On a freezing cold January morning, two friends stood by the Pret kiosk outside King’s Cross station, wrapped up against the cold, waiting to meet a Very Important Person. They’d been told that she’d be wearing a black suit under a dark grey coat and that they should meet her at 8.30am on her way to work. It was all very James Bond (only without the Russian accents). The women had arrived early, just to be sure, and skulked around, excited in anticipation. As the appointed time drew near, they started looking among the morning commuters for the Very Important Person, in case she too had arrived early. Suddenly one of the women grabbed the other’s arm.
“There she is”, she whispered, pointing to a woman who’d just joined the coffee queue.
“Are you sure it’s her?” the other whispered back.
“No, but it looks like her and she’s wearing a black suit…and she’s got the right glasses”, the first woman replied. “You wait here, I’ll go and introduce myself”.
“Excuse me, but are you the Bishop of London?”, said the woman with a confident smile.
A confused woman (who apparently wasn’t the Bishop of London) looked at her with an expression which clearly said “you are mad” and, grabbing her coffee off the counter, hurried away in the opposite direction, whereupon the two friends clutched one another, silently laughing and cringing with shame. Just then, a bespectacled woman wearing a black suit under a dark grey coat approached them and asked “excuse me, but are you Joanna?”
Dame Sarah Mullally DBE, Bishop of London, is one of an illustrious cast of women appearing in the ‘Twenty-first-century Woman’ YouTube video OUT on International Women’s Day (March 8th)