I gave a talk to the SW19 Women's Institute last night at the Wimbledon Village Club. I met a lovely lady called Sally on my trip to the Antarctic last year, and it was she who invited me to speak. I took along a few prints, greetings cards and other promotional materials for people to look at in the interval after the real business of the meeting was over, and then I spoke for around an hour.
It was the first time I'd been in front of such a large crowd since I gave a speech at my former tutor's retirement dinner at Christ Church, and it was a great feeling to be on stage again. There were around 70 women in the audience, and they welcomed me with a warm round of applause.
I had prepared a slideshow of around 100 pictures from trips I've taken around the world in the last four years, and I went through them, telling a few stories and focusing on a couple of technical issues that cropped up as I went along. After 45 minutes or so, I opened it up to questions, and half a dozen women asked me about my experiences and what advice I'd give them about equipment and photographic techniques. I walked off to a very generous round of applause, so I hope the audience enjoyed the talk as much as I did!
I sold three greetings cards and two postcards and had quite a few individual chats with people wanting to know more. A dozen people signed up to my mailing list, two enquired about lessons and one might even buy my print of a pig, so thanks again, Sally!
Here are a few comments from the visitors' book: