I had an unexpected free morning today, as I was blown out on a woodland charity talk. I realised last Friday that nobody from the club I was meant to be talking to had contacted me to confirm that I was still on. That's not unheard of, as booking secretaries and Chairmen go on holiday or get ill or are struck by some kind of domestic crisis. Normally if I ring or email them before they contact me they are apologetic that they didn't get hold of me first. If it's a fairly last minute arrangement and we've spoken within the last few weeks I don't even mind if they don't call me again, especially if it's a local venue. This morning's talk was due to be very local, on the other hand it had been arranged in early April.
All I'd written in my diary was the name of the person who'd arranged the talk, and the fact that it was arranged by email. That told me where to look for further details, which is where things began to unravel. The person who'd made the actual booking had said in her email that she would pass my details to 'the lady who ran the group' who would be in touch with me, and I couldn't find any record of any contact from the group leader. Admittedly since I didn't know her name or the name of her organisation, searching my old emails was not very easy, but thinking about it I didn't remember hearing from her. I emailed the original contact, and heard nothing back.
And that was that, really. I didn't even know the time of the meeting beyond the fact that it was in the morning. I could have put all my kit in the car and gone to the community centre and looked for a group of pensioners who were game for a fifteen minute presentation about a woodland charity, but I didn't. I thought I'd done all I could attempting to contact the only name I had in good time. I sent an email to the woodland charity volunteer manager explaining the situation and filled my car with bags of long grass and went to the dump instead.
I shouldn't really be surprised. In a world where people don't bother to show up to medical appointments, even though unless they are blind, deaf and profoundly stupid they must be aware of the pressures the NHS is under, why should I assume nobody would be cavalier with the time and efforts of a charity volunteer who costs them and the taxpayer precisely nothing? It's remarkable really how often bookings do work out. Proper membership clubs with a committee and a booking secretary are nearly always reliable. They have a job to do, their fellow club members are expecting a full length talk, and they get on and organise it. They are nearly always very appreciative as well. The worst ones seem to be the little befriending charities, where somebody in the centre thinks the members would like it if someone popped in for a chat, and person running the group on the ground hasn't been involved in the decision and doesn't give two hoots about it.
After going to the dump I spent the rest of my bonus morning and the afternoon tidying up my little pots around the greenhouse ready for the house sitters. It's not that I'm worried about what they think of my pots. I am the customer, and my garden can be as messy as I like, but I thought they would find watering easier and might do it better if it was obvious what needed to be cared for. So dead things have been going on the compost heap or in the brown bin, depending on whether or not the compost is infested with that infuriating bronze leaved oxalis, pots that do have lily bulbs under the surface (I hope) have been cleared of bittercress so that they look loved and wanted, and so on. While I was at it I potted on some things that had been struggling along in seven or nine centimetre pots into one litre, in the hopes that they would use the warm weather over the next four to six weeks to make more roots.