Anyone who knows me will know of my passion for the WI. I've been a member for 26 years this month and joining Avening WI was one of the best moves I made. I couldn't have imagined quite where my involvement of the organisation would take me, nor the wealth of amazing friends I would meet along the way.
I'm thrilled to watch as the organisation goes from strength to strength, as relevant to life in the 21st century as it was when it was started nearly a century ago and take every opportunity to talk it up, to correct the frequent misconceptions and encourage women to try it out before dismissing the idea that it's not for them.
So, imagine my surprise when I opened my post this morning to find a copy of the new Joules clothing "catazine", which has a very WI focus to it. How surprising - I'd never have associated this particular company with the WI and yet what they've done is really very clever. My first reaction was that they had seized upon one of the new, urban groups which have formed and taken what I consider to be a rather cliched approach to the organisation. But reading further, the focus of the story is set firmly in the middle ground, not solely amongst the young and hip but more in the world that the vast majority of us inhabit.
OK, so they've taken the obvious route with some of the styling, and googling "Joules" and "WI" took me to a comment on Mumsnet which went along the lines of "Never did like their stuff anyway".
But I think it's great to see such a grand organisation taken seriously.
especially by a company who offer such beautiful wellies (amongst other things!)
(The gorgeous stitched images are close up shots of The Country Wife, now undergoing restoration thanks to the National Needlework Archive)