I was out all day yesterday, at a training day about church maintenance. Much of it was about guttering and drainpipes. It was absolutely fascinating - no, it was. I do love to hear a practically-minded chap talking about his enthusiasms, and I am now as keen on drainage as he is.
I went home via the Co-op, and then the shop, where I stopped to lend Al a hand. The phone rang, and it was the Sage. "I know you've got to take along a plateful of food for tomorrow" he said, "and you won't have time. So I've bought an extra loaf of bread and some smoked salmon, and I'll make the sandwiches." I gasped. I was unable to speak for a moment. Then, "I love you" I stammered, breathily.
This morning, we didn't get up that early, because I still loved him. When I was ready to go out, I didn't have time to go in and fetch the papers, so I asked him to. We finally arrived home from our after-church lunch and meeting, at 3 o'clock. "Where are the papers?" he asked. "Er..." "Sorry" he said.
Oh well, they'll keep them for us I suppose, as they are on the bill. Tomorrow will do.
Now, another bit of a quandary tonight. You know the society I'm chairman of - the constitution says that the chairman steps down after three years - that's coming up this June. But no one wants to take over. The reason is that everyone else is doing a damn good job and enjoying it. There is someone who says she's willing to be chairman - but she wants to do another job first, and that seems fair. Another had a pretty rough time looking after a relation, who died after a long illness. She hasn't said no, but she needed time to get over things - I let it drop for a while, but in the meantime she's really got her teeth into another, rather tricky, job that she's making work better than anyone ever has before. So it's been suggested that I carry on. I've been reluctant, but a decision will have to be made in a couple of weeks.
This evening, I've had two emails from one person -
"I fear we put poor J under pressure, seeing that her Ely visit isn't until June. She managed to get it sorted pronto and brought it in today. I had envelopes stamped and labelled, and put in the newsletter and J's contribution, and will hand them in tomorrow at the post office second class.
I much admire J's contribution. In fact, on contemplation, I reckon all your committee are highly efficient. People comment on the high quality of the talks, the visits and the holidays away in such complimentary terms. I should add, Z, how much they like you as Chairman, in that you don't make them feel artistically inadequate, but give a happy human touch. No wonder we have such a huge waiting list.
Best wishes, P"
Names abbreviated to protect the innocent, of course.
Second email, shortly afterwards -
"Come on, Z: In Norfolk we "Do Different". Why the hell must we all listen to "Three years etc"? Why can't YOU go on for six years, and all your committee continue in the jobs they do so very adequately? If it works, why mend it? Our Nadfas will never have a better team, so why not hang on for another few sessions? I hate bureaucracy dictating, and suggest all who are able and willing keep on for the good of our Nadfas.
I haven't replied yet - I think it's permissible not to have read emails and answered them on a Sunday evening. But it's been apparent for a while that I haven't much alternative. As I said the other day, if things are not going the way I choose and I can see it, why waste the powder?
The thing is, I've been a good chairman in the past. But I've been at my best in a crisis. When things aren't going too well, I am pretty good at focusing on the best way to go and making things happen. I found it quite difficult when I started to chair this committee, and the society, because it was all fine and I didn't feel I had much area of focus. It took me a year or two to get going, but I've found my feet now.
But if I say yes, I've got to put this across to the members so that they, er, vote me in. I'm not much of one for electioneering. At least I'll be standing unopposed - but they still might vote me out.
And people do like me - but I'm not like the other chairmen they've had. I have gone down the route of being warm and informal - yeah, I want them to like me and smile, I go for laughs and the 'human touch', rather than the 'professional' one. I try to put some substance into what I say, but also to be personal. Complete ignorance helps, of course, because as P says, no one feels inadequate to me. All in all, I probably drive some people quietly mad, because they feel I'm just too dumb for the job.