt Mills is interesting as it was the brain child of Sir Titus Salt (1803-1876) a leading industrialist owning a number of textile mills in Bradford.  He was concerned about the poor working conditions of his workers and started to redesign the Salt Mill.  Francis Lockwood & Richard Mawson designed the new architecture by providing workers with housing incorporating running water, wash houses, hospital, social & recreational facilities, a concert hall, church, gymnasium and school. When the mill was completed it was the largest industrial building in the world by total floor area.  It is now Grade ll listed and a UNESCO World Heritage site and also known as Saltaire Village, taking the name of Salt plus the name of the river Aire, just a short way from the Mill.  It was a perfect example of urban planning for the 19 century.

The quality of housing, employment, recreation and educational facilities of the model town’s  example of Saltaire and the Dean Clough Mill in Halifax were studied by the Japanese Government’s IWAKURA MISSION tour of modern Industrial Britain (1871-1873).

Salt Mills closed in 1986 and in 1987 was bought by Jonathan Silver (1949-1997).  Silver had an entrepreneurial vision and undertook the mammoth task of converting the vast space into a vibrant, successful gallery and arts centre.  DAVID HOCKNEY (1937- ) who painted Salt’s Mill as a tribute to Silver worked closely with Silver as they had both grown up close to Saltaire.  Before long Silver had brought prosperity to the town and the Salt Mill was becoming very famous internationally.  The vibrant match between Silver and Hockney was remarkable and here we can see many of Hockney’s greatest works today. 

Members had the freedom to enjoy all the facilities.  This was a wonderful opportunity for all members to get to know each other, exchange opinions and totally RELAX.

Totally recommend a visit to this wonderful Arts Centre. 

Thanks to M for arranging a wonderful day OUTING.

August 2018

In spite of the hot weather and the summer holidays 8 members turned up on 3 August 2018 at PM’s for the annual ‘members contribution’ meeting.  This time the subject was ‘dreams’.

After a short Wikipedia inspired introduction a variety of dreams was discussed, frightening, reassuring, predicting future occurences, showing suppressed feelings, etc.  Everyone agreed that sleep/having dreams is also a good time to let the subconscious find solutions to existing problems.  Also not-in-dreams premonitions or warnings were discussed.   Conclusion was that the brain still gives us lots of surprises.

Afterwards we enjoyed several summary dishes combined with Chinese nibbles.

IWA walk 2018

On Saturday 14 July 2018 thirteen IWA members and two partners gathered in Horncastle for a walk along two rivers and the Horncastle canal.  It was hot and there wasn’t much shade on the way so we had to rest a couple of times in the shadow of a tree but all of us, some with quite red faces, managed to complete the walk, finishing at the School House where we had a very pleasant lunch.

Garden Party 8 July 2018

The IWA’s yearly GARDEN PARTY enjoyed lovely weather on Sunday 8th July 2018.  Members, family and friends numbered about 16.  The garden was enjoyed in and out of the shade.  The luncheon shared foods from France, Japan and Malaysia plus a glass of bubbly to go with it! The strawberries, scones and cream afterwards were also superb.

Many thanks to all members for making it a successful day and of course thanks to our host, SL. 

July 2018

The IWA enjoyed a most informative evening on Friday 6th July 2018 when Lucy Cawdron, of talked on her life with Yoga.  The evening was held at JB’s who volunteered to be a host in spite of going on a long holiday the next day. 21 members attended and a wonderful supper followed.

Lucy explained how she was working with horses in Dubai at the time she really began to rely on and enjoy Yoga.  During this 10 year period she lived six months in Cambridge and 6 months in Dubai. Born in Lincolnshire, returning 3 years ago, she has now established herself with her family and her Yoga expertise is growing and her knowledge in demand.  Lucy has been practicing Yoga now for over 17 years.  Taking group and private lessons and presently introducing Yoga to children at St.Michael’s school Reception Class, where the children are really enjoying the relaxation that it offers.  Also, helping mothers- to-be relax before birthing to promote the natural birth position giving confidence for the birth experience.

During the talk, Lucy shared with us a technique for breathing and stretching which encourages relaxation.

Lucy believes that a strong body promotes a strong mind.

June 2018

BOOK BINDING was the talk given by Steve Gosse on Friday 8th June 2018.  The International Women’s Association welcomed 18 members to enjoy this very enlightening talk.  Six apologies for the evening.

Steve explained how he was influenced at a tender age of 10 by his father who also practiced book binding.  During these early years he owned a box camera and enjoyed black and white photography.

The famous illustrator William Blake’s work always fascinated him.

Steve had always played around making books, writing poetry and photography as a child.  He had the opportunity, in later years, to attend a Book Binding course in Hull with Glenn Malcolm who inspired and encouraged him to continue down this route as did the Louth Poetry Group.

Steve explained how he had decided to use Birch bark for his book covers and ran us through the process of preparation for binding his own books of photography and poetry.  In this total process he had used templates for wood, leather, paper including glue and varnish utilizing a mull and a large press also made of thick Birch wood with metal clamps.  He showed us his Olympus camera which he has been using for over 13 years which enables him to get his lovely photos.  Loading same onto his computer and then printing these remarkable shots.

The finished article presents a very sophisticated heart-warming piece of art, titled ‘Life Time Love”.

You can see Steve’s web page at:

A vote of thanks to the speaker was given by the host of the evening.

We all thanked the host GS for her very kind hospitality. 

May 2018

Attendance numbered 14.

The meeting was held at UM’s where members enjoyed a most interesting, entertaining and detailed talk given by Steve Beaumont on palm reading and clairvoyance. He gave hand outs which made it easy to find the lines for life, head, fate, health and emotions on the left hand.  He demonstrated with examples and some very keen volunteers from the group.  Soon we were studying our own palms with Steve's guidance and he answered many questions.

The evening ended with some delicious dishes that were shared, especially the Indian ones made by the hostess!

Soup lunch 28 April 2018

Spread over the afternoon IWA members and others (22 in total) attended the soup lunch at SL’s on 28 April 2018. 

