Confessions of a 22 year old WI member

Written by: Sophie Taylor

Meet Anna Walker, 22, one of the youngest members of the Camden based Women’s Institute. What compelled her to join and what the D do they get up to in those elusive meetings?

North Four, North London magazine, Pirate Castle, Camden, Camden Lock, WI
Dry jokes and wine in plastic cups filled to the brim

Looking online to find my local WI meeting place proves mysteriously difficult and any information eludes me. I’m intrigued. My preconception of the WI is of course all purple rinses and Victoria sponges, save for the odd case of a hipster in her twenties who wants to crochet her own iPhone case. I wanted to find out more about what goes on in 2016 and what compelled 22-year-old Anna to join.

What first attracted you to join the WI?

“I find it hard to meet new people in London outside of work. To have the opportunity to sit and carry out a practical task without looking at a screen is therapeutic, it feels good.”

When and where do you meet?

“We meet once a month at the Camden Pirate Castle which makes it sound so cool. It’s right in the heart of Camden, which is a liberal area and this is definitely reflected in the members. It’s a secular, feminist group. With very dry jokes and wine in plastic cups filled to the brim.”

Do you sing Jerusalem at the start of meetings?

“No! Noo. But we did listen to some Amy Winehouse last night.”

North Four, North London magazine, bunting, WI

I hear you’ve made some rather fetching bunting. Do you think craft culture is perhaps a way of regaining the old traditions of women spinning yarn and creating myths and tales together?

“It definitely works as an easy glue to help bond a group of women who, on the surface, have nothing in common. Sitting in a group and working together towards a common goal, watching our individual triangles of bunting get sewn together for example is very unifying. I think that probably does hark back to the old traditions of women sitting and spinning yarns and tales together. It’s therapeutic and ritualistic, yes. I enjoy it. The craft making process is no longer a competitive culture within the WI and is more about learning old skills. The older members show us their skills that are getting lost.”

If you identify as female, the WI should be a safe space for you.

Apparently, there were once two male members, Colonel Richard Stapleton-Cotton and his dog. Do you think men should be allowed to join if they want?

“No! I just think there are so many situations in society still where women feel excluded. It’s refreshing to have a space where you are accepted for who you are and not judged on how you are supposed to be as a female.”

 

North Four, North London magazine, Camden WI

Is the transgender community allowed to join?

“Of course. I would hope so. I can’t speak for the whole of the WI, but if you identify as female then this should be a safe space for you.”

What’s been your favourite WI moment so far?

“Whenever we put what we’ve learned into practice. At last night’s meeting we learned about herbology and how to plant certain herbs in our own roof garden at the Pirate Castle to treat issues like PMT and stress. It quickly turned to folklore and spells: we ended up eating the herbs and drinking the tea in the roof garden.”

And your oddest?

“My bunting triangle was supposed to look like the feminist fist. But it went a bit wrong and resembles an erect penis instead.”

 

 

Well. If that’s stirred your appetite for more than a jam roly poly, you can enquire about joining the Ladies of The Lock by emailing ladiesofthelockwi@gmail.com

 

 

Photos courtesy of Ladies of the Lock Instagram @ladiesofthelockwi

Illustration of tank with duck in it reading 'peace is coming' at Atom Gallery for North Four Magazine
Culture

Tomorrow's World at Atom Gallery

Joined by over 50 other artists incorporating printmaking, painting, digital art, photography and small-scale sculpture, Tomorrow’s World presents us with utopias, dystopias, predictions, prophecies and visions of the future. We hit up the private view last Friday and it was pretty damn bleak, in the best sense of the word.

Read More...
Brave Sir Robin Opening 14th December 2017
Eat & Drink

Local Thinking, Craft Beer Drinking: Brave Sir Robin Launches in Crouch Hill

Carouse founders Chris, Theo and Ben – the charming folk behind Kentish Town’s Rose and Crown – have a new venture afoot and we couldn’t be more bloody excited to see it. We’ve been creeping in their windows, peering through the paint and sneaking glimpses at builders’ bums for a few months now (okay, maybe not the last one), watching these guys transform this cosy corner of Crouch Hill into a rather cool little boozer. Now they’re opening and everyone is invited. Come one, come all, and try all 20 of their beers on tap with us.

Read More...
Back of persons head with cigarette tucked over ear
Events

Body Hammer: Clubbing, but not how you know it

Last month I decided to try clubbing again. I don’t quite know what came over me, but I actually (brace yourselves) enjoyed it. I went to Body Hammer’s monthly party in Manor House and I’m here to tell you to go too, whether you love clubbing, hate clubbing, or really couldn’t care either way. #notspon

Read More...
Close up of person shoving a stuffed potato skin into her mount at Skins in The Magic Roundabout for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Go Your Own Way at Skins' Fleetwood Mac & Cheese Night

Rich, fried, buttery, potato-y vessels loaded with flavor combinations that go down rather well with craft beer, late nights and good times. Ha, who am I kidding, EVERYTHING goes down well with beer. You heard that right buddy, loaded potato skins are back with a bang (and a generous portion of bacon) and are currently being served at Old Street's The Magic Roundabout by street food pop-up Skins and we could not be any happier. Well, unless they were to stuff it with, say, Mac and Cheese or risotto. Oh, that's exactly what they do? Well paint me green and call me a cucumber.

