The Shotgun & Chelsea Bun Club is a fast growing clay shooting and cake loving club. What more needed to be said before I would say yes to joining their first annual conference to talk?! I would like to thank Victoria Knowles-Lack, the organiser and "Head Girl" for the club (and amazing events hostess to boot) for inviting me to speak at her very first conference. This lady is more than inspiring, she has done the shooting world proud, introducing women to shooting and helping them with advice and tools to get them into a serious (and male-dominated) world. It was very exciting to be a small part of it all and I would do it again in a heartbeat. Even dogs were welcome at this event and it was very surreal to see a little Chihuahua and a Cocker Spaniel wandering around, but I loved this, as a dog owner myself, I can't say I've ever been to a dog friendly conference before. This addictively enthusiastic and affordable club is on a real mission to get thousands of women involved in clay shooting and everybody is genuinely welcome to join them. In fact, I wasn't the only novice there on the day, there was an interesting mix of members and levels of experience so I was in great (and extremely welcoming) company. Off I hopped to Wales on the the Midland Expressway, which actually sounds so exotic doesn't it?! Like route 66, but in the UK, no?... In all seriousness, considering this was a Saturday morning, I had a pleasant and peaceful journey on a quiet route with the radio playing some fab songs to get me in the mood, I even managed to pick up a Birmingham-based Rock station en route, I was a happy camper. It's always nice to see a mountain or two in front of you as you arrive at a venue, it's been a long time since I saw one of those! One of the talks on the day actually had us all educated as well as highly entertained, simply titled "The seven deadly sins - how to lose your shotgun license", which was hilarious and hosted by Bill Harriman, known for his expertise and his work with BBCs Antiques Roadshow. He was also joined by the clever, but entertaining Peter Glenser, a Barrister at 9 Bedford Row, London. He specialises in firearms licensing, firearms related crime, courts-martial proceedings and other serious criminal matters. They discussed importantly the main reasons and ways to lose your license and talked about some very interesting cases that they had dealt with over the years when it came to people and their guns - I'm now officially scared of my gun-loving friends to say the very least! Bill had also mentioned that never in his work life had he given a talk where he was dealing with girls called "Head Girl" and "Glitzy Tits"... these ladies have a wicked sense of humour as well as a love for cake, I loved them so much for their nicknames alone. Cheryl Hall also gave a talk on her experiences in the shooting world and she was so inspiring to hear even as a non shooter to see such a career driven woman is doing so well not only in her job, but in her shooting career too. Having won various titles over the last few years, she has also trained at an Olympic level and was a very interesting lady to hear speak, just amazing and made me personally feel proud to be a women, even if I don't get on my feminist soap box too regularly, I could have genuinely listened to her for hours. One of the speakers, Phil Coley talked about training in the shooting world (His "Simple steps for success") but I actually listened to him in a business sense, listening to him talking about how people learn was interesting as it could in fact be applied to anything you learn, not just shooting, it was genuinely interesting to consider. You could be one of the following when it comes to learning a new skill (which are you?!): An Activist - Learning by doing Likes to shoot a number of targets many times (Or likes to do a task many times to get it right) A Pragmatist - Learning by trying ideas Likes to try different methods of shooting styles (Or likes to try different methods for completing a task to get it right) A Reflector - Learning by discussion Will question and visualise A Theorist - Learning through structure Structured target presentation information (Or learning through structured procedures) And after so much intriguing information, of which I wasn't expecting to take in from this event, it was time for some tea (in vintage china cups with mis-matching saucers no less!) and my talk on "Afternoon Tea Etiquette" complete with a Powerpoint presentation, all I needed was a laser to point at slides with and I could have been talking to an auditorium of serious students... although I'm glad I wasn't haha. I waffled for a good 40 minutes on the "Do's and Don'ts" of afternoon tea and how to be the perfect guest next time these ladies and gents had their own afternoon tea pit-stop at a shoot. Thanks to the lovely Debbie Wallwork and her fabulous photo shoot (and to my models, loved that day, it was great fun!) we had conducted especially for this event, we had some chuckle-worthy photos to show off the visuals and I (think that I) educated them with some history and fun elements of our favourite mealtime. In fact, afterwards I was approached by a lady who said that her husband had wanted to go home before my talk, but they stayed on as she had wanted to hear me. She said that he was so glad they had stayed as even he enjoyed my talk, hurrah, great feedback indeed - I was thrilled! Bill (off of the Antiques Roadshow) had also come up to me for a natter afterwards and was extremely encouraging about my passion, with some great books to take a look at later on. He had also asked me in my Q&A after my talk if wiping his hand on his mouth was a big no no, of which I did say was true. HOWEVER, I have since learnt that men would indeed once upon a time do this at afternoon tea, as they saw napkins as too feminine and ridiculous for their manly stature. Women would have once carried a handkerchief around with them, just in case napkins were not available to them, so there would be something to dab their mouth with, however men would forgo this to use what nature intended. So, Bill... if you are reading this, I take back my ticking off, you are indeed free to wipe your jam and cream from your mouth with your hand, I give you (quiet and amused) permission ; ) Throughout the day they had also run a "Bake Off" style cake competition, with an array of cakes over a very long table, I was in my own cakey heaven, however my current diet says no to cake (shocking, I know!) so I was a very good girl and just sniffed them instead - they all looked amazing and prizes were given out at the end of the day including rosettes and little "Top Bird" trophies, it was brilliant! On Victoria's itinerary for the day along with her notes to her helpers (of which I spotted whilst setting up my table ready for my talk) I couldn't help but notice the final line on her to do list... "All Done girls - Let's have a piece of cake, pack up and head to the pub" - I couldn't agree more, it was well deserved. Now to see if these ladies remember their manners next time they have afternoon tea at their respective clubs up and down the country.... or if they invite me to host a physical afternoon tea etiquette lesson if all else fails... in fact, not just the ladies, the men could do with some manners instilling too! http://misssueflay.com/workshops-consultation http://shotgunandchelseabunclub.co.uk http://www.debbiewallwork.com For my full Facebook photo album for this event, please click here.