Several soups were served and the atmosphere was cheerful and charitable as more than £150 was collected for IWA’s charity of this year: Louth and District Help for Homeless (LDHH).

A big thank you to everyone who has contributed!

‚ÄčApril 2018

Apologies from 7 members were appreciated.
Attendance numbered 9.

The meeting was held at PM's with John Mowbray giving a talk on 'Farming in the 21st century.'  He began his talk with a review of farming as it was when his father began in 1941.  He had 400 acres and employed 21 men. Most of the work was done with horses and wheat was cut into stoops to be threshed later. John then took us through the development of machinery from the earliest tractors (like the Ferguson) to modern equipment that can be programmed to do all the work with satellites to guide them, even working out which part of the field needs, for example, more or less fertiliser. The only reason these machines have a driver is for health and safety reasons. Harper Adams university has grown a hectare of barley that, from planting to harvest, has had no human step into the field.  All this means that fewer people are needed to farm the land. Now John farms over a thousand acres with, effectively, 3 people.  In the future it may well be that intricate jobs like picking fruit will be done by robots as AI develops. Who knows, he concluded,  what the future will bring, but certainly it will be very different from what his father knew in 1941.

After John was thanked, thanks were also given to SB for all the hard work she has done over the past years and she was given a hydrangea as a token of our gratitude with the express hope she will continue her valued support of the IWA.


The Annual General Meeting was held a week later on Friday 9th March 2018, after all that snow.  

Apologies from 9 members were appreciated.

Attendance numbered 12

The Agenda covered the introduction of 2 new Committee Members

Reflections of the past year’s events – highlights

Proposed next year’s program – plus extras

3 Sub-groups: Two Literature Groups (6 meetings each)   & Issues Now Group (6 meetings each)

Membership Contributions Pay slips and cheques/cash to Treasurer

Treasurer’s Report.  Income and Expenditure plus the current balance

A recently received legacy kindly left by a long time member – How to best use this money

Any other business

The evening was opened with a warming punch to celebrate WOMEN’S DAY.  Members toasted each other in their mother tongues!

Vibrant discussion followed on the topics from the Agenda and new ideas were proposed.  Supper was plentiful and delicious and the venue, as always, most accommodating and comfortable.

Thank you to all members for their dedicated time and efforts which made the evening most successful and memorable.

February 2018

The first monthly meeting of the year was very well attended. Susan Banks gave an illustrated talk "Art Meets Science: Expediencies, Accidents, Smoke & Mirrors" which discussed responses to the problem of the idea of "the artist's intentions" with examples of the aesthetics of decay, damage and failure. We looked at accidental and intentional artistic consequences that occur in the aftermath of earthquake and volcanic erruption as well as creative processes that explore un-fixed and unstable elements.

Afterwards we enjoyed the usual buffet and chat with brought forth several interesting suggestions for next year's programme.

January 2018 = The Winter Event

The 2018 New Year's gathering for the International Women's Association of Louth was held on Sunday 14th January at the Marrakesh Restaurant, Louth.

Four members sent their regrets and were unable to attend.  However, eighteen members joined in the celebration for our new year.

The food, service and decor of the restaurant was very good and we all enjoyed a very congenial time together.

Thanks to members for their arrangements for a successful evening.  May there be many more!

Report from JI.

December 2017 = Mozart

For the December meeting Christine Maltman provided an insightful introduction and DVD screening of the 2010 movie “Juan”, a contemporary version of Mozart’s opera Don Giovanni which stars the baritone Christopher Maltman who happens to be Christine’s son and a local man. Christopher studied singing at the Royal Academy of Music and is ”a globally-renowned Don Giovanni having sung the role in London, Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Salzburg, Amsterdam, Toulouse, San Sebastian, Beijing, Chicago, New York and Edinburgh”. The evening of glorious music and entertainment was rounded of with our usual buffet and socialising.

November 2017 - a celebration!

For the November meeting IWA members enjoyed a really lovely evening with a party atmosphere celebrating thirty years of Louth IWA. There was an excellent turnout at a member’s home including three original members. Current members had been asked to bring and to talk about something of significance to themselves. Among the contributions were precious memories and photos of family and a magnificent horse, an aged candle, a mysterious carving from Papua New Guinea and an intriguing piece of labradorite, a tiny Buddha and a tiny glass animal, a Roberto Cavalli dress, a blank canvas, a poppy in crochet and small pieces of the Berlin wall.  Later the wonderful buffet supper was complimented by music, wine and, made by a member and taking pride of place, a beautiful cake swamped in strawberries. 

October 2017

At the October monthly meeting we were given a very informative and detailed talk by Josien Harmsen entitled “My life as a civil law notary”.

Josien had taken a law degree and then furthered her qualifications working first in Amsterdam and then in The Hague. She explained that the law operates differently in Holland where a Notary has an impartial function, unlike British lawyers, and will oversee wills, conveyancing and so on.  Perhaps many of us felt quite envious of their system.

Josien also outlined the pleasures of her occupation notably in resolving disputes and she clearly has the ability to explain and clarify legal processes.

September 2017

There was an excellent turn out for the September monthly meeting to hear Heather Jenkins talk about her extensive travels to South America, Asia and Eastern Europe. Heather travels alone and visits the less touristy places often using local buses, meeting local people and being quite opportunistic in her activities and itineries. Her account of her experiences was fascinating especially for the more timid travellers among us. The evening was rounded off with a delicious buffet supper.

August 2017

August is always a quiet month for IWA when many members are away or busy and we prefer a less formal gathering without a visiting speaker. We chose a discussion on "The Right to Offend" followed by the usual buffet supper. The evening was enlivened by the welcome addition of not only a potential new member but also by a previous one who has been out of the country for some time.

