Surprising Sussex Housewives

As I live longer in Deepest Sussex, I find that my stereotypes of housewives have been challenged – or at least I have found women who baulk at them.

I had a lunch to thank the people who had helped me with the village festivities pop-up bookshop and someone came up with a really good idea.

She said we should create a supper club and get interesting people to come and have a conversation with us.

(Sharing credentials here rather than living on past glories, I need to tell you that I once ran a supper club for ‘the generals’ who were really semi-senior military leaders who wanted, needed and got, supper and a conversation with someone they would never normally come into contact with.

The speakers didn’t need to be famous and the subject was hardly ever anything to do with the military, but they had to be an interesting speaker.

So, we had the Chief Inspector of Prisons, someone talking about amazing Medieval master builders, mother and daughter who walked to the North Pole, an ex-Taliban refugee, a bee Professor, a bishop, someone talking about enduring mental health problems, a magician and so on.

Diligent readers, and my friends, will remember that the Supper Club is how I met the ‘best beloved’ who shares my Sussex idyll.

Anyway, enough living on the past glories I said I wasn’t going to do.)

Back to the main story here, a few of us went to the local pub last night to make this idea happen.

( Thank you, Vicky.)

We will create a membership of like-minded women who will pay say £10 per month and get four suppers a year and a conversation with someone interesting.

The issue is how to get people to speak to us – for expenses only.

After all, you can get all sorts of people to speak if you pay them handsomely enough, but we need to make ourselves interesting enough for speakers to forgo a fee.

Ahh, I hear you say.

A bunch of pony-tailed, four wheeled driving women living in very nice houses and fitting in a Pilates class between the private school sports day and a lunch with the girlfriends in that great little place we love so much, during which  you mention the simply wonderful gardener you’ve found – that will, indeed, be quite difficult to sell as an interesting audience.

Well, and I am amazed to hear myself say this, we are not all bloody like that.

Here in Deepest Sussex, again I say with some force, at least some of us are definitely not bloody like that.

So, whilst I will admit that The Guardian does not fly off the shelves of the village shop and there is a whole strata of our local society which runs the various village societies with an iron rule and impeccably good manners.We are not all blood like that.

And scratch the surface and you will find smart, funny, interesting women ( some living in lovely houses and driving 4x4s ) who want to keep their brains stretched.

And we are going to harness them and make this supper club work.

We will find a way of describing ourselves out of the stereotypes and to show ourselves as the women we really are – smart, funny, interesting, as I said before  – and get all sorts of fascinating people to say, ‘Blimey, they sound like a great group of people to spend an evening with.’

And there may even be some smart men around who will be allowed to come – as guests you understand – as long as they ask nicely and agree to load the dishwasher for a week.


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