I’m about to blaspheme.
I have found fault with the Women’s Institute.
There’s a feature in The Times captioned Old-Fashioned Home Economics: As household bills soar, the Women’s Institute offers some valuable lessons in thrift. And I’m not impressed!
To put this into context: I’m obsessed, in an utterly unhealthy way, with the WI. Despite their attempts to rebrand themselves as young and funky (see website link above) we all know the truth: it’s about flouncing around in pearls and flowery frocks, making jam, beef Wellingtons and Victoria sponges, and giving rapturous applause to visiting speakers who hold forth on a variety of life-affirming, vicar-tinged subjects. Before I offend any WI members reading this, I should also point out that the idea of wearing pearls and flowery frocks, and making lots of conserves, makes me drool. When we moved to Yorkshire from London, I naively believed that I could finally join the good ladies of the WI and fulfil my ultimate Domestic Goddess fantasies.
Sadly, it was not to be. They meet every Wednesday afternoon at two – when I’m at work (duh).
Even so, my heart did a little skip when I saw this article. I confidently assumed that it would be a cornucopia of thrifty gloriousness.
And to be fair, there were some good tips there.
Buying sandwiches from high street retailers is “pathetic”. Make your own.
Don’t throw boiling salted water down the sink. “It makes a great weedkiller,” Mrs Brett says.
But some of the ideas are been-there-done-that – such as making shopping lists, and using water-butts.
And others just made me think huh?
“Edges to middle” your old bedsheets. When they start thinning in the middle, fold in half, cut a line up the middle, bring the edges together and sew back up.
Erm, this looks terrible! Only do this if you don’t mind having wonky linen and lines running down the middle of your bed. And I’m not sure this works with fitted sheets…
Don’t buy cleaning products. All you need is lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda and vinegar.
Trust me, if you clean your kitchen with these, you’re going to be there for a loooooooooong time. I would be interested to learn how many WI members actually use this cleaning method.
Aargh – now I’m feeling guilty for being mean about the WI. I’ll go and make some lemon curd, to try and absolve myself.