Brussels Women's Club

Passport May 2022

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A lovely day for our Bluebell Walk led by Sheila H in April.

President’s Letter – WELCOME

Lilian E.

Our Spring Market on April 2 was a brilliant opportunity to get back into the Clubhouse en force, catch up with old friends, meet new ones, and of course buy some very unique hand-made gifts and home-made goodies. A big thanks to all who helped to make this a success! See our photo album here.

We are getting ready for a fun and fabulous AGM Celebration on Tuesday 17 May at the Clubhouse and we hope that you will be able to join us! Please do note that seats are filling up fast, so make sure to let us know whether you will attend (also for the lunch afterwards) by completing the registration form here before Friday 6 May.

In case you missed it in the Weekly News, the BWC has made headlines by being featured on Bruzz TV!  Watch the 4-minute videoclip here – you’ll see lots of familiar faces enjoying the various activities that were on offer at the Clubhouse on March 16. Please feel free to share this link with your friends and colleagues — they may be inspired to join us!

Also, if you’re interested in getting more involved in the Club, check out which positions are currently open here. Why not join the 40+ volunteers running the Club right now? 

And last but not least, we have simplified MyBWC (thanks to our MyBWC Webmaster Alka P!) so that you can now find information quickly and easily. For example, all of the Charity updates are now in one place. No need to click on each individual article link below anymore: just go directly to MyBWC and read everything there : – )

Enjoy this month’s issue!

Lilian Eilers
BWC President
president@brusselswomens.club

PS: Please send your articles and/or photos to Passport Editor Sheila E at editor@brusselswomens.club before Sunday 22 May.

X X X

Celebrating Women – Dame Mary Berry

Sheila E.

A household name and national treasure in the UK, Mary Berry is a cook, baker, writer of cookbooks and TV personality.  She was born on 24 March 1935, so has recently celebrated her 87th birthday, but is still working hard!

Born in Bath, where her father was later Mayor, Mary was not an academic child.  She attended Bath High School and found she really enjoyed what was then called ‘Domestic Science’.  Encouraged by a teacher, she went on to study Catering and Shipping Management at Bath College of Domestic Science, and later persuaded an employer, The Dutch Dairy Board, to pay for a cookery course at ‘Le Cordon Bleu’ culinary school in Paris.

At the age of 13, she had contracted Polio, which had caused her to spend 3 months in hospital and left her with a weakened left arm and hand.  She has since said that this experience of being away from her family at a relatively young age “toughened her up”, made her resilient and determined to make the most of any opportunities.

Her first job was with the Electricity Board, where she demonstrated how to use new ovens, in the showroom and on home visits.  She found that the best item to bake was a Victoria Sponge and apparently still uses this recipe today when testing a new oven.  She later worked as a recipe tester for the PR firm Bensons, then for the Egg Council and the Flour Advisory Board.

By 1966 she was the food editor on “Housewife” magazine, then between 1970-73 on “Ideal Home” magazine.

She has written more than 70 cookery books, the first one to be published in 1970 being the “Hamlyn All Colour Cookbook”.  I received a copy of this book as a wedding gift in 1973 and I still have it and use the recipes from time to time.  It has lost its paper cover and is a bit worse for wear, but most importantly the recipes still work!  The oven temperatures are of course in Fahrenheit, so I need a converter.

More recently Mary has become well known as a presenter on TV cookery programmes, both showcasing her own recipes on programmes like “Mary Berry’s Simple Comforts” in 2020, and also as a judge of other people’s cooking, such as on the BBC series of “Celebrity Best Home Cook” in 2021.  However, her most famous programme was “The Great British Bake Off” with Paul Hollywood as fellow judge from 2010-2016.  In 2017 the show moved from the BBC to Channel 4 and Mary left.

