1973 ladies of the WI

Dr Fielding dies (working title) is a little trifle that I’m playing with for my 40th birthday which is due to take place at the Wells-next-to-the-Sea WI. Borrowing hugely in terms of structure and style from murder mystery nights and pieces like White Rabbit, Red Rabbit and Ross Sutherlands Comedian Dies in the Middle of the Joke I’ve been trying to source as much as the narrative as possible via social media.

The basic concept is Dr Fielding comes to give a talk to the ladies of the WI in Wells on 20 April 1973. Mid way through the talk he dies….

So the story started when I put a call out – via twitter and face book – for suitable names of ladies who could be members of the WI in 1973 (the Wells next to the Sea branch). Within second of posting suggestions were flowing in (see below).

That then developed into asking for a back story. I was looking for ` what the lady concerned is known for around the village `, `her dark secret ` and her prop …. the thing she is never without.  (Feel free to add further suggestions via comments below….or via the thread on Facebook or via twitter!

So here’s our list of ladies…. together with some character notes provided via Facebook and twitter.

Grace Charlton
(Grace used to be known as Glynis Charlton, but she went through a rebirthing and a name change in an effort to solve her many many problems: She was allergic to everything, was always ill with something or other, grows and devours strange herbs, tries all the latest health fads and theories, weaves her own liberty bodices out of used yoghurt pots, wears lots of colours and layers and even now has a habit of bursting into peoples homes and conversations and saying “Guess what? I ve just discovered it is (insert Iatest idea here) I am allergic to!) ( it isnt) She has just a touch of premature dementia about her, nothing you can put your finger on. Just a few strange sentence constructions. But people quite like her. Shes a character you see…)

Persephone Codpiece
(Persephone and Frances (Fanny) Hunter became very close when they were land girls together)

Marjorie Shuttlebinge
(Always has a bottle of night nurse with her… In a bottle curiously labelled blue saphire)

Maureen Smith
( No one knows how how Maureen ended up in Wells, least of all Maureen. Her earliest memory is when she awoke with a sudden jolt on the 3:57 to Wells with a hand back full of 50 pound notes the keys to the Tea Shoppe and a very sore bottom. She knows nothing of her former life all she knows is she has to stay in wells making indigestible sponges and ‘await furthur instruktion’)

Eve Staunton
(Eve has dual life, teaching people to fly microlights off the North Norfolk coast while studying at the OU as a plant biologist. She used to have a job on the Suffolk coast at Sizewell looking for mutant plants and radioactive butterflies and destroying them before they can do any damage, but after hearing a sea-cabbage scream at her as she pulled it out of the ground she left the same day and took to the skies at Sea-Palling.)

Betty Prior

Tatiana Longbottom

Evadne Donnington-Pryce
Goes nowhere without a shooting stick and a Labrador and patronises the rest of the ladies madly.

Lydia Althrop
Lydia Althrop has been letting out a holiday cottage in the grounds of Althrop Farm for years – to the same person, her secret son, born after a teenage tryst with a now famous actor who was on location shooting a (then) avant garde adaptation of Far From The Madding Crowd in 1932. Her husband Roger comes from a long line of reluctant farmers and has been too busy looking after his prize bullocks to worry about what his wife is up to for years. Despite attending the C of E local school, Lydia was bought up with a good deal of Catholic tradition by her mother, a Russian refugee distantly related to the Romanovs (Lydia’s middle name is Anastacia), and has a set of rosary beads, which she has adapted into a chain for her spectacles so she can do a handy bit of penance every time she wants to look closely at something, much to the annoyance of Cynthia Flint, a fanatical Methodist.

Rosemary Hardon
Penelope Dixon
Margaret Spilling

Trisha Huntington
Now lives with Mary Howell `s ex husband

Frances Hunter
Edith Raddlescombe
Berta Norris
Ruby Miller
Sylvia Sykes
Hattie Jenkins
Irene Postlethwaite
Kitty Cumberland-Warner
Barbara Hodges
Wilma Hartley
May Fairweather
Shirley Spencer
Molly Hardman
Cynthia flint
Dolly Popworthy
Veronica Denning-Parker
Sylvia Sparks

Norah Nelson
Is in a secret relationship with Mary Howell

June Hughes
Writes poetry, mainly about the village, in a slightly more robust but Patience Strong vein…. She self publishes

Mary Howell
Is in a secret relationship with Noah Nelson.

Helen Bradshaw
Angela Butler
Sheila Turner
Sylvia Tilson
Margaret Jackson
Shirley Bartlett

Now we move onto the nature of Dr Fielding’s talk. The question posed was ‘ok now I need brief facts (well they can be facts or pure fiction) for dr fieldings talk to the ladies of the wi about the wells to fakenham (via Walsingham) railway…will incorporate all suggestions some how!’

I should say all this is for a totally fictional trifle. It bears no relation whatsoever to truth, and is purely for fun.


4 thoughts on “1973 ladies of the WI

    • More plot possibilities
      Jane’s sister Ruby (who isn’t in the room) knows exactly why Jane left

      But it might have had something to do with the postman….. And the missing tickets.

      Some would say the ladies of the WI were justified… But others still disapprove. They all have different feelings about the events of 63. Some of the ladies think they are hiding shame, some think they are keeping things as they should be.

      They still talk about the time they accidentally spiked the church fete chutney with oriental parsley. It’s rumoured one of them still had that photograph of the vicar.

      • One suggestion for why Jane Miller had to leave town (via facebook)- she got asked to leave the WI for being rowdy. She set up a rival group called the Crafty Ladies and had won over most of the local WI members because they have more fun. – which led to her being ostracised…and well the rest

        How that links in with the postman I’m not sure!

  1. Surely not all of them? a vast conspiracy . . .

    Evadne Donington-Pryce clearly goes nowhere without a shooting-stick and a labrador and patronises the rest madly

    June Hughes writes poetry, mainly about the village, in a slightly more robust but Patience Strong vein – she self-publishes

    and Jane’ s sister (?), Ruby, knows why Ruby really left . . .

    Norah Nelson and Mary Howell are a couple, but don’t admit to it openly – and Trisha Huntington now lives with Mary’s ex-husband Trevor

    – gosh, the moment you see the names, they all have such potential that I must stop there. Fun stuff.

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