Harburn Village Hall - SWRI Meetings Archive

Archive: 2012 - 2013

On Monday 12 November we welcomed Scott Gordon of the Forestry Commission.  Scott spoke about how the work of the Forestry Commission has evolved since its beginnings in the last century, including their environmental and integrated land use policies.  He even, rather bravely, touched on wind farm developments in Scotland!
Scott told us how women had played a very important part in the work of the Forestry Commission during the war, when groups of "Lumber Jills" carried out forestry work in the absence of the men who were away at war.  The Lumber Jills have recently been recognised by a bronze statue erected in the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park near Aberfoyle.
Our thanks go to Scott for coming to talk to us - altogether a very enlightening talk. 

Design a Safety Poster
  1. Juliet Boulting
  2. Isobel McChesney
  3. Sheelagh Steele
Flower of the Month
  1. Margaret Ritchie
  2. Diana Waddell
  3. Sheelagh Steele/Isobel McChesney/Sheelagh Lee
Our next meeting is on Monday 10 December in Harburn Village Hall when Margo Anderson will give a demonstration of Cooking for Christmas.  The competitions are Mince Pies and Flower of the Month.
New members always welcome.


On Monday 14 October, Harburn's own Ailsa Leslie (pictured) joined us to talk to us aboutailsa "Tabloid Journalism".  Ailsa is currently a Commissioning Editor with the Daily Mail and she gave us a very interesting insight into the pressures of her day-to-day work on the newspaper as well as a glimpse into the future of newspapers in general.  Her work is stimulating and sometimes challenging, but never dull and she is clearly thriving on it.  She finds the job suits her well, perhaps as she is a self-confessed natural gossip!
Many thanks to Ailsa for the entertaining talk - we all wish her further success in her career.

Photo with Caption
  1. Joanna Pearce
  2. Sheelagh Steele
  3. Isobel McChesney
Flower of the Month
  1. Sarah Thomson
  2. Moira McRae
  3. Diana Waddell and Isobel McChesney
Our next meeting is on Monday 12 November at 7.30 pm in Harburn Hall.  Gordon Scott will join us to talk about "Forestry in Harburn".  The Competitions are "Design a Safety Poster" and Flower of the Month.  New members always welcome.


Our new session began with a very well attended Annual General Meeting on Monday 12th September in Harburn Hall. Our President, Juliet Boulting, gave her report on an eventful year and thanked the committee for their support. Juliet welcomed three new committee members, Sandra Dobson (Treasurer), Joan le-Lievre (Social Secretary) and Ray Kew (H & H Co-ordinator) and thanked the outgoing committee members for their valuable contributions over the past three years. We also had comprehensive reports from our Secretary, Sue Whittle, our Treasurer, Tilly Bowman and our Social Secretary, Shelagh Lee.
Special mention was made of Morag and George Stott's Golden Wedding Anniversary - Congratulations on a great achievement.

Annual Competition

The Beth Garnet Trophy was collected by Juliet for her three chocolate brownies.

Flower of the Month
  1. Beryl Henderson
  2. Helen McDonald
  3. Morag Stott


Following the cancellation of our March meeting due to inclement weather conditions, in March our guest speaker was choir mistress Carolyn Hamilton of "Cute Cuticles". Carolyn has a successful beauty therapy business and she gave our members tips and advice on skin care and make up for all occasions. She then gave us a demonstration of her skills with a willing volunteer!
Many thanks for Carolyn for a very enjoyable and entertaining evening.


At our February meeting we were joined by Mary Sharkey of West Lothian Womens Aid. Mary gave a very interesting and informative talk about the help and support the organisation gives to women and children who are victims of abuse in their homes. She quoted some pretty shocking statistics but also told us that they have a great deal of success in helping women and children rebuild their lives following periods in refuge accommodation. Womens Aid also offers follow up support in the form of a 24 hour helpline and drop in service, which aids victims as they become settled in new accommodation. West Lothian Council provide some funding towards office facilities and administration costs, but funding is a constant struggle and staffing levels are low. However, outcomes are often very positive, which is a testimony to the hard work of all those involved in this, unfortunately, necessary service. Thanks to Mary for taking the time out to come to our Rural to speak to us.


On 13th January we celebrated our 87th Birthday in the traditional way with a Birthday Party. We had a lovely dinner, provided by our favourite caterer - Bobby Grindlay. We also enjoyed a delicious birthday cake - the candles were lit by Agnes Cosgrove and fanned out by Isobel McChesney. A great time was had by all!


Prior to dinner we had a presentation of prizes to our Annual Competition Winners:

Points Cup
1st: Agnes Cosgrove
2nd Equal: Isobel McChesney and Joanna Pearce

Flower of the Month (over the year): 1st: Agnes Cosgrove

The Beth Garnett Salver
, which this year was awarded for Best Banana Bread, was won by Isobel McChesney and the

Midlothian Paperweight (for Craft) was won by Helen Bissett. Congratulations to our talented winners!