In January 2022 ‘The Platinum Pudding’ competition was launched by Buckingham Palace and Fortnum & Mason to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II.  Mary has been chosen to act as Head Judge.  The winning pudding will be eaten at ‘The Big Jubilee Lunch’.  There have been over 5,000 entries from all over the UK and the winner will be announced on a TV programme on BBC 1 in mid-May, so keep an eye out for that if you enjoy cooking!

In 2020 Mary was named on the Queen’s Birthday Honours List as Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire for services to broadcasting, culinary arts and charity.  She received her Honour from Prince Charles on 20 October 2021, a year late because of Covid restrictions.  She declared herself “overwhelmed to receive this very great honour.”  She just wished her parents and brothers were present to share in her joy, as her only achievement in school was one ‘O’Level in Cookery!  She had discovered later in life that one great great grandfather had been a Master Baker in the 1860’s, so perhaps there is a family link to her success!

On a more personal note, Mary married in 1966 and had three children, two sons and one daughter, although one son died tragically at the age of 19 in a car crash.  Probably because of this event, Mary is a Patron of the charity ‘Child Bereavement’. She has a strong religious faith and is a member of the Church of England.

Here is the recipe Sheila refers to in the article above.  Watch out for the Imperial measures! If you don’t have scales with ounces and pounds, the rough equivalent in grams is: 4 ounces = 115 g.

350 Fahrenheit equates to 180 C. Mary’s online recipe for Victoria sponge actually doubles the quantities to 8oz (225g of flour, butter and sugar with 4 eggs), which will certainly give you a more generous cake.  You will need 2 x 8 inch (20 cm) baking tins.  She also adds whipped cream to the filling.  Just shows how we have become used to bigger servings!  Please choose one of your favourite recipes, be it old or new, and send it to editor@bcwcb.org

A Trip down Memory Lane with a Vintage Recipe

Mary Berry’s Victoria Sandwich

You will need:                          4 oz butter

                                                           4 oz caster sugar

                                                           2 large eggs, lightly beaten

                                                           4 oz self-raising flour, sieved

                                                           For the filling and the top:

                                                           2 tablespoons strawberry jam

                                                           2-3 teaspoons caster sugar

Preparation Time:

10 minutes

Cooking time:

20 minutes

Oven setting:

350º F Gas Mark 4

Grease 2 x 6 or 7 inch sandwich tins.  Cream butter and sugar together until pale and creamy, then beat in the eggs.  Add a tablespoon of flour with the last egg to avoid curdling.  Fold in the rest of the flour with a metal spoon and divide between the tins.

Bake in a moderate oven for about 20 minutes.  The cake is cooked when it has a pale golden colour and it is shrinking away from the sides of the tins, and, when pressed lightly with a finger, should spring back into shape.  Turn out to cool on a wire tray.

When cold, sandwich together with the jam and dust with caster sugar.

X X X

The topic of the environment and global warming is never far from the news. Margaret B informs us of the latest findings about plastic.

Plastic – Blessing or Curse? Or what goes around comes around.

Margaret B

About 4 years ago I gave a short talk at the Clubhouse on environment and climate change.  One of the subjects which most concerned our members present then was plastic and recycling.  I am sure that your concern at this point must be even greater and alas rightly so!  Plastics are ever present in our lives.  We drink and eat often from plastic containers, we sleep on mattresses containing plastic, we clean our teeth with plastic toothbrushes, and so forth.

Plastic has been in some ways a great blessing.  Some of us are old enough to remember when washing up bowls were made of iron coated with enamel (so easy to chip), kitchen utensils all made of ceramic, often heavy and so easy to break, baby baths made of tin and so on.  Plastic has made all our lives easier and work literally lighter.  In developing countries a plastic bath or a can for water are also precious objects, although inexpensive, and can last for years.

Plastic is a recent development.  It was a Belgian, Leo Baekeland, who pioneered the first synthetic plastic in 1907.  His Bakelite was made into attractive objects like radios, definitely not for throwing away, but to be kept and admired as Art Deco.  Then came plastic as we know it, a side product of the oil and gas industry working with the chemical giants such as ICI and Dupont, to whom we owe nylons (not something we will be giving up any time soon!).

