So once again I have returned from the SHWI Getaway. I am writing my account of the weekend from my sofa, curtains closed on the beautiful sunny day outside, swaddled in my classy brown dressing gown and jogging bottoms, RuPaul’s Drag Race soothingly providing the background noise, a Square crisp sandwich and a can of Diet Coke on the table in front of me. Basically, this year, rather than trying to recreate the atmosphere of the weekend through words, I am stubbornly refusing to believe that I am not in Currer Laithe and am actually attempting to physically re-enact farm life. I think I’m doing pretty well. I have the comfy clothes, hangover beverage, ‘nutritious’ food sources and a load of beautiful cross-dressers in my eye-line (more of which to come)...
|Photo by Seven Hills WI|
|The gang at the Bronte Parsonage|
|Photo by Ellie Last|
Whilst I would love to continue with my literary musings further, alas I must revert to detailing the weekend. Although, I’d just like to point out that if we accept that Kirsty is SHWI’s own amalgamation of Michael Winner and Jay Rayner due to her take-no-prisoners judging role on the Great British Menu (and swarthy good looks, of course), then through that critique I must SURELY qualify as our own Mark Kermode? What with my retro (i.e. dated) hairdo and dead good knowledge of films and that. DISCLAIMER: I was going to compare myself to one of the world’s premiere literary critics, but, erm, I couldn’t think of one, so I turned to my trusty pal Google. That came up with the name Salvatore Quasimodo and I just couldn’t see ANY similarities between me and that namesake AT ALL. AND NEITHER CAN ANY OF YOU, ALRIGHT? AND YES, I’M AWARE THAT JANE EYRE IS A BOOK BUT THERE HAVE BEEN ABOUT 20 MILLION FILM VERSIONS OF THE VARIOUS BRONTE WORKS, SO I CAN GET AWAY WITH LINKING IT TO CINEMA, OK? Phew, glad we got that straight.
Now where were we? Ah yes, Saturday night… Our fancy dress theme for this year was men. Yeah, you read it correctly, men. I mean, given that this year has been all about celebrating the wonders of sisterhood through the WI centenary, it seemed only right that we acknowledged that men have done some decent stuff too - through the respectful medium of drag, naturally. And who’d have thought given the delicate femininity that exudes from the pores of every SHWI member (moi especially), that we’d make such HOT blokes? We had historical hunks (Thor), geektastic guys (Einstein), movie men (Rambo, Garth Algar and Frank N Furter), literary lads (the Bard himself), AND (tenuous phonics alert) tuneful chaps (The King, Freddie Mercury, Conchita Wurst, Adam Ant), televisual todger-owners - GROAN, jeez Pilson – (including the Hoff, Father Ted Crilly, Marcus Wareing, Michael O’Hare, 118 man, Richard O’Brien) and, OF COURSE, no evening would be complete without a sexy drag mermaid.
|Photo by Ellie Last|
|Grace and Sam the sheep dog - Photo by Ellie Last|
the Sunday evening, leaving a small group of us to enjoy a quiet evening of reflection. By which of course I mean we caned the Singstar for approximately 5 hours. We discovered that most people had fairly decent pipes on them, that Zoe is now probably addicted to karaoke and that pretty much any song can be improved if performed in an angry Cockney or jaunty German accent…
So Monday arrived and due to clock-change confusion, we ended up leaving mega-early. But it’s probably for the best given that every year it gets harder to leave. For serious, man. So once again HUGE thanks to Kirsty and Grace for their organisation skills and thanks to all the ladies (and gents) for their fantastic company. I feel massively privileged to have been lucky enough to attend all 3 Getaways so far and feel that I should probably be magnanimous enough in 2016 to stand back and let others attend. HAAAAAAAA! AS IF! Roll on Getaway 4! Because, to be honest, the fact that I have to be female to attend the SHWI Getaway is pretty much the only thing stopping me hotfooting it to Tijuana to get the op to turn into Marcus full time…
|Photo by Laura Bainbridge|
By Anna Pilson