Wednesday, 15 February 2012
I've done it at last, after years of talking about it - I've been to a Women's Institute meeting.
I've mentioned the WI before, when I accidentally missed last month's meeting. In her comment then, Lucille mentioned 'Jam and Jerusalem', a gem of a BBC tv series that, somehow, I had always missed. After a bit of Youtubing to find clips from the series, and laughing helplessly throughout, I acquired the entire series. So I went well-prepared for my introduction, secretly hoping that it would be just like Clatterford's Women's Guild.
I went only as a no-obligation Visitor, you understand, encouraged by a lovely neighbour who is on t'Committee. My sister Anne came too, as a Visitor's visitor, I suppose.
We were warmly welcomed, and were found seats in the midst of probably 40 other women. At first, we thought that we were the youngest there - certainly outnumbered by white and grey heads and many tidy shampoo-and-sets - until a younger woman in jeans seized on a chair beside us.
And I loved it all: the friendly warmth, the small comfortable agenda, the lively speaker, a local farmer (sheep milking, restoration of the local deer park, with a hugely informative little digression on the Government-planned badger cull), the attentive responsive audience who asked intelligent questions - to the poor man's evident relief. The little handmade posies for all with a birthday that month, the tea, the cake, the consternation caused by my request for a cup of tea with very little milk, and Anne's request for coffee with lots of milk, the way the door creaked loudly, betraying every latecomer. The three elderly ladies who chatted audibly throughout the vote of thanks, quite oblivious to all the "Ssshhhh!"-ing, the competition (theme 'Belgium' - winning entry a bowl of Brussels sprouts), the positivity, forward-thinking and energy that belied the average age range.
'Jerusalem' wasn't sung. Phew, what a relief.
And am I going to join? You bet.
I've already been co-opted (by the younger woman in jeans, and several others) onto the skittles group that's meeting next week in my local pub. Being completely clueless, I'm assured, doesn't matter in the least.
Next month's competition theme: Canada. I'll report back.
Posted by rachel at 10:52