However from the ‘70s onwards with PET polymer, there has been an explosion of the quantity of plastic in our lives, above all used for food and drink.  Just think for a moment of how many plastic bottles we have in our homes even if we try to avoid them.  So what do we do with them afterwards?  Unlike some developing countries, where they will be kept and reused endlessly, we throw them away.  Fortunately Belgium now has a fairly good system for households to sort their plastics for recycling, and the amount of recycling is increasing.  However it is not easy.  Different kinds of plastic need different treatment and still too much ends up in landfill.  Belgium is an environmentally aware country and does its best, but there are many countries where plastic just gets thrown away, ending up often in the oceans.

We have all seen those awful photos of the rubbish island in the Pacific and the poor seabirds choked on the plastic, which they have eaten.  There is NO quick technical fix. (Although when I first started work on environmental matters in the European Commission in 1973, there was a scientist who said he had found a bacteria that could eat plastic.  His discovery had to be turned down, because once released into nature, it would have eaten its way through fridges, cars, etc!)

Very worrying is that scientists in the Netherlands have found microplastics in human blood.  They say that 80% of the people tested had these tiny particles.  They found very high samples with babies (plastic feeding bottles!).  Another team of researchers at the University of Hull have found micro particles deep in peoples’ lungs.  We already know, alas, that particulate matter from air pollution is found frequently in the population’s lungs in countries with heavy traffic such as ours, causing disease.  So it is sadly clear, plastics, however useful they are, are not only bad for the environment but also for our own health.

So we should see where we can cut down on its use in our own lives, RECYCLE RECYCLE RECYCLE and lobby our communes, and governments to make sure they do dispose of it safely and above all not export it to developing countries.

X X X

Energy Prices and Contracts Demystified

Marguerite J

I have looked at the energy markets for electricity and gas in the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (where I live and where the Clubhouse is located) and you will find my findings below.

A few comments:

  • the situation on energy markets is shifting constantly and the information below is as at April 2022 and might be outdated very quickly;
  • Belgium is a complex federal state and information relating to the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale will not be identical for Flanders and Wallonia;
  • please excuse me leaving personal details (Etterbeek, TotalEnergie as supplier and some dates) in my notes;
  • official Websites have been consulted and the information is to the best of my knowledge.

Enjoy, and do feel free to ask questions.

The energy regulator of the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale (area code starting with 1: 1000…1040…1050…1150) decided that all electricity and gas contracts in that region must be 3-year contracts.  Only the energy supplier is tied to this 3-year duration, the client can change supplier at any moment, giving a notice of one month.  No costs can be invoiced for changing energy supplier.

In the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, energy consumers are very well protected, so a lot of energy suppliers do not operate on the energy market in Brussels.  Flanders and Wallonia will have more energy suppliers operating on their markets, consumers therefore having more choice in those regions.

Two measures have been taken by the Belgian government because of soaring energy prices and an increase in the number of people asking for help to pay their energy bills:

  • from 1 March 2022 until 30 June 2022, VAT on electricity has been decreased from 21% to 6%;
  • an amount of € 100 will be deducted from an electricity bill once this year.

In Etterbeek, the CPAS-Centre Publique d’Aide Sociale– operates an energy desk where citizens living in Etterbeek can find information and receive help with their administration concerning energy.  It is not necessary to depend on CPAS social welfare to consult them because their energy desk is open to all citizens.  Other communes probably offer a similar service.

Your current contract: fixed price or variable prices?

Look at page two of your electricity or gas bill: TIP refers to a contract with variable prices (that may change every month or every three months); TOP refers to a contract with a fixed price for the duration of the contract.

Contracts vary, with some energy providers offering extra services, for example the annual maintenance of your boiler.  As long as a gas boiler is under guarantee (2 to 5 year-guarantee), it is better to have it maintained and/or repaired by the company that sold and/or installed it.  The boiler’s guarantee could be declared invalid if another company has maintained and/or repaired the boiler during the guarantee period.

