Tales from the Land of Fire and Ice


This month was an open meeting and it was lovely to welcome non-members, male and female to the session.

In fact, it was commented on how wonderful it was to hear male voices singing Jerusalem.

Harry and Kath Gilbert came to the Ulgham WI to talk about their visit to Iceland.

This was no ordinary talk or slideshow of a holiday trip, but rather the beautifully told saga of Harold and Katarina, supported by amusing cartoons and stunning photographs, interspersed with geological and historical information.

We were transported by the wonderful Music of the Spheres by Mike Oldfield and visually stimulating slides across desolate ash to fantastic flora, from ash marbled ice to ice as clear as Swarovski crystal, and remote churches built by farmers, where services are held once a year on request.

We were given insight into the fishing industry, the thoroughbred horses, hot springs and the abundance of bird life.

There is culture too. In Reykjavik there is the Harpa concert and conference centre, the design of which is based on the basalt rock formations that can be found around volcanoes throughout Iceland.

The bricks of glass reflect the colours from the natural surroundings and are constantly changing, depending on the weather and seasons. At night it is lit by lights inspired by the crystals found on basalt rocks. Harry said that this piece of architecture was “Iceland captured in glass.”

One visitor had come to the meeting as they were planning a visit to Iceland. This must surely have had them chomping at the bit, especially as the friendliness of the Icelandic people was illustrated throughout.

If you get an opportunity to hear Mr and Mrs Gilbert, it is certainly not to be missed.