I looked at my watch. 6 o’clock (pm, that is). Time for a drink! I went to the kitchen – and returned with a pint of water. Yes, I am virtuous beyond bounds. I doubt I’ll be able to keep it up once I don’t have the sunshine to remind me – unless the feeling of health and well-being people talk about is more truth than myth.
I’ve been unjustifiably lazy today. I have all sorts of jobs to do, and have ignored them. However, I have done some paperwork that’s been hanging over me for some time, including two items which had been requested by 1st July – however, that was the sort of deadline suggested more in a spirit of hope than expectation, and the acknowledgments I received sounded appreciative that I’d done it at all. Having often sent out emails requesting help, information or opinions and had little if any response, my conscience pricked me into responding, even if belatedly (having had a reminder, *cough*). Indeed, having sent out a request for volunteers to help at the village festival this weekend and had one reply between Tuesday and Saturday, someone who’d been on holiday then told me I’d not attached the rotas. No one else, it appears, had noticed. At present, needing 8 people to serve teas at the church on Saturday, I’ve had one chap, when approached, agree to do an hour. I’ve put myself down for 2 hours, but I’m busy on the village green, as are the 5 people most likely to offer (all of whom are helping on Sunday) and besides, I want to go to the rest of the festival myself – John takes over the village hall with his excellent selection of guest beers and I need to sample a few. Also, I can’t join in village activities if I’m not there, wallet open, supporting everyone’s stall and watching the dancers and musicians who are giving up their Saturday afternoon for us. Last year, when the High School music teacher asked if anyone would like to join in the djembe drumming, I was the only volunteer (I was at an advantage as I had had a go already at school) – but there it is; while the wind band was playing it rained for a few minutes; they carried on regardless and so everyone stayed to support them, whereupon the sun came out and stayed out.
But this is a difficulty – everything, apart from our own business, that I’m involved in depends on volunteers. And people who volunteer are often already quite busy. And you can have a team of people who always join in, that falls apart for one reason or another. That’s what’s happened here – one lady’s father has died and her elderly mother needs a lot of support, and she’s adjusted her working hours so that she can be with her mother a lot in the week and work weekends. She needs no additional pressure at all. Another couple; he’s just started a new job which involves a commute in the opposite direction from hers, and they’ve only got one car. She’s not very well and they have two family members who need back-up at the moment. Nor do they. Another is recently out of hospital, one has moved away from here, another is not well. The people left are feeling that they are on their own – which includes me. This is not a complaint; indeed, I’m sympathetic and can see that people are doing everything they can. They are right to put their families first, too. No one has stepped in to replace them, however – though again, everyone is busy, what is supposed to give?
I remember, a couple of years ago, being very pressed for time with a lot to do, and work for the Sage was part of it. I spent several minutes having a moan – “I’ve got this and that, and then there’s a deadline looming and so-and-so is relying on me…” I whinged. “Then there’s your work – of course, you take priority”. I saw his shoulders, which I hadn’t noticed were tense, relax. I was so glad that I’d said that – it’s been an enduring lesson to me; of course it’s true, but it’s also something that can be not said. We both sometimes feel that the other is always so busy that we don’t have time for each other, but we know what and who matters most when it comes to it.