July 2017 -

We enjoyed a perfect English summer evening walking around the Aby and South Thoresby areas with wonderful views of fields of ripening wheat and barley and sightings of some larks, a kestral and a beautiful barn owl. Possibly Lincolnshire at its best? We completed the evening with a welcome meal at the very friendly Railway Tavern in Aby

June 2017 - Celebratory Picnic

The Louth International Women’s Association have been active for 30 years. On June 12th we gathered at Rimac for a celebratory picnic followed by a lovely walk through the Nature Reserve enjoying pleasant weather and the grasses and flowers including the last of this year's orchids. The picnic included some members who have been with IWA since its inception and we also welcomed two husbands.


June 2017

Geoff Stratford supported by Sandy Stratford came to talk about climate change. Geoff, who is a science teacher, gave a slide presentation including many graphs and statistics and talked about how we should limit our fuel consumption and contributions to the problem. Geoff and Sandy continued the discussion over our usual buffet supper.

May 2017

Friday 5th May saw the IWA enjoying a fascinating and interesting talk given by Josephine Clark on the topic of ‘ISIS. What is it and can it survive?’ Tracing the origins of their ideology back to 750 when the Muslim Caliphate spread from the middle east to north Africa and Spain in the west and Afghanistan, Syria and Iran in the east; she explained that there were no borders though political administration of this was run from Damascus and Bagdad.  Jews and Christians were able to live freely in the Caliphate although they did have to pay a tax! The aim was to convert people by talking to them and by example.  She also explained that the term Jihadist is not just a term to describe terror.  Indeed for most Muslims it is a description of the struggle within yourself to be a better person.
Josephine also talked about the Mujahedeen, al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden’s influence on the Muslim world, as well as the terror they unleashed on the west. Josephine also explained that some of the problem can also be traced back to the western power’s failing to understand the situation and handling in such a way to make matters worse!  ISIS is losing ground.  They rose because they have army officers sacked after Saddam Husain’s fall, who knew how to run wars leaving their opponents  impotent, and they have money from various sources to build hospitals and so on in the areas they run. Basha Al-Assard and government forces are winning the war against ISIS because his soldiers have been trained and financed by Russia. Also America has similarly helped groups opposed to ISIS.
ISIS and other terrorist groups go against the teachings of the Quran which states that women,children and the elderly should not be involved in warfare and their cruelty is well documented.  They justify these atrocities as what Osama bin Laden called ‘management of terror’ to keep people in line and to warn others.  Their use of the internet, especially encrypted messages encourages idealistic young people disenchanted with what they see as the decadence of the west , to join then and fight for Allah.  However, once they get to the Caliphate they realise the truth but find there is no escape.
As for the future, who knows?  ISIS will fail, Josephine is sure, but who knows what will take it’s place?
The talk encouraged many discussions at the supper provided by members.


April 2017

For our April meeting we were joined by Jayne Pegg who talked about The Trinity Centre in Louth and her work with the many community activities that take place there. Her main focus was on The Louth Churches Together Community Food Bank and on Lincolnshire’s Dementia Support Network both of which run with the help of volunteers and generous donations. We found the talk most interesting and asked many questions. More information can be found on Facebook @trinitylouth or phone 01507605803.

March 2017

AGM - committee re elected as last year.


February 2017

There was a packed house for the second visit to IWA of Dr Caitlin Green who kept us enthralled with her yet-to-be published work on “Breaking Gender Roles in Anglo-Saxon England” which she has been researching for several years. We were privileged to have Caitlin interpret the evidence and scholarship of this most interesting topic that would otherwise be quite inaccessible to the layperson. From a fictitious servile queen in Beowulf to historical female figures of ferocious power we were shown unexpected stories of women’s emancipation.  Drawing, for example, on the work of Frank Stenton, “Place Names as Evidence of Female Ownership of Land in Anglo Saxon Times” we learned about lives of ordinary women as well. Finally Caitlin demonstrated that Anglo-Saxon women could break the boundaries of gender roles altogether and take up “masculine” occupations.

January 2017

The January meeting was the restyled “Winter Event” being a convivial gathering in a restaurant rather than a party. Approximately 25 people – a balance of “no shows” and the unexpected – met at the Marrakesh in Louth, where the staff gave us a really warm welcome in the delightful ambience of their restaurant. We were joined by friends and relatives and it was lovely to catch up with everyone and meet new people after the holiday period.

December 2016

The room was packed for the December meeting when Maryline Gagnere talked on “What is psychotherapy and how can it help?” She outlined her own reasons for studying psychotherapy and her subsequent professional practice and then delivered a most informative talk on the subject in general and its uses. Most of us learned a great deal and were given much food for thought; our numerous questions continued well into the more social part of the evening.

November 2016

To celebrate 400 years since the death of Shakespeare Jeannie Gurnham delivered a very well prepared talk on the women in Shakespeare's work which included a background of the conditions of real women's lives at the time. Jeannie and her husband Richard also read extracts to illustrate some of the points she made. There followed a discussion in which the group gave their experiences of Shakespeare in translation. It was a most enjoyable and informative evening.

October 2016

Report from the hostess of the October meeting.

After a constructive discussion re a lunch together this month and consideration of the Moroccan restaurant as a good venue for a Christmas party we broached  memories of first coming to UK for those ladies who were born abroad. More than half of the group had been born abroad, Canada, Australia, France, Spain, Austria, some of us had been out of UK for a significant period of time so that returning was something of a culture shock. An amazing mixture of trivial memories, fancy having bottles of milk put on the doorstep by a milkman, mingled with those of  customs which needed considerable understanding of the new culture, how to greet acquaintances, friends, family in the culturally acceptable way, the male /female roles in the family. Comments and the telling of situations led to interesting insights into our own and others culturally determined  behaviours and  our reactions to them as well as much amusement. A very enjoyable evening  of getting to know each other better and then enjoying the usual  lovely variety of food brought by each lady to share.

September 2016

There was an excellent turnout for the September meeting when Christine Maltman recounted her experiences of a two year round-the-world trip back in the 60's when she had sailed to Canada to work as a physio and moved on through the US and then to New Zealand. She has kept many photos and mementoes which she brought to show us.

We were pleased to welcome several new faces and enroled one new member.

