Tuesday, 1 November 2016

last meetings

This could be a short post, because it is late and Mr Cool is lying on my arm which makes typing difficult.  I fell over him earlier in the evening, or he cannoned off my legs, when I was trying to get ready to go out, and he ran out into the garden and would not believe that I had not tried to kick him deliberately, so now that he has forgiven me or forgotten all about it and come to sit next to me I don't have the heart to reject his advances.  It's getting tricky, though.  I am reduced to typing one handed and he keeps pressing enter and shifting me down a line, or he was until Mr Fluffy arrived and started boxing with him.

Mr Fidget seems better today.  He stood up and stretched on his pouffe this morning before eating some breakfast and disappearing into the eleagnus hedge.  I told him that he ought to be resting. He had better go back to the vet tomorrow and have his temperature taken again to check it is back to normal, but at tea time I found him and Mr Fluffy attempting to eat a piece of Battenberg cake the Systems Administrator had neglected to put away in its plastic box.

The SA has a cold and is much worse.  Swings and roundabout.

It has been a day for rounding off the year.  This afternoon I did my final woodland charity talk for 2016, or at least the last one I've got booked.  Last minute panic bookings are getting pretty unlikely now since many clubs have a Christmas party in December rather than a speaker, so that's probably it.  I can't remember exactly how many I ended up doing, and as Mr Cool is lying on my arm I can't get up to go and look in my diary, but it must have been about eight which from a standing start of having none booked at all as of the first of January was not bad going.  Today's talk was to a Christian ladies' fellowship group in Colchester.  They had warned me that while parking when I arrived would be easy, by the time their meeting finished the main hall would be awash with the babies and toddlers group and so it was.  One lively blond haired infant was crawling determinedly towards the main doors of the hall, and retrieved with a cry of 'Stanley, come here'.  The old names really are coming back into fashion.  I've seen a baby named Stanley.  

Mr Cool keeps pressing Enter so we'll give up on the last paragraph.  This evening was my garden club's final meeting of the year, with the AGM followed by a supper and quiz.  My normal policy is to only go to the AGM of anything when I am actually on the committee, but as they are a friendly lot I thought maybe I should try going at least once.  My college friend who has been a member for 
several years without ever attending the AGM agreed that if I went she would go too.  The committee had been to a huge amount of trouble, a really huge amount, with table cloths and flowers on every table, and candles, and a hot main course dished from the hall kitchen with remarkable speed as we went up table by table to collect our food.

Everybody was asked to bring a pudding, which sounded confusing in that surely there was going to be a lot of pudding left over unless everybody took tiny ones.  The membership secretary explained as if to a slightly slow child that people liked to try more than one pudding and took the left-overs home with them, and part of the answer turned out to be that most people can eat an awful lot of pudding when they put their minds to it.  I took Dan Lepard's cherry and polenta pudding because I'd done one recently and felt reasonably confident about it, and also because I didn't want anything too runny or squishy given it would have to travel twenty miles in the car.  I nearly lost it at the first pedestrian crossing when a cyclist shot in front of me at speed and without dismounting, but fortunately didn't hear the crash of cherry and polenta hitting the back of the driver's seat.  I only had to bring home two slices so honour was satisfied, though I had collected the last piece of somebody else's apricot sponge in my tin.  My tinfoil had disappeared too, but luckily I'd guessed that might happen and shoved a box of clingfilm in the car.

There was a crossword competition, one answer sheet per table, and my table was one of only three to get all the answers correct.  It was all down to teamwork.  I am pretty good at botanical Latin and the rest of the team came up with solutions to some of the left-field clues that stumped the other tables.  Modern poison = sugar, maybe not a tactful clue when everybody was about to eat so much pudding.

The AGM was mercifully brief and the committee was reelected en masse.  Very sensible of the chairman to keep a tight grip if she has a happy team that works, and not allow an entry point for any vexatious volunteers.  Democracy is a wonderful thing but you can have too much of it in a club setting.  Next year's programme was announced and sounds pretty good.  The accounts were circulated at the thrify rate of one copy per table, but we passed them around and I was interested to see how the club keeps afloat financially, which I had never quite understood given that annual membership is only twelve pounds and they don't do a monthly raffle or charge for tea.  Even the AGM supper was free, apart from the cost of the pudding ingredients.  The plant sale held in alternate years turns out to be crucial.  There wasn't one this year, but come next May the village pub has kindly agreed to let the garden club use its garden, and then we need to sell a lot of plants, really a lot of plants, in order to be able to afford the speakers that we do.

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