I finally made it to my local WI meeting on Tuesday evening, much to the amusement of my friends and family. Pah! What do they know - I am so glad I went!
I'd been meaning to join for ages. We don't have a group in my village so I had the choice of neighbouring villages or the main one in town and I wanted to choose exactly the right one for me. I didn't fancy the meeting in town. The group has recently formed and so is a 'new breed' of WI - I wanted to join a traditional group that had been running for decades so I plumped for the village next door.
I went along with a couple of women who are already members - the WI put me in touch with them so that they could be my 'buddies' for the meeting and they gave me a lift. Isn't that nice?! I was a bit apprehensive because I didn't know what to expect but I needn't have worried. There were about 30 women there - all ages but mostly between 40 and 60 I would say. I was one of the youngest there and, conversely, there were one or two really elderly ladies but age didn't matter - it was super friendly, everyone came over to chat and say hello and we all had things in common. It made such a nice change from a usual weekday evening.
It was a more formal meeting that I'd expected. We took our seats and the President gave an opening speech before running through the minutes and a few notices. Then we had a presentation from a speaker. They have a different guest speaker each month and this time it was a vet. He was quite young and good looking and the way that the women responded to him reminded me of a Gilderoy Lockhart book-signing session in Harry Potter! Ha! There was lots of eyelash fluttering, overly-loud giggling and innuendo. It was so entertaining; they were such a cheeky, fun-loving bunch.
The ladies I went with were running the refreshments this time so I helped them out and it was nice to have a reason to chat to people. I'm quite shy in group situations and am right out of my comfort zone mingling and networking. If you fancy going to your local WI and feel a bit shy I'd recommend offering to help on the tea stall when you're there. You feel less of a spare part.
So we meet once a month and next month we're going for a little country walk followed by supper at the gorgeous pub in the village. Partners are invited this time so I went straight home and told Andrew I'd signed him up for a walk with the WI next month. He took it in good spirits, bless him!
I had so many reasons for joining the WI, not least because I wanted to get to know my neighbours and become more involved with the local community. There are loads of activities and charity events that the WI is involved with and I am so excited to be a part of it - I feel like I am doing something worthwhile with my spare time.
As a result of chatting to the women at the WI I've now also found a local yoga class to join (I'm going with a couple of women on Monday night), met someone to teach me how to make a patchwork quilt and been introduced to a school's volunteer group that I have wanted to contact for ages. I've also found a crafty companion who wants to start a knit (or crochet) and natter group with me at the pub. Yay!