July 2016

For an interesting change our July meeting was held in an ice cream parlour. Our hosts, Jane and Darren Brown of Farmer Brown’s in Huttoft, made us very welcome and the eponymous Farmer Brown gave us a most informative talk about contemporary cattle farming and dairy farming in particular. We learned the details of the difference between the particularly nutritious milk produced by his Holstein/Friesian cows and what could be described as “white water” from different breeds. He also touched on the precarious nature of distribution when farming on the Eastern edge of Lincolnshire. We were treated to a glass of fresh milk and many of us agreed that we had not tasted milk like it for years. Jane and Darren explained much about ice cream production and their growing business and finally we all sampled the delicious end product. For more information see

June 2016

At the June meeting we enjoyed an individual and particular talk about Russia and the former Soviet Union given by Svetlana Watson in a member’s home in Louth. Due to the changes in Russia after the Revolution, Svetalana’s family had moved to Novosibirsk in South Western Siberia which is the third largest city in Russia. She shared with us many details and personal insights into their way of life, politics in general and conditions for girls and women in particular. Svetlana concluded by handing round many of her fascinating old family photos. With the many questions that her talk provoked we could have continued all evening and, as often happens, we resumed the discussion around a delicious buffet supper supplied by the members.

May 2016

Richard Green from the Lincolnshire Bat Group gave a talk, the following report is from SL one of the members.

*I never knew bats were so interesting or so attractive, we were treated to a close up of two young pipistrel bats cared for at present and in their temporary home, they were beautiful, tiny, actively roaming about the carrying box they were in. A series of slides indicated the huge variety of bats worldwide including a 2 metre fruit-eating monster. I did not know baby bats were a third of their mothers weight so a hefty lump for the mother to fly with or that bats in this country were so protected. Tattershall Castle will have a new appeal as we learnt it was the major bat roost in Lincolnshire.    Richard Green explained how he is involved helping people who have resident bats in their property to encourage the bats to leave and find more suitable accomodation. A very thought provoking evening and many thanks to the hostess for a comfortable venue and great food.

May 2016

The Walk - Ten of us were all geared up for rain but it kept off and the weather was perfect for a walk around Old Bolingbroke. Some took the shorter route and others walked over 5 miles with everyone meeting at the Black Horse Pub for a convivial lunch arranged for us around a long table. We keep telling people that "Lincolnshire isn't flat" and this walk is a lovely example with beautiful long views and enough hills to stretch the legs. Many thank to Géraldine for making the arrangements.

April 2016

On Friday the 1st April the IWA held it's monthly meeting at a member's house.

The Speaker was Josephine Clark who gave a most interesting talk comparing the rights of English and Iranian women. She told us that in the18th century the rights of women in England and Iran were very similar. They were the property of their fathers and, on marriage,of their husbands. The Iranian women were then slightly better treated as they had rights to property and, in the event of divorce, to have custody of sons until they were 2 years old and daughters to 9. In England any property or earnings they brought to, or were given in the marriage belonged to the husband. She explained that woman's rights in this country have evolved slowly, but more importantly, through acts of parliament. Because woman's rights are statuary, it would be impossible to eradicate them. Some may feel the equality is a long way off, but compared to Iranian women we are free. The Iranian women, Josephine explained, did taste a more western style of freedom between 1906 and 1979, but this was not covered by law so when the Shah was overthrown, and Ayatollah Khomeni established the Islamic Republic, it was all lost. There have been some improvements for women over the years, but traditional gender laws apply and probably will for the foreseeable future. Members had an interesting discussion followed by supper provided by members.

March 2016

AGM - Members will be updated.

February 2016

Chocolate Tasting with Spire Chocolates
Louth chocolatier and businesswoman, Lindsay Gardner from Spire Chocolates helped Louth IWA members discover and appreciate the exquisite world of chocolate at the latest IWA meeting held on Friday 5 February. Lindsay's expertise and passion for chocolate was evident as she covered the different grades and origins of chocolate, how its made, the difference between chocolate makers and chocolatiers, ethics in the industry, and even the health benefits of chocolate!  Members savoured delicious samples from award-winning Cleethorpe's chocolate maker Duffy's and Lindsay's own creations from Spire Chocolates including her punchy raspberry and delectable salted praline creations. 
Products can be ordered by phone, email or online at and posted to any UK address or collected locally from Royston's Deli in Louth (by arrangement). Spire Chocolates occasionally trade at the Louth Market and at regular annual events such as the Louth Victorian Fayre and Christmas Market. Details of their upcoming markets and events can be found at


January 2016

The IWA opened 2016 with a meal at the Istanbul Restaurant in Louth and it was good to see friends and their partners again. We aimed at taking the stress out of arranging the “Winter Party” and this was largely successful, with a shared starter and hot, tasty food efficiently served.

December 2015: Report from our Hostess

The topic was Christmas traditions - and how amazing was the variety and wealth of traditions among the group of ladies who enjoyed the evening. We helped to decorate a tree, lit an advent calendar, learnt that Epiphany was a focus of present giving and  processions, looked at the wonderful decorations made from recycled materials in a poorer part of the world, heard an amusing story from the 16th century, admired the clothes knitted to send to mothers with new babies in Africa and then shared various festive seasonal foods. A good evening, thank you to all who participated.

November 2015: A Knitting Evening

One of our members supplied wool, needles and an easy pattern in order to make little jumpers and hats for needy babies and she will gather in the results –to be shipped off in bulk in due course. Some members are expert knitters and can talk at the same time. Interesting conversations were interrupted by people muttering or counting out loud in twos... Some of us carried on despite of mistakes.

October 2015

Local history expert, Richard Gurnham took Louth IWA members on a trip through time as he covered The History of Lincoln at the meeting held on October 2nd.  Richard illustrated the talk using a small collection of pictures, from coins and postcards to tanks and traction engines, each related to a different era in the history of Lincoln. Together, they told the story of the city's long past.
The IWA have invited Richard to speak several times over the last 20 years, with topics including the history of Louth. His latest book, The Story of Victorian Louth, will be out this Christmas.