Electricity and gas invoices

On page one of TotalEnergie’s invoices, there is a phone number to enable clients to ask questions and receive help.  They also mention emergency phone numbers in case of a gas leak or serious incident involving gas.  On page 2, the duration of the contract and end date are mentioned.

The client who wants to change energy provider must give a notice of one month.  No costs can be invoiced for changing energy supplier.

When a contract reaches its end date, TotalEnergie prolongs the contract for periods of 12 months – called tacite reconduction – if the client has not given any other instructions.

How to compare energy suppliers

In order to obtain a precise comparison, prepare:

  • your postal code;
  • your precise electricity or gas consumption of the previous year (expressed in M3 or kWh): be sure to compare the same units -M3 or kWh-, mentioned on the annual facture de régularisation which is the invoice received once a year after the electricity and gas meters have been read, adapting your monthly instalments to actual consumption;
  • the name of your current energy provider.

It is useful to decide beforehand whether you prefer to have the same energy provider for electricity and gas, or two separate providers.

Useful links to compare energy providers

  • Monenergie: independent, mentions rebates and promotions for new clients offered by energy suppliers;
  • Mes fournisseurs.be: compares prices for electricity, gas, internet connection, TV, phone;
  • www.brusim.be to compare prices in the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale. Brusim does not mention rebates nor temporary promotions for new clients;
  • CREG’s Quality Label guarantees the quality of some web sites that enable you to compare suppliers. CREG’s logo is usually at the bottom of the page/screen.

To be recommended: Centre Infor Gaz Elec CIGE.  Their Website (www.inforgazelec.be) offers free and independent information concerning your contract, your invoices and consumer protection.  Call 02.209.21.90 to make an appointment.  Take your last facture de régularisation mentioning your precise annual consumption.

If you have a conflict with your energy provider and you cannot find a solution together and want to take things a step further, the official Belgian mediation service is free of charge: Service de Médiation de l’Energie, telephone 02.211.10.60 or email plainte@mediateurenenergie.be

If you prefer green energy, Greenpeace has established a ranking (some claims that energy is green are not always reliable). Visit https://monelectriciteverte.be/#ranking.

Test Achats (consumer protection magazine)

If you have a fixed price contract signed before October 2021, it is better not to change supplier at the moment.  This was mentioned a few times by different sources.  That is my case: contracts signed 30/06/2021, so end date 30/06/2023.  Because of the news (Ukraine/Russia), energy markets and prices are volatile, so most energy suppliers are no longer offering fixed price contracts.  A fixed price means security and stable prices for the client.

Generally, Internet tariffs are less expensive, offering a contract managed on line and invoices sent by email.

Two months before the end date of a fixed price contact, the supplier will contact its client.  This is when the client needs to compare suppliers, contracts and prices.  Heating is usually the most important expense, a reminder to insulate one’s house (there are grants that will cover part of the costs, involving a lot of conditions and paperwork).  80% of gas consumption occurs between October and March for heating.  The cheapest energy is the energy that you do not use!

Read repeatedly: choosing a 1, 3 or 5-year contract is a question of personal choice: it can take time to compare energy contracts/prices every year if you choose a 1-year contract; 5-year contracts save the client time.  The same comment was made about fixed or variable prices: fixed prices are predictable and provide peace of mind.  It takes time to check energy prices regularly as and when they fluctuate.  Variable prices change either monthly or quarterly.

In the current context, some energy providers are being pro-active and are contacting their clients to increase their monthly payments, to avoid an important amount due after the next facture de régularisation.  Clients can take the initiative to contact their supplier and ask to increase monthly payments.  An increase of 30% to 50% is deemed appropriate.

Some energy providers will ring your doorbell and can be very convincing.  If you sign a contract at home in these circumstances, you have a legal delay of 14 days to cancel the contract in writing if you regret signing a contract under pressure at home.

