Don't have a lot to say about today, except that I've come home with a whole lot of work to do. I had said I'd go to WI, but I've emailed with my apologies.
I used to be a member for about 20 years, but haven't been for the past three. This is nothing to do with the society I went to, but I was busy and missing more meetings than I attended. And then, HQ decided that they were going to relaunch their magazine, send it to everyone, and charge a higher fee accordingly.
How it works, the subscription is decided at Head Office, with the capitation fee they take off. The rest of the money is the society's to use as necessary and desired - on the meeting place, speakers, etc, and more fundraising can be done if required. The thing is, though, I didn't want the magazine and there wasn't an option not to pay for it. You could opt out of receiving it, but you still had to pay. I gave it a chance to grow on me, but found I often wasn't bothering to take it out of its wrapper, and if I did, it took about five minutes to glance through. I didn't mind paying the sub to the local branch even if I didn't make most of the meetings, but rather resented the high-handed manner of HQ, so my attendance and membership lapsed. Ironically, I still get sent the magazine. The first year, I thought that maybe they were doing it to keep me in touch and maybe tempt me back, but now I just think they're inefficient. All the same, I do miss seeing my friends and so I am aiming to rejoin. But not tonight.
I missed much of this morning's music lesson because the Finance meeting went on a long time (we're not out of money, a major policy item was being discussed), but when I joined the lesson to find that the pupils were learning how to mix tracks, I thought I was fairly okay, having used the programme before. However, turned out they were using a different programme. So, I asked one group who was doing well what they were doing and, when another had a problem, relayed the information. This afternoon, as the teacher was showing the whole class what to do, I made notes on my phone (better than paper as I won't lose them). So I was able to be a bit more useful.
I also had school dinner again, which was very good. And cheap, £1.18 for a pasta/tomato sauce bake with cheese topping, and salad. And the catering manager came and offered me coffee afterwards.
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It is lunch time for me and I haven't had breakfast yet, so that sounds delicious.
I'm sorry, I just can't get away from Joyce Grenfell, when I hear anything about the WI. Or Maureen Lipman doing Joyce. It's a mental block.
I've had my breakfast poached egg, LZM, I can't last the morning without food any more!
We're a renegade bunch at Denton, Roses, we don't even sing Jerusalem. And the food is fantastic, we take it in turns.
Ah, another person still struggling with the misinformation that went around when the new WI magazine was launched...
The magazine is (and always has been, since relaunch, as it was set up in that way) entirely self-funding (just look at all the adverts and the inserts - which, given the WI's stance on carbon footprint is so hypocritical it's laughable).
When the magazine relaunched, the idea was to give ordinary members more of an insight into what the WI do, nationally. I don't like the magazine (far too lightweight for me), but I think the market it's aimed at largely do, from what I hear. And I think it's successful in what it sets out to do.
And, as subs only went up £2 that year, I found it amusing that people who would happily fork out £20 for a pub lunch, or £40 for a coach outing, or £4 for a coffee in town, refused to rejoin on principle. We 'lost' 5 members. They're all back now.
I almost recoup my membership fee with the 10% off at Julian Graves that it gives. That offer has now been extended even to sale items. So on 50% off everything days, things are almost given away...
I didn't stop going because of the magazine or the cost of the capitation fee, I had had several years of missing more meetings than I went to. But yes, I do resent the money they take away. When I consider the difference between what we get from our Nadfas House payment and what we get from WIHQ, there is no comparison. And saying £2 in one year rather fudges the percentage, and it wasn't the only increase over two or three years, although, after several years, I can't recall the exact amounts.
I reckon myself as an ordinary member and I don't think I'm unusual at all. Our members (although I haven't been for a while, I still think of myself as 'one of us' in Denton WI terms) are people I fit in very happily with.
I hadn't heard of Julian Graves and had to google them. I don't drive 16 miles to buy food (nearest branches are in Norwich and Gt Yarmouth), but in any case, I don't trust any chain of shops to pay the supplier full price and bear the cost of discounts itself, and I am uncomfortable with that level of discount, because it's not sustainable unless the shop is making an unreasonable profit in the first place. I don't need to be given food, I want to pay a fair price and not face local farmers who are unable to make a living wage.
But, what I was objecting to was your continuing the misinformation about the provision of a national magazine and the related rise in subs you were giving. Just not true.
Julian Groves don't sell products that are UK produced. I'd trust them over any UK supermarket. You go to Norwich regularly. It's just a case of planning.
£30 a year (as the WI subscription now is) for 12 meetings, with quality speakers, including a monthly county magazine, a bi-monthly national magazine, a discount card, an annual coupon book of discounts, access to county and national courses at reduced rates, national campaigning for important issues, etc etc... god, what DO you want for £2.50 a month?!!! NADFAS in this village is £50 a year, only 9 meetings, and extra for refreshments.
Maybe the difference is that you are on NADFAS Committe (I think) but not on WI? The more one gets involved, the more one appreciates the full range of what is on offer.
I don't go into Norwich regularly. Last time I went, I was with a disabled person and I wasn't able to leave him to do my own shopping. I give a lift to two other friends (one of them also disabled) to a regular lunch on the outskirts and don't visit the city centre then. Last time I went to Norwich city centre was mid-December to meet my sister-in-law for lunch and exchange presents - I haven't been for shopping purposes for three months. I used to, but I haven't for ages, because I avoid using the car and because I'm too busy.
I belong to two Nadfas societies, one has a sub of £30 and the other £36. The speakers cost between £250 and £375, plus travel and we give them lunch and an overnight stay if required. Coffee is extra, but at WI (speakers often only cost travel, or a charity donation of £25 to £30) and the refreshments are brought by members.
I used to be on the WI committee, and used to be on a NADFAS committee, now am on neither, although I am on Area NADFAS committee. It's not the sub I object to, it's the capitation fee. NADFAS was about £10.25, pegged for 5 years, at a time when the WI capitation was a couple of pounds less. There was no comparison between the services received from the two. I don't want discounts, I mostly only shop locally for necessities and I rarely used any in the book. If WI is now £30 a year, I'm pretty shocked, considering a Norwich NADFAS is the same, with professional speakers and a mediaeval theatre in central Norwich to meet at compared to a village hall and amateur speakers, who are all charming but wouldn't claim to compare.
As for the mag and the related rise, we were given to understand that, although the intention was for it to fund itself, the relaunch would be funded by HQ. I haven't seen the accounts so don't know if it is now self-funding, but I agree with you that the rubbish that drops out of it when I do get around to opening the package completely belies their claim to be 'green'. It all goes straight in the bin, I don't look at it.
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