September 2015

The September meeting of Louth IWA was unusually held in the Village Hall at Gayton le Marsh. Heather Luna both hired the hall and gave the meeting a very detailed account of her visits to Colombia, her relationship with her Colombian family and her views on family life. The small gathering appreciated that Heather had taken a great deal of trouble to plan our evening. We enjoyed the usual munchies provided by the members.

August - always a quiet month as many members are travelling -those remaining enjoyed an informal gathering at a member's home and some delicious food.

July 2015

Sex, Sleaze and Sound Bites was the topic of discussion at the July Louth International Women's Association meeting. Professor Richard Keeble talked and facilitated a discussion on ethics in journalism. Now retired, Richard has been a Professor of Journalism at the University of Lincoln since 2003. He looked at ways in which journalists deal with codes of conduct, self-regulatory bodies and conscience and then touched on major ethical issues such as the reporting of wars, intrusions into grief, privacy and confidentiality. IWA members had the opportunity to debate the issues raised and discuss how consumers of the media can respond ethically before enjoying a light meal and lively conversation.

June 2015

Exploring some of Lincolnshire's highest hills, members took an organised Country Walk in the Lincolnshire Wolds this month starting in Tealby, regarded as one of Lincolnshire's prettiest villages. The round trip continued to All Saints, Walesby's oldest church sitting amongst the earthworks of the mediaeval village, with several opportunities to see local wildlife and enjoy spectacular views along this part of the Viking Way. A social gathering at The Old Barn Inn back in Tealby finished off the evening's activity.

Held on a beautiful, hot afternoon the IWA Summer Coffee and Cake Party was a great success, raising an impressive £135 for charity. The beneficiary of the fundraising efforts this year was Linkage Community Trust, a national charity based in Lincolnshire that delivers high-quality specialist education, care, employment and support services for people with learning disabilities.

May 2015: Beyond Bambi

On 1st May members attended a talk by Chris Manning on the Deer of Lincolnshire. Chris is a keen naturalist and an Environmental Officer at the Lindsey Marsh Drainage Board. Chris quizzed members on their deer sightings in the local area and gave an entertaining introduction to identifying various native deer (Red and Roe Deer) and introduced species (Fallow, Sika, Muntjac and Chinese Water Deer) found in the county. Deer distribution, impact, conservation and management were also discussed and Chris even debunked common myths surrounding Santa's reindeer and the aphrodisiac properties of deer velvet!

For more on the history of Lincolnshire's deer, their landscape impact and the creation and maintenance of parks you can refer to Chris' book, The Deer and Deer Parks of Lincolnshire.

Following the presentation a light meal was served and members were able to congratulate themselves on their ability to successfully identify all six deer species covered in the session.

Put these new deer identification skills to use at the next IWA meeting on 5th June. Join our Country Walk in the Lincolnshire Wolds where you can see local wildlife (including deer) and enjoy spectacular views along part of the Viking Way, followed by a gathering at The Old Barn Inn in Tealby. More information will follow so be sure to save the date!


April 2015
On Good Friday members of the IWA met to hear Dr Caitlin Green give a talk on Prostitution in Victorian Louth. Caitlin is a historian and writer with a professional interest in the history, archaeology, place-names and literature of late Roman and early medieval Britain. IWA members were engaged with tales of the seedy underbelly of Louth during Victorian times. Drawing from historical public records and media published at the time, Caitlin recounted the experiences of prostitutes, nymph du pave and brothels in Louth.  She also shed light on the Victorian values and the desperate and deprived circumstances of these unfortunate women and girls. During an informal Q&A sessional after the talk Caitlin offered her theories on the eventual decline of prostitution in Louth and the socio-economic changes that took place in various areas of town.
A light meal was served after the discussion offering a chance to reflect and discuss the issues raised during the talk, as well as the opportunity to speak with Caitlin one-to-one.
Several details from the talk can be found in her book The Streets of Louth and those interested in local history and archaeology may find her website an intriguing resource as well.
The next IWA meeting will be on 1st May where Chris Manning will speak on The Deer of Lincolnshire. Deer are an important part of our wildlife and are attractive animals to find in our countryside. The sustainable protection of woodlands and other wildlife habitats whilst maintaining desirable and healthy wild deer populations is vital. Chris will discuss the species of deer found in Lincolnshire and raise the awareness of wild deer issues in our countryside.


AGM 2015

Louth International Women’s Association held their 2015 AGM at a members’ home in Louth on Friday 6th March. Members of the committee presented a review of last year’s events followed by an overview of the plans for the coming season. We were pleased to welcome a new member and look forward to getting to know her better.

No–one else offered to serve on the committee but the existing members were thanked for their efforts and contributions.

We have some details to finalise before publishing next season’s programme but there was general enthusiasm for the plans from the members.

The subscriptions have remained the same, £10 per year and £5 each for the Literature and Issues Groups. Please let the treasurer have your subscription as soon as possible so that we can include your name and contact details on the List of Members.

The February topic was Linkage, a Project for People with Learning Disabilities, a talk by the local founding co-director and psychologist Don MacKenzie. Don explained the ethos, development and expansion of this wonderful organisation that now operates across Lincolnshire, Grimsby and the Midlands.

We were delighted to welcome a new member who has recenently moved to the area; we also discussed possible events for the coming season and enjoyed our usual buffet and chat.

The January 2015 Winter Party was at a member’s home. This is one of the monthly meetings that is shared with family and friends making for a warm and convivial evening in very pleasant surroundings. A caterer, Maureen Robinson, prepared a delicious meal and amply provided for thirty people.

The December 2014 meeting was held at a member’s home in Louth when artist and art tutor Susan Banks gave a Talk and Slide Show on the Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi. The meeting was asked to compare 17th century Italian paintings and differences between the work of Artemisia and her male contemporaries and also to consider that art may be all “smoke and mirrors”. There was an excellent response and further discussion during the buffet super. We were also very pleased to welcome a new member from France.



