WEEKEND WEB: Not totally committed

John Ward
John Ward
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WARD’S WORLD: By John Ward

The telephone warbles and I wonder if I could have a claim if the pencil box I bought as a school kid may have since contracted Dutch Elm disease as there are assorted ‘No Win – No Fleece’ claim outfits that are lurking to pick up on the latest ‘get rich quick’ scheme but mainly for them that is, but it’s friend Bob this time.

I have known him for ages and he was calling to ‘update’ me on bits and pieces as we served (or persevered might be a better description..) on an event committee some years ago and we still keep in touch to further confirm that the lunatics were or are indeed still running the asylum we both resigned from – thankfully.

Since so doing some time ago now, it appears that for the very reasons we departed they were still carrying on doing as normal as at the time we both agreed ‘enough was enough’ as there was no longer any personal enjoyment in it for us.

While Bob, myself and others were working our socks and in some cases, tights off to ‘get the show on the road’ in a manner of speaking, there was a section that only turned up at the actual event to wander about once they worked out the actual hard work (i.e. graft) had been done beforehand.

However, their very own shared catch phrases were amusing or bordering on insulting: “Is there anything I/we can do or help with?” and on hearing there was something they could do, suddenly remembered they had a bad back, ditto leg, foot, rib cage etc or the classic: they were on “new medication and the doctor has told me to take it easy..”

Yes, the standard issue response to work being found for them to do and their collective response was the stuff that the Carry On films is famous for – farcical comedy.

The sad thing was that anybody who had a real interest or offered support were alienated as the real worry was they could show up certain established members as to how inadequate they were and as somebody once said: “In life there are two sorts of people in certain circles – those who do the work and those who take the credit” and judging by our lot, that about summed it up.

The day of the event itself was an anti-climax in many ways as the committee meetings were quite mind numbing and darkly entertaining, with an instance being when at one fiasco, sorry, meeting the major debate was on what design should the souvenir plaque have on it as in the wording, then another barnacle chimed in and said he thought (?) ‘we’ should give inscribed mugs or beer glasses away instead to those entrants taking part or rather just turning up in real terms and nattering among themselves while there as they were really in assorted cliques.

Although the minor point that the event was about entertaining the local community and hopefully raising money for worthy causes, the money to pay for these entrant baubles as in plaques, mugs etc was in real terms coming out of those funds and in the next breath, the same barnacle was going on about he didn’t think (?!) that there was ‘enough money being donated or given away by the committee’ the last time to causes!

Really? – You don’t say..

The plaques/mugs debacle was lost on him slightly and there was indeed a case for mugs as there would be quite a few on the committee already if it was agreed, but common sense eventually reigned as it was slung out but worse was to come.

Every point brought up appertaining to obtaining assorted basic elements such as the generator hire to power all manner of things, rubbish bins, portable toilets etc was greeted with assorted responses from those who were supposed to be sorting them, ranging from: ‘Hopefully being sorted’ – ‘Waiting to hear back as they have a new bloke there now..’ – ‘It’s still ongoing’ – ‘I keep ringing them and they are calling me back any year now’ – ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to be contacting them as I thought Burt Another was doing that’ and so on that you didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Then we found out that the person we thought had been elected as the chairperson was not as he was only the ‘eyes and ears’ for the real one – and it showed.

We were wising up that a past chairman was indeed ‘pulling the strings’ as his wife had him under her thumb and didn’t like him doing whatever it was he was doing in case he enjoyed himself and she couldn’t have that, hence using this ‘glove puppet’ chairman as he was called.

Then we had one leading member who ‘was on’ various other committees, organisations and bodies, so he could not commit himself 100 per cent to our group.

We found out that four of the committees he was ‘on’ met on a Thursday evening between 7.30pm and 8pm, so how he achieved his attendance at these other meetings was quite interesting in using the laws of basic physics or jet propulsion.

The assorted events within the main one traditionally attracted assorted classes ranging from children’s fancy dress to classic cars, motorcycles, area events etc was being run, and that was putting it mildly, by assorted people who didn’t either have any interest or even a clue about how to organise these particular classes.

It also turned out that some entry forms had not been sent out to past entrants as was always done or indeed that those new to us who requested them to enter had not seen them either and at the very worse, no confirmations sent back.

At least Bob and I had a solid track record in what we did and were capable of.

Then amid the general ‘fun’ these meetings generated it turned out that the keen volunteers who helped out to get the event going felt insulted because certain members of the committee had realised their input was saving them (hard) work and kept their own physical presence in short supply.

After their withdrawal, that year it boasted in the press of the magnificent nay record turnout of paying visitors but sadly this ‘magnificent record’ turnout did not reflect in the money donated as it was less than the year the event was rained off, then followed by letters appearing in the same press pointing out the headline in months previous and why the discrepancy to which there was silence.

Bob said we had seen the best years as it was now going downhill fast, which was a shame as it did bring the community together collectively as it was the big event locally plus also the proceeds went to real deserving causes and all this was basically eroded by inept people working to their own agenda.

As we are not getting any younger we have decided to have a sort of reunion involving the backbone of it with the unsung volunteers, but the main stumbling block at the moment is agreeing on what size mug or beer glass to get to mark the event for just turning up as you can’t just go ‘willy-nilly’ about these things you know.