Our May 2012 Meeting was open to all and proved extremely popular - standing room only! The reason for the high level of interest was the anticipation of the superb insight into China captured by Sheelagh Steele's artistic use of the camera on her visit last year. Sheelagh took us on a journey over land and water and narrated the photographs in such a way that if we had been served noodles during the presentation, we could almost have imagined that we were there. It is such a fascinating landscape and culture and all who attended seemed to enjoy the evening enormously. After the presentation we enjoyed a sumptuous spread - I hope the men don't think we do this at all of our meetings! Thanks to all who contributed. Sheelagh's presentation was the last in our syllabus until after the summer break

On Saturday 9th June the WRI provide the catering in the Village Hall at the Harburn Festival from 11.00 am until 4.00 pm. Our lunches and home baking are always very popular - so get there early to avoid disappointment.


Our April meeting proved very popular. A full house gathered to enjoy Hazel Kettles, a local milliner, telling us about her love affair with hats and how it began. Hazel shared with us that as a child she was fascinated by her mother’s friends – very ordinary ladies - who transformed into glamorous “film stars” through their choice of hats (and make-up!). Hazel was so inspired by this that she chose to study millinery in London and now has a successful millinery business. She demonstrated the techniques that she uses to make the hats and decorate them, and she brought along several of her wonderful creations for us to admire and - many of our members also had fun trying them on. Hazel’s stories were extremely entertaining, ranging from her experiences taking part in Rural competitions to the many and varied uses of a clothes peg! Many thanks Hazel for a super evening.



I don’t know what the omens were before the Battle of Prestonpans, but for our meeting in March to hear about the commemorative Tapestry, they were definitely ill. Disruption of the water supply and a catalogue of complicated travel plans and missed trains did their best to raise our collective blood pressure but, as with the real battle, the evening turned out to be a resounding success. Andrew Crummy the designer and coordinator of the Tapestry, fascinated, amused and informed us in equal measure. None of us will be able now to look at the Jacobites clearing the battlefield without an extra look at the kilt which hides a pair of pink knickers beneath its pleats! But look we certainly will. Many of us had already seen this wonderful work but I think all of us will be heading to St Mary’s Cathedral in the Summer to see it again. We will be able to look with new insight now that we have been given so many anecdotes and details of its conception and execution. Our thanks to Andrew for a most entertaining evening.

We welcomed a number of invited guests to this meeting in anticipation of an interesting talk and were delighted to see so many new faces especially those of Margaret Ritchie and Annie Leitch, new members who joined on the evening.

After their triumph at the recent Drama Competition at the Church Hill Theatre, Isabel McChesney, Director, accepted the Anstruther Grey Trophy on behalf of the Drama Group and Morag Stott received her Best Actress Award. Members and visitors were reminded that there will be a chance to see The Bag Ladies in action along with the Spring Play, Neville’s Island, on April 19 th and 20 th.

Other business was kept to a minimum in deference to our visitors and competition winners were:-
Favourite CD or record cover 1. Barbara Milne 2. Joanna Pearce 3. Morag Stott
Flower of the Month 1. Barbara Milne 2. Susan Howie 3. Ray Kew


On Monday 13 February Stuart Brown (with the help of his colleague Lynn) gave us a very dynamic demonstration of some of the moves used in the ancient martial art of Tai Chi. Our members then had the opportunity to participate in some simple moves, combining controlled breathing and focused concentration to experience the elements of earth, fire, water, air and wood. It was a privilege to have the guidance of such experts in this graceful but powerful art.



The Harburn SWRI’s 86th Birthday Party was held in Harburn Village Hall on Monday 9 January, in considerably more favourable weather conditions than our 85th Birthday Party! The evening began on a sad note as we observed a minute of silence in remembrance of our Honorary President, Mary Frame, who died on Thursday 5 th January.

Prior to dinner, we had our Annual Prize-giving for the competitions held in 2011.
The winners were as follows:
Points Cup
1st: Juliet Boulting
2nd Equal: Agnes Cosgrove and Joanna Pearce
Flower of the Month
Diana Waddell
Rural Paperweight
Helen Bissett (for her painted stone)
Beth Garnett Salve
Juliet Boulting
Around 70 members and guests then enjoyed a delicious three-course meal provided by Bobby Grindlay and his team. After dinner, our birthday candles were lit by Helen Bissett and blown out by Agnes Cosgrove.

swri prizes

The competitive spirit of our members was demonstrated once again when we all participated in some entertaining party games, organised by Beryl Henderson. The evening was a great success and we all look forward to the varied and interesting programme planned for 2012. The February Meeting will take place at 7.30 pm on Monday 13 February in Harburn Village Hall, when Shelagh Steele will present “My View of China” which promises to be a great evening. The Competitions are a Chinese Artefact and Flower of the Month. If you would like more information about our Rural and its activities, please do not hesitate to contact our President, Juliet Boulting, on 01506 871 339. New members are always made very welcome.



At our well-attended November Open Meeting we had a very interesting talk by our own Allan Maclaughlan on the work of Rotary International, which was brought to life by fabulous photographs.  Allan has been a dedicated Rotarian for many years and is extremely knowledgeable on all aspects of their work.  Although we all had some awareness of the work of the Rotary, I don't think many of us appreciated the magnitude and breadth of their activities in the UK and abroad.  By the end of the evening we were enlightened - Thanks Allan!


At the last meeting of the Harburn WRI we had a visit from Claire and Cameron who have a small business making and selling jewellery.  They gave a short talk on the different materials they use, mainly stones imported from China, and also gave a demonstration at the same time.  They had a large selection of their beautiful and diverse creations for sale and these proved extremely popular with our members. 

Return to top