Separate issue: rich gas

Belgium is switching over to rich gas (15% more calories than poor gas) imported from the UK, Norway and Qatar.  In Etterbeek, rich gas will be introduced as from 3 September 2022.  Before that date, each gas boiler has to be checked, to be sure that it is compatible with rich gas.  A certificate will be issued, to be kept safely, for instance in case of an insurance claim.  In the Région de Bruxelles-Capitale, the congés du bâtiment will last from 4 until 29 July 2022.  During les congés du bâtiment, building/construction and related activities (such as checking a gas boiler) are reduced to a minimum when workers in this sector enjoy their summer holidays.  Emergencies are of course dealt with.

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Charities Update

Andrea and Gill

Your Charity Coordinators and fund-raisers

Well, April was indeed a fun filled month.

At the end of March, we had a wonderful and even emotional evening of Poetry thanks to Catriona and the British Comedy Club; funny, sad, realistic, dreamy love poems inducing laughter and tears.  Impressive aperitif and canapés thanks to some gourmet volunteers.  And as always, a background of great music thanks to Gill and Spotify!

Walking features strongly as always and a group of us joined the Rotary Club for their first Water themed Walk. (Who is poaching whose idea on this theme? The debate continues).

The BWC’s first Charity Water Walk was held on 21April, led by Carmel D around the stunning Rouge-Cloître.  With wonderful weather and a great group of walkers, good fun was had by all.

The BWC Book Chat Group had a fun lunch at Andrea’s house.  Anyone who has ever read a book is most welcome to join our monthly meetings.  We are an eclectic group of reading enthusiasts.  The May meeting will be in the English section of ‘Cook & Book’.

Now on to May

On 10 May at 14.30, we have a very exciting Tea & Talk.  Sue Bird will tell us all about the wonderful work the Songani Project is doing in Malawi and exactly where our money is going.

AND

We will also have the incredibly exciting reveal from the BWC Craft group at this event.  This is a wonderful work they have created to help raise funds for our charities, which the whole Club will be able to embellish for a small fee.  Intrigued?  You will just have to come along and see for yourselves.

AND

Also you will get to meet some of your brave BWC Team who have entered the Brussels 20km Race, which takes place on the 29 May.  A Sponsorship form will be on the Clubhouse notice board so please sponsor your Club’s team. Every little bit helps.

Do pop 10 May into your diaries as it’s a date not to be missed!

AND

There are two Watery Walks in May. The first, on the 7th led by Jenny T, is leaving from Alsemberg (Beersel) along the riverside including the old paper mill and the alpaca farm.  And on 31 May Kathy W-C and Wendy H will lead us around Couture St-Germain, where we will be joined by the Rotarians.

AND finally

On 12 May, Carmel D will be leading another walk, with a slight difference this time as we will have a Walk, Talk and Coffee around the streets of Brussels.

The plan is to meet on the street outside Arts-Loi Metro stop.  We will have an enjoyable 1.5 hour walk, stopping at some of the historic sites along the way and learning a bit about each.  We will walk through the Royal Park, stop in front of the Royal Palace, go into the Eglise St. Jacques Sur Coudenberg and learn about this classical 18th-century church and its contribution to Belgian history.  After that, a short walk to admire the architecture of the Museum of Musical Instruments.  From there we will stroll to Galleries des Huberts, through the Grand’ Place, ending at the Sablon and the Petit Sablon, stopping in for a short look at two other churches along the way.  We will finish our tour with a coffee nearby, with easy access to the tram, or a short walk back to the Arts-Loi Metro stop.  A bit of walking, a bit of talking, a bit of history – sounds wonderful.

Sign-up for this walk here.  As this is a charity walk a voluntary donation of 5 euro would be appreciated.

That’s it for May events but let’s not forget:

The Challenge – Marching to Malawi!

Since the last time of writing Challengers have been eating up the kms, exercising their way to Malawi.  We are over 4400 km into our journey, have crossed the border into Niger and should be in Nigeria very soon.