Read More...
Christmas Gift Guide by Pretty Shiny Shop in Stroud Green North London
Lifestyle List

A Very Pretty Shiny Christmas Gift Guide

Magical gifts, wonderful gifts, marvellous gifts, beautiful gifts, gifts, glorious gifts glo-ri-ous giiiiiifts. Please Sir, I want some more. It’s that time of year again and whether you love it or loathe it gifts will be purchased and presented into expectant hands. Stroud Green's very own Pretty Shiny Shop have compiled a gift guide to help ease the shopping shock. Imagine only having to trot to your local gift shop and tick off your entire shopping list in one fell swoop. Done, finito, terminado! To make it that little sweeter, it's also all very affordable... so you won't even have to pick a pocket or two.

Read More...
Three people clinking plastic glasses in the air in a tent with people in the background at Thor's Tipi Bar in Regent's Place
Eat & Drink Events

Drink, Feast, Conquer, Repeat. Thor's Tipi Bar Has Arrived.

Alright guys, it’s happening. The frosty charm of December is, once again, being beaten to a pulp by the capitalists’ wet dream: Christmas. The hideous twinkling of artificial outdoor lighting is starting to appear, with tourists flocking from far and wide to watch D-list celebrities press a button. Invitations to Christmas parties flood in from your multiple part-time jobs, ensuring you make bad decisions bi-weekly til next year. Supermarkets are selling 12-day advent calendars containing confetti, cookie cutters and candles for a flawless £50. And oh, how the mulled wine flows.

Read More...
Girl peeking through gold and pink balloons at Top Balloon in Shop Stroud Green for North Four Magazine
Eat & Drink Events

Shop Stroud Green Christmas Trail 2017

Who doesn’t love a cheeky statistic, correctly sourced? You know we do. Well, did you know that for every £1 spent with a small business, 63p is re-spent in the local area, as opposed to a measly 40p in every £1 re-spent locally with larger businesses? An absolute travesty, am I right? That 23p has to mean something, right, guys?! Guys? Guys, where are you going? Wait, there’s freebies involved too!

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events Lifestyle List

Top 4 'Christmas is just a bad excuse for a' Winter Markets

By gum there are a lot of winter markets this year. Fueled by sickly sweet mulled wine and overpriced pulled pork sliders, we’ve managed to wade our way through the murky waters of winter markets and find some decent looking ones round this here part of town. Don’t let our Grinch-esq vibes put you off (I’m more of a Pancake Day person myself) because, if you’re into markets, you’ll probably like these. Read on, if you’re merrier than us.

Read More...
The Vinteriors team and Mary le Comte at Moseyhome in Finsbury Park, North London for 'Style My Shop'.
Lifestyle

Style My Shop: Vinterior x Moseyhome

Take a short walk along Finsbury Park’s own sunset strip and you’ll find MoseyHome, an interiors retailer and styling consultancy who have invited us to collaborate with them on an exciting new series titled 'Style My Shop', in which they invite some of London's most talented interiors experts to quite literally style their shop. Interiors porn at it's finest.

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events List

Top Five "It's That Time Of Year Again" Things To Do This Winter

Why was the snowman sad? Because he had a meltdown. Much like us, every year, when winter comes. It’s cold, it’s dark, and we know Christmas is on its way. But hey, it’s not all bad – the events round this time of year can be pretty swell. So don your scarf-shawl-blanket and get your frolic on, it’s time for fairy lights, scarfing mulled wine and stuffing your face!

Read More...
Hand feeling colourful splashes of artwork at Smith and Sinclair Flavour Gallery
Culture Eat & Drink Events

Suck it at The Flavour Gallery

Touch, taste, smell, hear and create art. Smith & Sinclair, purveyors of the Edible Cocktail, presents The Flavour Gallery: a multi-sensory adventure that’ll seduce your senses and tickle your taste buds beyond all imagination. Ooh matron!

Read More...
Hodgepodge on Crouch Hill, North London. New restaurant opening November 2017
Eat & Drink

New Opening: Hodgepodge Crouch Hill

Offering modern British cuisine with a smokey twist, Crouch Hill's newest contender to its foodie scene, Hodge Podge, is all minimal styling and hearty yet inventive dishes.

Read More...
Cartoon of vampires standing in tunnel for London Horror Festival
Events List

Top 4 ‘Eat, drink and be scary’ All Hallows haunts

Brush the cobwebs off your sexy banana costume; it’s that time of year to make a tit of yourself in fancy dress again. We’ve rounded up the most spine-chilling Halloween happenings in North London and, trust us, they sound horrendous. Be afraid, be very afraid.

Read More...
Eat & Drink Events

The Moroccan Medina at The Queen of Hoxton Rooftop

God bless the Queen... of Hoxton. Or, more specifically, their rooftop - which happens to be one of our favourites in this here city of London. These guys are well known for creating beautiful, seasonal pop-ups which have included the Nordic Viking themed 'Skye Halla' and the Neverland inspired 'Bangarang'. This winter make way for 'The Moroccan Medina', a sky high hideaway inspired by the romanticism of the beguiling ancient city of Marrakesh.

Read More...
Mento, floristry cafe in finsbury park, North London
Eat & Drink

Mento: Flowers and Coffee

Next time you need a caffeine hit why not take it from a cup brewed from Jamaican beans grown under a canopy of rainforest-preserving trees, whilst eating a home made vegan banana bread as you sit among an array of sweetly scented blooms. Welcome to Mento, Finsbury Park.

Read More...