President’s Message September 2020

Dear Ladies

September 1st marks the start of autumn in the meteorological calendar and we are facing cooler days and chilly nights. We are still battling with Covid-19 with increased numbers of cases being reported. Some of that increase is directly due to more access to testing. Our lives are changing and we are growing accustomed to social distancing, adaptability being one of our greatest strengths. How can we make the best use of this ‘confinement’?

What decisions are you making that will be to your advantage during and after Corona-19?  Having something to look forward to helps us to keep feeling positive and optimistic, and apparently increases our immunity.

To maintain this positivity and remain optimistic, I have a list of good intentions, wrapped in humour, somewhat like New Year’s resolutions, where only some of them are ever followed through! However that hasn’t curbed my enthusiasm and therefore I have been watching one comedy film a week, some black and white, some I have seen before and some just released. Laughing out loud is a particularly good tonic.

I plan impossible holidays (IMPL) e.g. a trip to the International Space Station (ISS), a little more on that later. Swimming with dolphins, yes, I know people do that but I can only swim 100yds and I need armbands. Making a pavlova; once I found out this had nothing to do with ballet I added it to my IMPL. Putting the shot at the Olympics. Actually this may not be impossible as there’s plenty of time to train due to our Covid-19 situation where large events are being curbed or delayed. I’m walking 20mins a day and eating for England, so that’s a maybe but I may watch a film instead.

However I know of someone who has been to the ISS and I intend to ask for a piggy back (a cavalluccio, in Italian). If anyone knows about lockdown (or lock up) it’s Captain Samantha Cristoforetti who has spent 200 days, 400km away from our vulnerable planet out in space. A remarkable lady who captained the Italian Air force and qualified as a fighter pilot. She beat 8,400 applicants to become a European Space Agency astronaut. Her recent book ‘Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut’ is about her almost five years of training. Some of that training was gruelling, where the impact on the body under extreme conditions in preparation for the weightlessness of ‘space’ is extraordinary. From the little village of Male in the Italian Alps she took on the biggest challenge of her life and lived her dream sending a powerful message to the next generation of girls that the world or their outer worlds is their oyster.

There are a number of videos from the European Space Station (ESA) with Samantha in the starring role. My favourite is: Role Models/Astronaut Samantha Cristofooretti/You Can Be Anything. It’s a lovely video and only 1m 20secs with a lasting message.

I look forward to your online events on Dateline and to seeing as many of you as possible on @Home with FIWAL on Zoom.  FIWAL will be making a donation to the Beirut disaster through trusted charities. You will find details on this month’s Dateline. There are many young children in perilous situations. Please bear in mind that even the smallest amount donated can buy half a litre of milk; every little counts.

Wishing you all a good September as we adapt, with maybe a little concern, to our children and grandchildren going back to school and university and further progress on the successful search for a vaccine.

Warm Regards,


Siobhan Hamilton-Phillips
President FIWAL

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