'D'ya mean people go and, er, drink...coffee?' said theeyechild as we surveyed a typical bit of rural outdoor advertising - an A4 sheet tacked to a telegraph pole inviting one and all to a Coffee Morning at some village hall or other.
'Yep.' I reply 'That's about it.'
For him, a product of the Starbucks generation, it's a bewildering concept. Why on earth would anyone bother to foregather to drink a mediocre brew in a dusty village hall when a superior drink could be supped, slurped or sipped in the comfort of one's home or high street, and with friends of one's own choosing? (And if it's fundraising that's the name of the game, why not simply slip a tenner into an envelope and send it to the charity of your choice.)
Why not indeed?
But old habits die hard - Marton WI deemed a Coffee Morning a Good Idea and a date was arranged. Posters were hastily tacked up, cakes baked, plants potted-on and bric a brac was gathered. By 10.00am - opening time - tables groaned under the weight of produce and early arrivals hurried to take advantage of this shopping opportunity before supping the obligatory coffee and munching one of Lynn's most excellent scones. WI matriarchs Mrs Evans, Mrs Trow and Mrs Thomas presided over The Draw. (There is always a draw.) Stationed close to the door they could 'sting' visitors as they arrived - £1.00 a strip - or get anyone they missed on the way out. On stage Shrewsbury Junior Windband tootled - they were very good!
By mid day a quick count up of the takings showed a healthy profit - and while we like to say it's all about raising the profile of the WI, recruiting new, young members blah, blah - it's always good to raise a few pounds. The ladies are keen to support The Children of Sumatra, a charity which helps children living on that island and suffering from cleft lips and palates. I do hope that is where a substantial amount of the money raised will go.
I guess putting a smile on a child's face will make this curious Coffee Morning business worthwhile.