Sunday, 13 October 2013

Speak for yourself

Oh what a miserable morning it is, lots of rain, best stay indoors today.
Ha ha, this is a recent comment which caught my attention. 
Blimey Ilona, I just reckon you got out of bed on the wrong side! Anyway you have loads of interests and lots of friends. Please tell us more about the talks you give to groups.
Nope, not got out of bed the wrong side, if I did I must have been in a grumpy mood all day, because I didn't write that particular post until late at night. The reason for my off the top of my heard garbled words was that I couldn't think of anything else to write. I had been flitting around looking for inspiration and kept reading the same old stuff over and over again. Not that I am knocking all money saving frugal blogs, some of them play an important role for those with absolutely no knowledge on how to manage their money. I sometimes forget that some people need constant reminders, and not everyone is like me, naturally tight with their money. I only have to read Money Saving Expert forum and I am astounded by the levels of debt people are in, and how they haven't a clue what the difference is between a need and a want. When someone talks about the price of wet wipes, I think WHAT! Get a bit of rag and wet it under the tap. Never mind the wet wipes, buy a loaf of bread instead for goodness sake.
 Anyway, getting off my horse, I won't go on about it any longer. SSH wants to know about my talks. I first started giving talks about 25 years ago. I got a lot of people asking me about what it was like to be in the minority as a female lorry driver. Whilst I was always polite and answered their questions, I did find it a bit wearing after telling the same story over and over again. The usual questions were, how did you get into it, how long have you been doing it, what do the men think of it. One question really annoyed me, what does your husband think of you doing that job. If it was a male lorry driver asking, and it usually was, I replied, what does your wife think of you doing that job. Grrrrr.
 After a while I thought rather than tell one person I might as well tell my story to a whole group of people, so I contacted the WI in my area in the Midlands. I started to get a few enquiries. I didn't know what the going rate was, all I wanted was my expenses covered, it was a hobby. After a few months, people started passing my name around and I got more enquiries, some people are members of several groups, or have friends in other groups. I never set out to promote myself, I didn't need to, my details were passed around.
I must have done several hundred talks by now, I think I did most of the groups in Staffordshire and Derbyshire, and some of the ladies had husbands in men's groups, so I did some of those as well. Rotary Clubs, Round Table, and Probus, even did some Young Farmers. I can adjust the talk to the audience. The blokes like it a bit racey after their dinner. Be careful of my P,s and Q's with the ladies, especially if it's in a church hall, try not to offend. No swearing in front of the Young Farmers, though they could probably swear better than I can, ha ha. The mixed groups are good fun, because you have the men busting to laugh, but not sure if they should do in front of their wives. The ladies titter. I have seen people nearly wet themselves with laughing, that is great fun, ha ha. I know it's going well then so it spurs me on.
I have seen looks of shock and horror on some faces, as I push the boundaries out a bit. Sneak an odd naughty word out now and again. They look sideways to see if their friend is laughing. I haven't had anyone walk out yet. Every talk is different.
When I started doing talks, I had notes on cards, to prompt me. I soon dropped them as they were more of a hindrance than a help. For the trucking talks I had slides, something visual can be used as a prompt. Now, if I do a Meanqueen talk I take along crafting items I have made.
Professional after dinner speakers can make a lot of money, but I was never in that league. I once did a big Rotary Club do, as a back up speaker to a professional footballer. It was a disaster, I was completely out of my depth with it.
Generally, the bigger the audience the easier it is for me. I find it hard work speaking to ten people in a village hall,  it's much easier to speak to 100. Laughter is infectious. I have a set talk and scan their faces to see what is working and what is not. If things are looking a bit flat, I change direction, pep it up a bit, try something else. If they laugh I know I am on the right track. Reading your audience is important.
Knowing your subject is also important. I have never rehearsed at home, never in front of friends. My talks are about my life so I just bring all my memories up to the surface, open my mouth, and out they come. Give me a microphone and put me on a stage and I perform.
Here is me talking to a group at a new community centre which opened in Caistor. Dressing the part is also important. Here I am wearing clothes which have been given to me, or bought from a car boot sale or charity shop, to keep it in line with the recycling theme.    
More recycling ideas at a men's group. I talked about the walking as well, as I thought they might get a bit bored with the crafting. I had previously done a trucking talk for them and they invited me back. A meal was thrown in here as well. Again wearing second hand clothes.
I did a ladies group in a posh hotel for this one. Wearing my dress which is 25 years old, second hand boots, and home made accessories. And they fed me. My posh frock comes out now and again, I will be keeping that till I die.
I've picked a clip out from a video that someone made of the Lady Truckers. It starts with a few seconds of Linda, my friend in Ellesmere Port, then they overlap my voice towards the end of her bit and the start of me. Sorry about the poor quality. Film made in the 1980's.

