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Strangers then friends

Posted on 14 November 2019

Blogs can be really hard to write, you don’t know whether to go deep and meaningful or light and breezy. You think of ideas when driving, at work; all times you forget or can’t write the idea down then when you try and remember.. poof its gone.

I think for today I am going to tell you about a recent event I was fortunate enough to attend which was the Women of the Year Lunch in London. God knows how I got an invite but I did so off I went not having a clue what to expect. When I arrived it was scary, there were lots of women talking (loudly) in a big room and I thought – where do I go, what do I say so I took a deep breath and struck up a conversation. (Even though The Chatty Cafe Scheme is all about talking to strangers I am fully aware of how daunting this can be). I met a woman who runs a theatre company, a woman who uses her own experience of bi-polar and attempted suicides to talk to children in schools about mental health. When we were ushered into the big room for lunch I found myself sat next to not one but two actual celebrities. Maureen Lipman on one side and Phyllis Logan (aka Mrs Carson from Downton) on the other. It was very intimate and cosy and I could not quite believe I was listening to a conversation about movie premiers whilst eating my bread roll.

As the event began we heard stories about inspirational women and what struck me most was the overarching notion of bravery. Whatever background or profession these women had they all shared a sense of bravery which really resonated. In the room was also Theresa May, Cressida Dick and Lorraine Kelly. All women who had chosen to be bold and pursue their dreams and goals.

Maureen and Phyllis (I feel like we are on first name terms having technically been for lunch together!) were lovely. They were warm, welcoming and down to earth as was everyone else I met that day. It was an emotional affair but in the way you can get emotional when you feel really proud of people, even people you have never met.

I left the event feeling raring to go, to keep pursuing and pushing the scheme. What started off as scary ended up feeling great and maybe that’s how people may feel when they have been brave enough to sit at a Chatter & Natter table. You will never know the positive impact it could have on you unless you try.