Louth International Women’s Association met at a member’s home in Manby for their November monthly meeting. The speaker was Josephine Clark who explained the historical and unfolding conflicts and events behind the current situation in Syria. Josephine has a great breadth of knowledge of this complicated subject and her talk lead to many questions from the members.

The October meeting packed a member’s home in Louth for a talk by local Human Givens Therapist, Jenny Tipping. Jenny, who specialises in the use of guided imagery and can help people suffering from stress and worry. Jenny outlined the techniques used in her practice to an attentive audience. We were also pleased to see several new faces at this meeting and enjoyed our usual buffet and socialising later in the evening.

The July meeting took place on Friday 4th featuring an evening walk from Tealby along part of the Viking Way followed by a gathering in a The Old Barn Inn in Tealby. It was a warm evening and the rain did not spoil the enjoyment of the exercise and the wonderful views. Not everyone took part in the walk but we met up at the pub where we had supper and were given a very warm welcome by the staff.

The June meeting of the Louth International Women’s Association was held at a member’s home in Louth when well-known local historian and teacher Dr. Richard Gurnham gave a Talk and Slide Show on Victorian Louth. We were shown a very detailed early Victorian map followed by in-depth explorations of several parts of the wonderful Brown Panorama. With a break for refreshments we resumed the discussion of the history that the streets and buildings reveal which made for an enthralling evening.

The May meeting was held at a member’s home in Louth and was joined by both the chairman and secretary of the Louth District Bee Keepers. George Butler and Ian Fazakerley delivered a lively illustrated talk on the importance of bees and on the production and differences in honey. They say that “Bees and man go back to the dawn of time and it is difficult to imagine how the process of pollination could happen without them. We are far more dependent on them than most people realise.” We were given a taste of local rape-flower honey and very probably understand much more about the subject as a result of their visit.

The April 2014 gathering was held at a member’s home in Louth and featured favourite poems chosen and read by the members ranging from a Shakespeare sonnet to Roald Dahl via Dylan Thomas and Carol Ann Duffy. Our hostess excelled with a recitation from memory.



A meeting of the Louth branch of the International Women’s Association took place on Friday 6th December.  Our speaker, Jeannie Gurnham, gave a most interesting and enlightening talk on ‘ The role of, and attitudes to women in India.’  This proved to be a fascinating as well as a complex topic.  We had all heard of horrific stories of violence towards women in India, and also of the power the men had over women, even in traditional Indian communities in this country. Traditionally, women are the responsibility of male relatives who sometimes seem to have power of life and death over them.  Though Jeannie emphasised that the law in India demanded care for the women, in reality they were in danger of violence in many forms, and less likely to be educated than their brothers.  Even those who are highly educated with important jobs were obliged to marry whom their father’s or brothers chose. Although Jeannie did emphasise that some women did have positions of authority in government and Industry, many have a long way to go before they can enjoy the sort of freedoms western women take for granted,

A supper, provided by members rounded off an interesting and thought provoking evening. 

A meeting was held last Friday 1st November and the talk was about The African Medical and research Foundation, AMREF.  The speaker, Michael Smalley, talked about the work of the organisation explaining that care had to be taken when introducing what the outsider might deem to be reforms or improvements to the lives of people. If, he explained, something is imposed on the people, and they do not understand the significance of, for example, mosquito nets, they will not use them, or not take care of them, which means they will not help reduce malaria.  When we thought about it we agreed that we too, do not like things forced on us!  Therefore, AMREF will talk to the people, discuss what they see as their priorities and act accordingly.  It may be what they had perceived to be the need in the first place, but because the people want it they will cherish it.

Supper, provided by the members was enjoyed after the talk.

IWA and Body Language.

The September meeting of the IWA was held on Friday 6th September. Our speaker was Bob Malloney who spoke to us about Body Language.  The talk was very interesting as we found out that we ‘instinctively’ sum a person up in the first 7 seconds of meeting them, and we know if a person is, for example, telling the truth. Although we may not be aware of how we do this, it is a skill that has its basis in our evolution. When our ancestors became social animals and, before they had efficient language skills, they had to learn who they could trust, who to be wary of and so on. This they did by observing their body language. It was a survival mechanism that still serves us well today.

After the meeting we had a delicious supper provided by members.  Our next talk, on the 4th of October will be on Citizen’s advice. 

August 2013

Coco Chanel, Woman of mystery.

Although, because many members were on holiday we were a very small group on Friday, we had a very interesting discussion on the life, works and influence of Coco Chanel.  Facts about here early life are somewhat vague as, on her own admission, she reinvented herself as seemed appropriate.  We watched some of a DVD, kindly borrowed for us by Sue Litterick, and looked at pictures of her work.  We found that although her early work was similar to that of other designers of her time, her advantage was that she was able to wear her clothes and hats, and this seems to have given her the edge.  Her post war work, the distinctive suit and little black dress were more familiar to us. Although not certain of her influence to the over all role of women, we thought the fact that she had risen from poverty and established her own business and style had played a part in the change of women’s role in the world.

JULY 2013

The International Women have a busy month.

The Louth International Women began this month with a visit to South Reston for a most interesting talk on Sheep Dog training.  James Reed not only trains his own dogs, but also takes them to trials where he has won several competitions.  While most of the ladies had seen the TV show ‘One Man and his Dog’ they were fascinated to see dogs working live.  Also they were interested to see the working of verbal and whistle commands.
The following Sunday we held our annual Garden Party.  The theme was Spain and we ate very tasty and interesting Spanish food, including paella, and were entertained with Spanish music. The weather was excellent and all spent a most enjoyable afternoon.


At this month’s meeting of the Louth branch of the International women’s Association, we had a most informative talk from Collective Legal Solutions. Intriguingly entitled ‘Tax, Care and Toy Boys’ the speaker told us about the importance of making a will, something we all put off as, naturally, and we are immortal! He explained several legal points that we should consider ensuring that our wishes would be fully respected. Among other things, although he didn’t tell us how to find a toy boy, he did warn us that should any of us, on becoming a window or divorcee, take a second husband, and we die intestate, all our worldly good (should we have any!) would go to the new partner’s family rather than our own children. He also explained the law with regard to care-home expenses. All in all we all agreed it was a most interesting talk giving us all food for thought.
As usual, a buffet super provided by members followed the talk.

