Stereotypes are often far from the truth and nowhere is there a better example of this than at Elmesthorpe Women’s Institute. Paul went solo to brave the elements and face the ladies alone. As with all WI’s the ladies take what they do very seriously and realise that they really are making an impact on society, albeit one that is not so well known… until there’s a war! But, as with most people who are secure in both themselves and what they do, they don’t take themselves too seriously, or to put it in other words, are great fun. During my talk one lady asked if she could get a bus for her funeral so I told her about the fantastic double-decker at AW Lymn in Nottingham where they can safely secure the coffin, seat the mourners upstairs and even provide a Clippie. My own gag was that the company could wind down the destinations at the front to read ‘Terminal,’ but one lady quickly one-upped me by asking if she could use her bus pass? I promised to ask so the next morning I put it to Matthew Lymn Rose by text. Very soon he was on the phone to me, “yes, tell her we will accept her pus pass, but she must present it in person!”
I made the mistake of explaining that the Triumph Motorcycle factory is in Leicestershire, completely forgetting we were walking distance from it, and near got shot down. Silence overcame the room when one solitary lady, who apparently used to be a Mod, asked if she could have a Harley Davidson. A very brave question in Triumph’s own gaff, nonetheless I explained to her we are currently building a new one that will be ready in a few months. At this her friends then assured her she would be put on ice until it was ready!
Getting back to stereotypes, these women are bouncing with life and the Elmesthorpe WI president is a noticeably young professional women, certainly much younger than I am. While I’m not sure if that says more about me or more about them it does disprove the age stereotype for in truth the WI involves a broad range of ladies. Neither is the Institute on its way out, far from it as the Women’s Institute is growing fast across England and Wales. If I remember right they said it had grown by 17,000 new members over the past year and launched 140 new branches. Is it any wonder? Focused determined people with a clear purpose to do genuinely effective things while having fun, of course it is growing, it’s just a darned pity men can’t join!