So, three well-known things about the Women's Institute:
- They spent the war making jam
- The Calendar Girls were part of the WI
- More recently, the slow hand-clapping after Tony Blair's speech
But there's so much more to this remarkable Movement.
More than 200,000 women in the UK belong to the WI and their membership is GROWING. There are 4,000 member in Bristol alone - and four groups have started up in the city in the past 4 months.
So I paid a visit to the newest one - in the suburb of Downend.
My visit taught me many new things: Its members are from all walks of life, all ages - students, new mums - you name it! And what they get up to these days is more than Jam and Jerusalem.
The Downend group is looking forward to a visit from one of the Baker Boys next month, and there are also plans for belly dancing, a curry night and wine tasting (maybe I should join?).
Most women I spoke to there wanted to be part of an "all girls" club - where they can do all things girlie - without their other halves. Who'd have though this movement - that was founded in 1915 - would still be a force to be reckoned with.
Next year the Women's Institute will be celebrating their 100th birthday in Britain. The faces and traditions may have changed but the friendship values and bonds still remain as strong as ever.
I feel a revival of GIRL POWER coming on!