International Woman aim for the stars.

Paul Money fascinated members of the IWA when he spoke about the universe at the recent meeting. He talked about the immensity of our solar system, which is only one of mind-blowing numbers within the universe itself. He explained that, while we could possibly travel to all the planets in our solar system in a lifetime, the possibility of travelling outside were remote because of the enormous distances of thousands and millions of light years. He illustrated his talk with photos, some of which he had taken himself, and we were all spell bound by the beauty of some of the nebulae as well as the planets.  There were a number of questions at the end of the talk and a discussion about the influence science fiction has had on space travel as the writers have given scientists ideas to investigate.  We concluded that maybe, one day, there may really be a space ship that goes at ‘warp factor 9’ and so travel in outer space may be possible.  However this will not be in our lifetime!
The meeting ended with a buffet supper supplied by members. 
There will be a soup lunch on 11th May in support of Ethiopia aid and the next full meeting will be Circle dancing on May 3rd.


The IWA go Russian.

The Louth IWA met yesterday [7th Dec] for their monthly meeting.  We had a most interesting talk, given by a member, Irena Lingard, who grew up in the USSR, on the Russian Revolution. It was explained to us that there was not a single uprising but a number of incidents involving people that were considered to be of ‘good families’ and not, as may be supposed, by starving peasants. We found her account fascinating and several members had questions after her talk.  The meeting concluded with a supper provided by members.


November 2012. An Introduction to Semiotics, An artist's partial view was the topic of the November meeting with a practical experience of cultural theory provided by Susan Banks. Everyone joined in with enthusiasm and deconstructed a few coded meanings including TheTreachery of Images by René Magritte.

International Women Learn about Krishna.

At the October meeting a member gave a talk about the Hindu God Krishna.  A devotee herself, she gave us an interesting insight into her religion. We all found the talk most fascinating and had many questions. Krishna is believed to be an avatar or reincarnation of the god Vishnu, and was born about 3000 years before Jesus. We were told several stories of his childhood; by all accounts he was a rather naughty, yet entirely loveable boy.  His main contribution to Hinduism is found in the Bhagavad-Gita.  This records a conversation between Krishna and Arjuna on the eve of an epic battle, and is about the nature of loving devotion to god and the importance of selfless action. 
After the meeting we had a supper provided by members.

September Trip to Doddington Hall - We have two reports this month.

Press Release from Pat Mowbray :-

International ladies and the first Queen Elizabeth.

On Sunday 9th September a group of ladies, plus a few brave husbands, visited Doddington Hall near Lincoln. The visit began with a tour of the house, completed in 1600, and one of the finest examples of Elizabethan architecture still lived in. In 1749, John Delaval redecorated the interior in the Georgian style. The ladies found this very elegant. 
Members then took full advantage of the wonderful weather to enjoy the nature trail, admire the fruit and vegetables growing in the kitchen garden as well as imagining themselves to be living in Elizabethan times as they enjoyed the lovely formal gardens.  They then sampled the delights of homemade cakes and tea in the restaurant.

The visit was voted a great success.

Report by Geraldine Commowick.

Such a perfect day
With summer warmth in the air and road congestion going the opposite way, travelling to Doddington Hall was an easy and happy affair. Some of us started the visit with a very pleasant picnic, sitting in the shade of a lime tree: a brunch of salads, fruit and sangria; others arrived later for the opening of the House. All in all, fifteen of us regrouped to enter the Hall and its gardens. 
We were lucky enough to catch the last day of a sculpture exhibition with 354 art pieces scattered throughout the gardens for us to examine, caress (yes, we did!), admire… Of course we wanted to buy some as they seemed for the most part a more secure investment than any bank. It was interesting that what to some was “a piece of junk” provoked in others “isn’t it fabulous!!!” comments.  Clearly, there was something for everyone’s delectation.
The gardens themselves, Français , very well kept and trim, English, lush and fecund, were a joy.  The trees in the orchard were heavy with fruit. Passing a tree laden with very ripe Victoria plums, we felt compelled to try some its most succulent offerings. It could have been an orgy of eating but we managed to break away, clutching a handful of sweetness and leaving other visitors to their losing battle with temptation. Lucky, lucky us!!
The interior of this Elizabethan house is true to its period with 16th and 17th century furniture galore, paintings and ceramics in profusion and original tapestries.  Whilst craning our necks to view all of this from the best possible angles, we managed to set off the alarm, which caused some mild excitement.
The staff at the Hall were exemplary, eager to inform in the house, eager to serve at the café where we variously limped, staggered or just walked to after several hours for greatly needed refreshments.  We had cake and coffee, I briefly thought of the members who could not be with us and missed all this, and again I felt very lucky!!
It was such a perfect day, I’m glad I spent it with you all!!

At the August meeting members dressed in Mexican style and had a discussion on the life and times of the artist Frida  Kahlo. She was a most interesting woman whose paintings vary from interesting self-portraits, to rather disturbing images in which she expressed her feelings, not least on the female experience. Members were interested to learn about the effects of her health on her work. Encased in a plaster cast for months after a horrific accident in a bus crash when she was in her teens, her talent was discovered and nourished.  Married to the artist Diego Rivera her work was also affected by the break up of her marriage.  She travelled in the states and in Europe, and met Leon Trotsky when he was in Mexico. We were able to examine reproductions of her work in various books borrowed from the library as well as those owned by members. The evening ended with a Mexican inspired supper produced by members.  

IWA learn about Frida Kahlo.

The IWA held a meeting on Friday 6th July.  Unfortunately the original speaker had to cancel, so, in preparation for next month’s Mexican evening, we watched a DVD about the life of Frida Kahilo, the Mexican artist.  Although many members had some knowledge of the work of this extraordinary woman, all enjoyed the film and left keen to find out more about her life, times and the influences on her work. After the film all enjoyed a buffet supper, provided by members.  The next meeting will be our annual Garden party where members, family and guests are most welcome.  The following monthly meeting, on Friday 3rd of August, will, as stated earlier, have a Mexican theme with members dressing in the style of Frida Kahlo, and bringing Mexican inspired food. 