The commitment is amazing, everyone doing as much as they can, with two of the group doing over 70 km in one week! Don’t forget to support their efforts by donating to BWC’s charities.

That is it from the charities for May. We hope you can join and enjoy as many of our events as possible.

X X X

Library Update

FICTION

Left you dead by Peter James

When Niall and Eden Paternoster set out for their usual Sunday outing, it seems as though it’s just another day out, which is usually a visit to a country house they don’t know and a quick trip to the local supermarket on the way back.  This time though, it doesn’t turn out like that.  Niall sits in the car waiting for Eden to return with the cat litter she says she needs and waits and waits, but no Eden.  He checks everywhere, but she is nowhere to be found.  He is eventually forced to call the Police to say his wife is missing.  A wife missing without a trace and no clues, it’s not long before Niall is arrested on suspicion of murder.  Detective Superintendent Roy Grace is called in to investigate and soon realises that there is something not quite right in this case and nothing is as it seems.  This is an intriguing and gripping novel through to its unusual end.

PV

The Midnight Hour by Elly Griffiths

The death of a once-famous theatrical impresario Bert Billingham is at the heart of this book.  He is found poisoned and suspicion falls on his wife of many years, Verity.  To prove her innocence Verity employs two young private investigators, who investigate Bert’s past and find that he has many enemies from his days in the acting world.  This is their first big case and they are determined to succeed.  Can they find the killer amongst Bert’s enemies or amongst his family?  As the detectives delve into his past they find themselves in increasing danger.  This page turner will keep you guessing until the last page.  The murderer certainly came as a surprise to me.

BP

Monogamy by Sue Miller

Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years.  A golden couple, their seemingly effortless devotion has long been the envy of their circle of friends and acquaintances.  Graham is a bookseller, a big, gregarious man – curious, eager to please, a lover of life, and the convivial host of frequent, lively parties at his and Annie’s comfortable house in Cambridge.  Annie, more reserved and introspective, is a photographer.  She is about to have her first gallery show after a six-year lull and is worried that the best years of her career may be behind her.  They have two adult children.  Lucas, Graham’s son with his first wife, Frieda, works in New York.  Annie and Graham’s daughter, Sarah, lives in San Francisco.  Though Frieda is an integral part of this far-flung, loving family, Annie feels confident in the knowledge that she is Graham’s last and greatest love.  When Graham suddenly dies, Annie is lost.  Then, while she is still mourning him intensely, she discovers that Graham has been unfaithful to her and she spirals into darkness, wondering if she ever truly knew the man who loved her.

CvM

The Book of Two Ways by Jodi Picoult

The book starts with Dawn on a plane, which is about to crash, when the life which flashes before her eyes is the life she left behind in Egypt fifteen years ago.  So after Dawn survives the crash she has a choice to either return back home to her husband and daughter and life as a death doula, someone who helps people prepare for a good death, or go to Egypt to her research and a long ago love, Wyatt.  The story is then told in two different timelines—one where Dawn is home and the other where she goes to Egypt.  The story gives detailed and fascinating insights into the worlds of Egyptology, university physics and end-of-life care.

FS

NEW DONATIONS

FICTION

SARAH SON OF GOD by Justine Saracen

DON’T LET GO by Harlan Coben

THE SECRET GUESTS by Benjamin Black

ONE SUMMER IN SANTORINI by Sandy Barker

THE HUNTING PARTY by Lucy Foley

X X X

BWC Golf Update

Carol J

April was a busy month.  One of the main events was a match against the AFF ladies at Rigenée.  

The weather forecast was for 18 degrees with sun for the competition so some of us wore shorts, exposing our legs for the first time this year despite the rather cool breeze.  However, as play progressed, we were more than comfortable.

The five francophone ladies were very friendly, charming and supportive of the seven BWC mates as we played ‘The Waltz’, a new formula for some of us.  While Past Captain, Ester played her own game as the Joker.

