A definition of morale: ‘an emotional or mental condition with respect to cheerfulness, confidence, zeal, etc., especially in the face of opposition, hardship.’ Few would deny that we are currently confronting a considerable degree of opposition in the form of a virus which is proving much harder to overcome than we hoped back in March.
The hardship is in the reimposition of various levels of lockdown which means that ‘normal’ life is once more on hold for the foreseeable future. So the biggest challenge as we move through autumn and into winter is to find ways to keep our collective morale up so that we can maintain some semblance of cheerfulness, positivity and enjoyment of life despite the cold winds blowing around us.
Which is where all of you come in! Yes - you - despite the fact that you would never normally put yourself forward nor do you see yourself as the kind of person that could possibly entertain a group of other people!
A couple of weeks ago I launched three new ideas for ways that we as a group of interesting and inspirational older women could collectively support each other through the coming months. The first was to volunteer to give a Tricia Talk (like a Ted Talk only better) about something that you are passionate about and would like to share in the form of a twenty minute presentation. The second was maybe less daunting as it was a conversation with me asking you questions about some aspect of your life, experience or interests that you think may be of interest to our group. We are calling this ‘All About Me’. And the third was to create a fortnightly Film Club so that we could all watch the same film and then come together to say what we thought of it. So how is it all coming along? I thought you might like a quick update and a bit of encouragement to consider ‘having a go’ yourself!
Our First Tricia Talk October 20th
I am happy to say that our first Tricia Talk was a great success. Marieke Derrington, a retired community midwife in Manchester told around 60 of us all about her involvement in Potter’s Village in rural Uganda, a place which supports both abandoned babies and which also offers ante- and postnatal care to mothers. Marieke has visited Uganda three times and was inspired to raise £2000 to fund a qualified midwife for 2020. That funding is running out, so at the end of her talk (link to video), a member of the audience, Helen Humphries suggested that we as a group might like to raise enough to fund a midwife in 2021. I am thrilled and delighted to say that we launched this as our Christmas Appeal on Super Troopers and reached our target in just 36 hours! How brilliant is that? The appeal will stay open to donations (see below) and Marieke can keep us all up to scratch with how our money will be used to benefit all those mothers and babies.
Our First Film Club on October 30th
I chose the film ‘The Hope Gap’ because it stars two of my favourite actors, Annette Benning and Bill Nighy. The film is based on the director William Nicholson’s experience of his parents' marital breakdown. Much of the action is seen through his eyes as his feisty mother and quiet and somewhat downtrodden father painfully sunder their long marriage. Eighteen people joined me for the session and we were able to divide into three groups of six so that everyone could participate and contribute to the discussion which was enjoyable, interesting and enlightening. Film Club will now run every fortnight, so the next one will be on the 13th November when we will chat about ‘Summerland’, a delightful film mostly set in World War Two about an evacuee from the London blitz who is lodged with an eccentric writer (Gemma Arterton), who really doesn’t want her life disturbed by this rather strange but spirited little boy. The film can be viewed on Curzon Home Cinema https://www.curzonhomecinema.com/film/watch-summerland-film-online, no subscription is needed and this one costs just £4.99. Some of you may feel that you are too shy to join us for this, but I want to reassure you that we’ll keep it very friendly and welcoming and find ways to ensure that everyone who wants to contribute can have their say.
All About Me - A Conversation with Tricia.
And finally how about volunteering to have a conversation with me about some aspect of your life and interests? We are calling this ‘All About Me’ and the first one will be on Tuesday November 3rd at 4pm (see the Zoom link below). It's called 'My Life in Books' and I am delighted to tell you that Super Trooper Kathy Sharp will be sharing with us her amazing journey into writing, illustrating and binding her own books. This all began when Kathy took retirement just over ten years ago and I know you will be as impressed as I am by her incredible talent and the beautiful books that she now produces. I know from posts on Super Troopers that there are lots more interesting and talented women like Kathy in our midst, so how about sharing some of those stories and that talent with all of us? I am talking about life experiences, life stories, skills, interests, hobbies, a change of direction - really the sky's the limit! All you have to do is to contact me via firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up a Zoom call to discuss your idea for this or for a Tricia Talk so that we can get a date in the diary.
Teatime with Tricia
In addition to these three new ideas we will continue with our programme of fortnightly talks with interesting people from whom you might like to hear. This week’s Teatime with Tricia (link to video) was with Robin Ellis, the original dreamboat 1970s Poldark which was the most successful costume drama ever made by the BBC. One hundred and fifty of you made time on Tuesday, a wet, dark and horrible afternoon, to listen to Robin’s (beautiful voice) as he told us all about his transition from being a successful actor to living in France and writing wonderful recipe books for diabetics based on a Mediterranean way of eating. Robin was charming and entertaining and many of you contacted us to say how much you enjoyed his talk. Our next Teatime with Tricia will be on Tuesday 10th November at 4pm when you’ll have a chance to meet Issie Churcher an award winning British Hair Colour Technician from Josh Wood who will be telling us all about how to look after your colour at home - so whether you need help growing out your grey, covering your roots or maintaining your salon colour this is the session for you!
I realise that I am suggesting a level of participation here that might push you way outside your comfort zone. As a generation of women, we were brought up to expect to play a particular role in life. I certainly believed that my destiny involved becoming a wife and mother and any career opportunities were fairly restricted to working in an office, a shop or maybe entering a caring profession like teaching or nursing. I was not encouraged or praised for speaking up or standing out in a crowd. It took me until I was well into my 40s before I had the confidence to make my voice heard in a group and have the temerity to stand up for something I believed in. Confidence came late to me, but now I have found my voice I rather like using it! And how about you? Will you let go of some of those old beliefs and ‘have a go’ in the ways that I am encouraging you to do here? Marieke ‘had a go’ and look what she’s set in motion! Please think about it. We need some bright spots on our horizons and Tricia Talks, Film Club and All About Me Chats could be just the morale-raisers that we all need.
If you’d like to support our Christmas appeal for one or maybe two midwives for Potters Village see it here