Fun at the IWA.

A meeting of the IWA was held on June the 1st.  Members were asked to bring a small item that represented themselves and/or their country, and talk about it for a couple of minutes.  There was a great variety if items.  For example a member from Germany brought a leaflet about the Asparagus fete that was held in the short season when the vegetable was fresh.  We learned that they favoured white asparagus, and ate large platefuls.  Another member brought a three legged frog ornament that was believed, among the Chinese, to bring wealth and good luck.   Other members brought items such as an old school prospectus, African ornaments, a dress made by a great aunt born in the late 19th Century, stories of going to school in India, even a tin of old buttons!  Members agreed that it led to a most interesting evening.  We finished with a buffet provided, as usual by members.  The next meeting, on 6th July will take us to see how sheepdogs are trained and to watch them at work. 

International Women go Moroccan. May Meeting

A meeting of the International Women’s association was held on the first Friday of May. The speaker was Sharon Moore who runs La Foundouk, a restaurant specialising in Moroccan food at Great Limber (  She has a holiday home in Marracesh and has many friends there. She gave a most interesting talk on her love of Marracesh, the houses, the role of women in Morocco as well as talking about the food.  Some members expressed an interest in joining one of her cookery workshops. We were able to smell and taste some of the spices and oils that are used not only in cooking, but also to keep the skin supple. A sample of her food was also enjoyed with our usual buffet supper provided by members.  

The next meeting will be held on 1st of June. This will be a social evening with members bringing and talking about an item that tells of our own culture. Anyone interested in joining us should either contact us through our website or ring Pat Mowbray on 01507 40361.

October Meeting report from SKB

Bead-Making Workshop

We were treated to a bead-making workshop in a member’s kitchen in Louth recently. Sandra Bell, also an member, brought a display of very beautiful bead-work [all her own work] and gave a short history of the craft before encouraging us to make simple but individually designed bracelets.

Although we had a small turnout we were delighted to be joined by two new members and our collective buffet supper was as delicious as ever.

September meeting report from SKB

Professor of Journalism talks to Louth International Women

We held a packed and successful September meeting at a member’s home in Louth where we were addressed by Professor Richard Keeble who is Head of The School of Journalism at Lincoln University. He  spoke about his professional background and his specialist subject,  “George Orwell: Novelist, Journalist – and Spy”. We discovered that there was very much more to Orwell than his great novels and were fired to further reading and to include Orwell in the reading list of the Literature group next year.


August 2011 Report from Pat Mowbray

A meeting of Louth International Woman’s association on 5th August.

The Louth International Women had an evening out last Friday with a visit to Homefield Alpacas in Great Carlton.  The Alpacas enchanted members, particularly Athena, a pretty, fawn coloured animal, which seemed to welcome each visitor personally.  The proprierter, Chrissy Kirk gave a most interesting talk about the different types of Alpaca, their habits, their diet, the properties of their fleeces and how she came to own them. She also spoke about classes available on felting etc. After refreshments she gave a demonstration of felt making. Examples of garments knitted with the wool and also felt items were available for inspection and purchase. 
Anyone interested can visit their website at

Friday 1st July 2011.

Roses in memory of women who received inhuman treatment. 

The speaker was Norma Bean who talked about the bonnet project organised by Christiana Henri, a post graduate student living in Hobart, Tasmania.  Known as ‘Roses from the Heart’, this project recognises the lives of 25,566 women, who between 1776 and 1853, were deported, to Australia ,often for very minor crimes.  Although, once their sentence had been completed they were free to return to England, in practice, because they couldn’t afford the fare, and because they had died to their families back home, this was not possible. Therefore they were made to stay to support the men and become the pioneering grandmothers of Australia. The bonnets, many beautifully decorated, will be blessed in a ceremony in St Paul’s Cathedral before being taken to Australia to a permanent  exhibition.  Members reflected on the brutality of the female convict story, and many promised to make and embroider  bonnets.

Refreshments were served.  A garden party will be held on Sunday 10th July and the next meeting will be a visit to the Alpaca Farm at Great Carlton on August 5th. 

Anyone interested in joining us should call Pat Mowbray on 01507 490361. 


Friday April 1st 2011

The April meeting was held at a lovely and different venue for us - a relatively new member’s home in Louth, where we enjoyed an informative talk by husband and wife Stephen and Mickey Griffiths on Women’s Roles in Judaism, both traditional and progressive.This has given rise to some further debate around the subject of women in relationship to religion in general.

It will be interesting to make comparisons at the next meeting when Josephine Clark will talk about  'Back to the Future for Iranian Women”.


Friday 4th March 2011

AGM 2011

The chairwoman gave a resume of the events of the past year which have included several interesting speakers, successful fund-raising events, summer and winter parties and meetings of stimulating literature and issues groups. The committee members were re-elected in their present duties.

There is a great programme for the coming year, which includes a variety of talks, workshops, parties and a Soup Lunch in aid of Homestart.

Finally the members enjoyed a fantastic Pancake Feast to which everyone contributed.


Friday 4th February 2011.

The IWA held their monthly meeting last Friday.  A most interesting talk was given by Gill Chatfield on the topic, ‘Fair Trade.’  Using the example of a jar of coffee, Gill divided members into groups to consider how the £2.30p cost to the consumer was divided among various people from farmer to retailer. Gill explained how the fair trade system helped the farmers to get both a fair price for their crop, and big improvements for their community.

After the talk a light supper was served with food brought by members. 

The next meeting, on the 4th of March will be our AGM.  This will be followed by a pancake feast.  Members are asked to bring their favourite filling.  Pancakes will be provided.  The meeting on the 1st April will be on the role of women in Judaism. If you would like to join in on either of those occasions, please contact Pat Mowbray on 490361.


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