So there you are. Hope you found that interesting. If anyone wants to ask any questions please feel free, about any topic as long as it's not politics or religion. I will answer you, but if you offend me I will delete you.
Chuffin heck, the sun has come out. Toodle pip. 


  1. Sounds fascinating - good for you I say! By the way I checked my blog set up and you should now be able to access it should you feel inclined!

  2. Hi Ilona, don't you just love agency work, the agency send you anywhere and the company you go to think you can drive any truck, operate any trailer, know how to fill their paperwork in and know every drop (smiths in bristol or jones' in swansea) without an adress.
    You should combine your subjects, frugality in transport. I took 7 small pallets from Manchester to Hertfordshire on an artic last week which can't be cost effective, but i'm sure they know what they're doing.

  3. "Never mind the wet wipes, buy a loaf of bread instead for goodness sake."

    softer on yer bum an' all LOL

    Ilona you are a very active and energetic lady, full of enthusiasm are interested in everything, and have a positive attitude. I'm so that's the secret to a happy retirement.

  4. Hi Ilona, love your posts, really helpful to an old man like me living barely within his means. I find most frugal blogs unhelpful as I've already don't all of the things that they repeatedly recommend. Keep up the good work.
    Best wishes
    Colin in Kent

  5. Hi Ilona in my part of the world we use the expression, Living off the smell of an oily rag... This link may give you some interesting ideas

  6. Yes, an awful lot of frugality type blogs are repetitive, but worth reading for the odd gem, and as you say, a lot of people will be reading them for the first time.

    Agree, people complaining about the cost of such irrelevancies as wet wipes then not being able to afford a loaf of bread.

  7. So you've always been a great storyteller! And a bit of a character!

    I hate that one of my favourite frugal blogs is now writing about products sponsored by the producers/retailers. Would you have written about the product if you had bought it? So why suddenly review it now?

    1. What are you talking about? What product? What producer/retailer? What sponsor?

    2. No, not you Ilona. This other blogger has started reviewing products and retailers. My questions were meant as rhetorical. Why has this other blogger started reviewing products just because she is being sponsored. Apologies if you thought I meant you.

      But I'd gladly sponsor you here in Australia, if you ever got the air fare and the inclination to travel. I'd put you up for free. No positive reviews of me needed. Lol.

    3. Ooops sorry, I misunderstood. The other blogger has a game plan, not many people have cottoned on to it yet. She is building a business, gathers people in to boost her stats so she can attract sponsors to give her freebies, and money for advertising their products. The products become incorporated into a post, which become littered with links. Adding the statement, 'these opinions are my own', does not wash with me. No one is going to upset a sponsor by saying their product is rubbish, with the exception of picking one out to throw people off the scent. The blogger has stated that her blog is her second job, fact, her words.

  8. wish I was able to attend one of your're far more real and interesting than most...I've learned so much from you...not just about being frugal, but from your wonderful attitude...hugs, keep up the good work!

  9. Hi Ilona,
    You are the most frugal person I have found on the Internet and know a good price when you see it, so do you write down every expenditure you make? Do you keep track somehow of all your expenses daily, weekly, monthly and annually? Or is this info "stored" in your head? Sorry in advance if you have talked about this in the past. I've only been reading your blog this year and it's one of my favorites. Thanks, Ilona.
    Nancy from Northern California

  10. Here's a comment- I LOVE YOUR BLOG!!! KEEP AT IT LADY! You rock my world.


Comments are welcome from anyone with a Google account. I have had to change the settings due to the amount of troll comments coming through. My apologies to genuine readers who have been with me for a long time.