It feels likely that we are in for a long and rather challenging winter. Next weekend the clocks will go back an hour, giving us (for a while) lighter mornings but also presaging the short days and longer nights of the winter season here in the Northern Hemisphere. When the UK went into full lockdown at the end of March, we had a different prospect of moving towards rather than away from the light.
However, it was a time of great uncertainty and some fear, so I came up with the idea of creating a community of like-minded women in a private members’ group on Facebook called Tricia’s Super Troopers and of making a daily video to go out on weekdays at 4pm which we called ‘Teatime at the Ritz with Tricia’. During April, May, June and early July I posted over 60 videos which were designed to (hopefully) be entertaining, inspiring and to help you to (in Churchill’s wartime phrase) Keep Buggering On.
The spirit of both Super Troopers and Teatime at the Ritz was ‘let's get through this together with some kindness, love and support and maybe have a bit of fun along the way’.
Many of you have been kind enough to say that both of these initiatives were a godsend to you during lockdown. That in various ways they really helped you to feel better about the weird times we were living through and kept your morale higher than might have been the case. When my stock of ‘interesting things to talk about for 20 minutes’ was depleted, we decided to change the format to a fortnightly interview via Zoom with someone we thought our customers might like to meet during a live session with a Q&A at the end. We also recorded this so that everyone could enjoy it later via video if they missed the live session. These have proved very successful, fun and informative and I am delighted to tell you that our next interview on Tuesday 26th October at 4pm will be with Robin Ellis, the original ‘Poldark’ who now lives in south west France and is a very successful cookery writer specialising in healthy Meditteranean food.
Now that restrictions are tightening once more, I have been wracking my brains for new and interesting ways to keep us all entertained and engaged during the long winter months, so today I am launching three new ideas to keep us all entertained which I hope you will feel as excited about as I do!
A Film Club.
My idea is that we all watch a particular film and then come together via Zoom to discuss it in smallish groups. Why a film club rather than a book club? Because committing to watching a film for a couple of hours feels less demanding, and I really do prefer to read for pleasure rather than with a particular purpose in mind.
How this will work:
Film club will meet at 4pm every other Friday starting on the 30th October. The chosen film will be available on Curzon Home Cinema which has a huge library of films as well as latest releases. Curzon Home Cinema works exactly the same as visiting a cinema. You go to the site, select the film and pay to watch it during the next 48 hours of rental. There is no subscription (like Netflix or Sky for example) so no ongoing cost. Our first Film Club Film is ‘Hope Gap’, a new film starring Annette Benning and Bill Nighy. You can read about it here https://www.curzonhomecinema.com/film/watch-hope-gap-film-online. And if you would like to join in the discussion the first one will be live via Zoom on Friday 30th October at 4pm. Links to all the upcoming Zoom sessions will be posted at the end of every weekly blog and also on the Super Troopers as a reminder. You do not need to be a member of Super Troopers to join any of the sessions - they are for all of you.
This is the same idea as a Ted Talk. It’s open to all of you and I am encouraging you to find your voice in order to share something that you are passionate about. It can be about anything that excites, inspires or interests you and which you think others would like to hear. So, in a live Zoom session, lasting for about 15-20 minutes you would give us your talk and afterwards you would take questions from me and also from the audience. I am delighted to tell you that our very first Tricia Talk will be led by Super Trooper Marieke Derrington on Tuesday 20th October at 4pm. Marieke qualified as a midwife aged 47 and worked as a community midwife in the Manchester area until her retirement four years ago. Marieke has a fascinating and interesting story to tell about her involvement since her first visit in February 2018 with Potter’s Village in rural SW Uganda, a child crisis and medical centre offering care and new hope to young children and babies abandoned at birth. Details for how to join this session below.
All About Me - A Conversation with Tricia.
My final idea is to create opportunities for you all to take us into your world for a while. The format for this would be a conversation with me via Zoom. I just feel that you are such a lively, passionate and interesting group of women that there must be a thousand and one stories out there that we’d all love to hear. Possible topics are:
Are you an artist, a musician, an embroiderer, a quilt maker, a singer, a knitter, a landscape gardener, a writer, an historian, or a sportswoman etc etc? Take us into your world and tell us and maybe also show us why and how you love what you do. This doesn’t have to be at a professional level - it can be your hobby.
My Life in This Place:
Where are you in the world? What do you love about it that makes it special? Take us into your locality and tell us a little of its history or geography or community that makes it so special to you. Or choose a ‘happy place’ that you have always loved and tell us why it's so special for you.
Maybe you could teach us something new or encourage us to try something new. Perhaps you have come late to a new hobby or past-time and you could show us what you have learnt or achieved and how we might also have a go. For instance you could even do a short cookery demonstration (channel your inner Nigella) to create our very own STBO - Super Troopers Bake Off.
Coping with Major Life Events:
A discussion about the experience and challenges of coping with those life events that make happen to us as we get older: retirement, later life marriage, a bereavement, a major illness, a family trauma, downsizing, moving to another area. Any ideas or coping strategies you might like to share with us so that we might be inspired, reassured or helped by your experiences.
Achieving a Lifetime Goal:
Have you set yourself some special goal in life that you have subsequently achieved? Maybe you had to wait until retirement to do it because you never had the time before? Share that experience with us and tell us how and why you did it and what it meant to you.
How to Get Involved
Please remember that this is designed for us to find community and to share something of ourselves within that community. It’s not a rehearsal for great motivational speakers or coaches. I have been absolutely overwhelmed by what I have seen of you all both in comments under this blog and also in posts on the Super Troopers page. So much wisdom, so much talent and so much strength! Why not share some of that with us so that we can get through the winter with a sense of anticipation and enjoyment because there’s a really great Tricia Talk you want to hear, an interesting and thought provoking film to watch and discuss, and someone who is going to show us all how to make a cracking sourdough loaf or how to make some novel Christmas gifts! So, if you’d like to do a Tricia Talk or an All About Me Conversation, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will set up a call with you so that we can hear your ideas and set a date for your contribution. And if you want to join the Film Club, just watch the film ‘The Hope Gap’ and then click on the link below to join in the discussion on Friday 30th October at 4pm. I am SO looking forward to meeting you all!
To join a Zoom meeting you just need to save the link below. At 3.55 pm on the afternoon of the event just click on the link and you will be admitted to the meeting. We look forward to seeing you all!
What Do You Think?