Chairman's Column: Christmas, carols... and birthday cake

I sincerenly hope you have all kept free from the nasty viruses that seem to be around the country. Unfortunately, both I and many members of my family have struggled for quite a few weeks now to shake them off. 

However, nothing dampened our spirits when we travelled to Center Parks for a few days away over the New Year Period. It is such a fun place to visit with something for all ages.

It seems strange to be reporting in February about events that took place before Christmas but that is due to the timing for sending in our magazine reports. I attended A 90th birthday party for Rattray & District, my own Institute, at the beginning of December. 

It was an honour to be a guest and share so many memories with my fellow members. Whitburn Institute’s 90th was also in December and it was such a fun evening. Some of us were even up dancing to the wonderful music provided by a very talented singer.

Christmas got off to a good start with a visit to the Royal Scots Club in Edinburgh with a friend, my mother and her friend to enjoy a Christmas lunch followed by entertainment by the Military Wives Choir. The choir was excellent.

It was a treat for my mother, who just turned 89, and her friend who celebrated her 90th birthday at the beginning of December. Neither of them had been across the Queensway Crossing nor had they travelled on a tram, so a great time was had by all.

I was invited to attend the Feed the Minds Carol Concert which was held in the magnificent Grayfriars Kirk in Edinburgh. Readings were given by Monic Lennon MSP for Central Scotland, Rev Colin Sinclair, who is the minister for Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh and who will take on the year-long role of ambassador for the Church of Scotland in May, and myself. 

There were performances from the Edinburgh Telephone Choir, which also led the carols. It was a superb evening where we also enjoyed mulled wine and mince pies. I was particularly pleased to have the company of our new Education & International Secretary, Carrie Preston, and her friend at the event. All proceeds from the concert will support the work of Feed the Minds, which as you all know is SWI’s chosen charity this year.

Due to the nasty virus I was very disappointed that I was unable to attend Dunlop Institute’s 100th birthday but I believe they had a wonderful evening. I also missed out on viewing a prospective venue for the ACWW European Area Conference which SWI will be hosting in the Autumn of 2020. I hope to be able to give you further details on this after out next committee meeting.

Looking ahead, SWI will be represented at Creative Crafts in Glasgow on the weekend beginning 8 March, so if you are attending, please look out for our stand.  This event takes place on the same weekend as the Country Dance Weekend, which will again to be held at Fisher’s Hotel in Pitlochry. I will have to shake the dust off my dancing shoes as they have not been out since last year’s weekend!

The National Curling Competition will also take place in March at Curl Aberdeen where we hope to welcome many teams.

I am sure over the winter months many members will have been working on items for the various shows this year. Please remember to have a look at the Royal Highland Show Schedule too – the theme this year is Christmas. Just think how nice it would be to have all your Christmas items ready in good time!