By some secret alchemy the score of the Joker was divided and attributed to the four teams thus enabling Sue M, Yveline N-M and the new Lady Captain’s team to win first prize and they were each presented with a planter of lovely pansies.

Second prize went to Isabel J, Myfanwy vdF and Viviane D K who each received a pot of narcissus.

The longest drive was won by Myfanwy and nearest the pin by Isabel.

The third and fourth teams comprising Nikki H, Fathia N and Laraine A, and that comprising Barbara vO, Françoise G-C and Jill C all agreed that they had thoroughly enjoyed the company and the game.

The course was in superb condition with groundsmen beavering away and small fluffy-tailed rabbits scampering across the fairways from one clump of bushes to another.  Fortunately, we managed not to hit any of either group!

Jill C

On 5 April a group of eleven people signed up to play at LLN, only waking up to find that the weather forecast for the day was for rain.  In the end eight people teed off but even they did not finish the 18 holes.  Only 5 brave souls finished all 18 holes in spite of the sponsor treating us to Madaleina’s chocolate on the 10th to encourage us to continue!

Due to the bad conditions of wind and rain, Ester (the sponsor) awarded lovely culinary and food prizes for playing 9 and 18 holes that day.  Janice M came 1st and Lynette B was 2nd.

Laraine A

The 9 holes winners were Carol W 1st place and Myfanwy VdV 2nd place who will also be receiving their prizes shortly.

As the weather gets better and the golf courses recover from the winter blues, we are exploring more matches.  On 14 May there will be a Saturday fixture with husbands or male partners, sponsored by Lynette at Falnuée.  Each BWCG member is encouraged to invite a non-member to play at Rigenée on 13 May.  We have a match against Bawette Ladies on Tuesday 24 May and, to cap it all, there will be a training day at the lovely links course Golf du Lac.

X X X

Why BWC Welcomers Love It

Eileen C

When you enter the Clubhouse, what’s the first thing you see? Why, it’s the Welcome Desk of course, with one or two smiling faces behind it.

Being a Welcomer is one of the most important – and most satisfying – volunteer positions the Club offers. Below you’ll see a myriad of reasons why our current Welcomers love what they do, and why you might enjoy it too!

Helen:  It’s been said many times, but covering the desk is an ideal way to meet people especially new members. In my younger days my job was to “Serve and advise the public”, something I still enjoy to this day.

Ginny:  It’s great to catch up with Club friends who I don’t normally see outside my activity schedule.

Pat:  I like welcoming people, making them feel at home.

Jennifer: I love working on the on the Welcome Desk because it’s a wonderful way of getting to meet and know Club members, new and long term.  We have a very wide-ranging membership, and ladies who have lived fascinating lives.

Marguerite: Being a Welcomer provides me with company and conversation, which I very much appreciate because I live alone.

Carole:  I really enjoy being behind the Welcome Desk – greeting new faces as they come in for the first time and introducing them around, chatting to friends.

Toos:  It’s a great way to meet the members and to receive appreciation in return.

Kathryn:  I really enjoy working on the Welcome Desk, meeting members, and indeed prospective members.  I also feel that it is a really important part of the Club’s life — after all, a smile and a welcome is a nice way to greet people as they enter.  Indeed, for some it may be their first time at the Club: they may feel quite apprehensive.  Others may be feeling a little lonely, and just fancied a cup of something and a chat.

Jenny: I enjoy the Welcome Desk because when you participate in an activity you only meet one set of people.  When you work on the Welcome Desk, you come into contact with many more!


Jenny: Being on the Welcome Desk is easier than I thought.  For just a few hours a month, I feel that I am helping the Club along and I get to meet some great people too.

Andrea: I like to be part of the Clubhouse buzz from the vantage point of the Welcome Desk 😊

If you’ve never signed up for a morning or afternoon slot, come along to our Info Session on Friday 13 May at 10:30 – 12:00 at the Clubhouse.  Find out how you can play your part in making everyone’s Clubhouse experience a pleasant one!

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