It's been another hot day here today. As you can see we are surrounded by a sea of yellow, oil seed rape is everywhere, sometimes as far as the eye can see. I love the smell of this. My friend Helen came with Henry choc lab, and we went a walk for a couple of hours. Unfortunately I am suffering a bit now, as I waded through a patch of knee high nettles, in my shorts. It's times like this when you wish you had put trousers on. It feels like a thousand needles sticking in my legs, I don't know when the stinging sensations will wear off, ha ha.
People have always asked me my about my job, I suppose lorry driving was an unusual occupation for a woman, and they wanted to know all about it. After telling the story for the umpteenth time I thought it might be easier if I told it to a group of fifty people once, rather than fifty times to one single person. I personally thought it was a pretty normal job to have, but if others found it interesting I was happy to tell them about it.
I contacted the Womens Institute area office, nearest to where I lived, and offered my services as a speaker. I called my talk, Diesel in my Veins, because people said I didn't have blood in my veins, I had diesel. Well I was lorry mad and loved my job. My contact details went onto their list, and I was included in the next booklet which was sent out to all the groups. I think this book is printed once a year. It used to be free to be in it, but I think they make a charge now.
Eventually I got a few bookings, mainly around Derbyshire which was about 20 + miles away. I remember the first one. In preparation I made notes on cards, after a few talks I could remember it, after all I was only talking about what I did on a daily basis at work. The cards were a hinderance so I chucked them, it was all in my head. I turned up at a village hall which was full of people, the room was big and I had a stage to stand on. I stuttered and stammered a bit, but I got through it ok.
When I had done a few talks people started passing my details on to members of other groups, some in the WI circuit, but other groups as well. Ladies luncheon clubs, Friendship clubs, Ladies Circle, then husbands were asking me to do Rotary Clubs, Probus (retired professional and business people). Also Young Farmers, U3A (University of the Third Age), single sex groups and mixed.
So that's how it's gone on over the years. I don't look for bookings, people find me word of mouth. I've spoken to audiences of anything between ten people, and up to 200. To be honest I find the larger the audience the easier it is. Humour plays a big part in my talk, if you've got four miserable people in a group of ten, it's hard work. Get ten straight faces out of fifty and you can ignore them, and concentrate on giving the other forty a good night.
I have a standard talk in my head, but there are also lots of other stories floating around in there. These I pluck out as and when they surface, I often go off on a tangient. I have done the trucking talk to some groups twice, two years apart. The second will be slightly different from the first, and they won't have remembered it anyway. People tell me they want to hear it again.
I tried stand up once, now that is completely different. I didn't like it because I can't learn a script, and I can't work to a time table. I want at least 45 minutes, one hour is best, and I want to be the only speaker, or go on first if there is two of us. I was at a Rotary dinner once, the first speaker was a professional footballer, I didn't get on untill 11pm. Never again. I was an amateur following a professional after dinner speaker, also the only female in the room, it was very unnerving. I made a complete and utter mess of it, and died a death.
Knowing your subject is paramount, you must know it inside out because there will be questions and you could easily trip yourself up. I don't do trucking talks any more, but some of the groups are contacting me again to ask if I do any other talks. Now I know enough about this frugal living, money saving, scrimping, penny pinching lark, I can talk about that now. I did one once on riding roller coasters, which was ok at the time because I was well into it, but I haven't done it for ages so now it's all a bit cloudy in my mind.
No one ever told me how to do this, I picked it up as I went along. It's been an enjoyable hobby for me, it's given me confidence. Who'd have thought I was once a shy gormeless teenager, and now I can speak in front of an audience. Amazing!
Anyway, that's enough talking for one night, I'm off to bed. Toodle pip.
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