12 April 1996

Friendship in adversity as BSE crisis drags on and on

BACK in those dark, snowy days of February I unfortunately had to cancel my visit to the Oxford FWC, so was pleased to attend the March meeting. The hosts for this contribution lunch were Liz and David Henman of Purwell Farm, Cassington, a 505ha (1248-acre) arable and sheep farm. They had finished lambing in marquees which had been put up to replace their burnt out barns.

The speaker for the morning was Sue Mason from Burford Garden Centre who spoke about growing, drying and arranging flowers. She had brought with her some examples of garlands and arrangements that consisted of dried leaves, fungi and many varieties of flowers and seed heads. We were intrigued by the wealth of sundries available these days.

But apparently hydrangea flower heads are hard to come by and one of our number, a dairy farmers wife quipped: "Forget the beef, well grow hydrangeas!"

Thank goodness for British humour in adversity.

During the past week or so my thoughts on the importance of the Farm Womens Club have been confirmed through the telephone calls received in the office.

This difficult time that the farming industry is going through obviously affects

farmers wives too. I have noticed the sense of relief felt by members at FWC meetings when they can get out of the house for a few hours, away from the television and radio news and the inevitable talk about BSE.

I have spoken to several

members throughout the UK and they have all appreciated the fact that they have friends nearby who understand the problems of being among that band of women in the background supporting their menfolk.

The advantage of being a member of FWC is that there is fun, laughter and companionship in good times, and in bad times you realise you are not alone.

Jean Howells

Doris Burton (left) thanks Sue Mason for her talk on flowers.