15 November 2015

Where I am and where I want to be...

Adelaide Hoodlass
who was responsible for the start of the Women's Institute
100 years ago

Doesn't time fly? It seems only five minutes since I blogged about an invitation to stand as President of my local Women's Institute. In fact, that was two years ago. 

Last Thursday was Election Day, always a nervous time for me in case I didn’t get anything or everything right. I wrote my presentation well in advance and kept updating it as the weeks went by and it seemed to go down well. I’m not the only one who has to report, the secretary (new to the job) has to present one, as does the treasurer. Mind you, the treasurer had more to worry about than I did but it’s no consolation on the day. I tried to introduce some humour before getting down to the nitty-gritty and that raised a smile from the audience members. Actually it was a good thing to do because it made me relax more.

I am not a good speaker. I dare not even try to talk without the written word to refer to. However I did practice reading with plenty of pauses and lots of looking up at the members. I have read about public speaking but it doesn’t come easy to me. Nerves play a big part; even if my subject is familiar and well known I still fear making a hash of it. Oh how I admire those who can stand there and talk for an hour without a hitch. But I’m okay with a script in front of me.

I had made my mind up in advance about what I wanted to do and decided that I would stand down if someone else put their hand up. Being President is a worrying job sometimes. No matter what you do to encourage enthusiasm it never seems to work. We’re an ageing institute, you see. Everyone has been there and done that and doesn’t want to do it again. Under those circumstances there’s only so much we can achieve.  The Women’s Institute does great things but it’s younger people who keep it going. I never thought I’d say that but we have to be realistic. All the oldies want is a cup of tea and a chat and to listen to a good speaker. Anything else would be hard work.

I was voted in. An honour really, but after thanking them for their confidence I told the members I would only serve for one more year.... adding that three years was more than enough for anyone. I shall be 82 next May (you can raise your hands in horror or merely smile) so I’ve reached the stage of wanting to take it easy. Being president doesn’t allow that to happen because there’s always things to dream up, plan, and arrange. I’m running out of steam so that back seat is beginning to beckon.

I can’t complain, I’ve had it good in the WI. I moved up the ladder quite quickly and took on responsible jobs; I was County Chairman for four years which was a big responsibility but enjoyable so I can’t complain that I haven’t seen life in the WI. 


  1. Good on you, keep doing what you love. Greetings and best wishes!

  2. Judging by your posts, I believe that you have done a very good job at the WI. May you continue to do so! :-)

    Greetings from London.

  3. Valerie, first off....CONGRATULATIONS on being voted in once again! What an honor!

    *cheering loudly*

    My gosh, time does fly because I can remember you posting two years ago about being elected for President!

    "I am not a good speaker."

    I'm the same way. And it's funny because having been a stage actor for so many years, you'd think that standing up in front of an audience and giving a speech wouldn't bother me at all, but it does. I get sooooooooooooo nervous.

    Again congrats on being elected!

    Have a faaaaaabulous Sunday!
    X to you and Joe

  4. How marvelous Valerie. Congratulations! I admire you greatly for taking on this position and also for speaking in front of a large audience.

  5. Congratulations Valerie. You,ve stood the test....:)

  6. Cuban, that's kind of you to say so. Thanks.

  7. Good afternoon, Ron, and thanks. Yes, I guessed you would remember the invitation. In fact, if I remember rightly you were one of those who egged me on. Yes, time does fly - sometimes I wish it would keep still so I can catch up.

    I am very surprised that you suffered with nerves, although I have heard that nervousness makes for a good actor. I know from your stories that you were good.

    Joe says Hi. Oh dear, I must get round to updating the health news.

  8. Denise, standing up in front of an audience is no problem, it's the talking that worries me ... hence the script.

  9. Thanks, TB.. oh and what a test is was sometimes.

  10. Yes, big congrats Val, that's quite an honor and I'm sure you are more than up to the job.

    At one time, I was in awe of people who could speak in front of an audience etc...then I HAD to overcome my fears about public speaking, for a job that I was hired for, that I loved. And you know, I actually got to like speaking in front of groups, on TV for interviews etc, it took a while but I got to the point that I had people compliment me on how cool and collected I appeared in these circumstances. THAT really made me smile.

    Most people are not comfortable with public speaking but it can and does get easier with time, if one is totally prepared and ready for any question that may get tossed at them too. ;-) Good luck with all of your upcoming duties, you'll do great!!! ;-)

  11. 'I actually got to like speaking in front of groups'

    Geraldine, like you I got to like it but my mood very much depended on what sort of audience I had to speak to. I did OK while in the 'big' chair, but I still needed a script for prompt purposes.

  12. Congrats Val! I'm absolutely no good at getting up in front of people and speaking!!

  13. Congrats on retaining your Presidential status! I am wondering though if you made a typo in stating you will be 82 next May :)

  14. Thanks, kden. Thanks for pointing out the typo. There must be something wrong with my calculator. I worked it out several times and it kept coming up with the same answer. I think I'd better get a new one... or something. Maybe an abacus....

  15. Congrats Val. And I think it's awesome that you are going out on your own terms. Take care.

  16. It's a good thing to accept challenges and good on you for doing so. The important thing is to keep control of what you do, and if you feel it is right to leave, then it is. I wonder what the WI can do to get younger members. I suppose many of the older members date from the days when women were often housewives, made their own clothes, cooked a meal for the family every day, and relied on other women a great deal for everyday companionship. You never hear of housewives any more!

  17. Jenny, you are right, I can't remember when I last heard the word housewife in reference to a woman. It's amazing how things change without us realising.

  18. Congratulations, Valerie!!! I'm sure it will be a great year. I cannot believe you are going to be 82 next year, noooo way. Wow, Val, you're marvelous. Whatever you're doing, keep doing it! xo

  19. Mary, I'm glad I decided to brag a bit.... it's good for the ego to read nice comments. I'm one of the babies at my WI ... honestly!


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