It’s really turned autumnal at the Zedery

I think this is the last difficult anniversary of the year. In November, it’s the 100th anniversary of my mother’s birth, but we’re likely to have a family party with fireworks, as it’s close to Bonfire Night.

I cheerily emailed a speaker for the local Arts Society (formerly Nadfas) to confirm arrangements for the next lecture, having completely failed to notice that there’s a rail strike on that day. She has engagements every day that week and, try as we did – including my offering to have her to stay on the nights before and after – it wasn’t going to work. I had to do some quick work to find a replacement and then to rebook her for next year. And it’s done, it’s worked out beautifully. I’ve got someone I know, who lives half an hour away so can drive here and all is fine. I’d also emailed another speaker, who’s due next year, to find out if a swap were possible – it isn’t, but we’ve had a good email conversation and he has some good suggestions for any future emergency.

A few things to learn, most of all that my usual practice of getting in touch 3-4 weeks ahead is a good one. I’d let it slide, as I had been away the week before last. She had realised and had emailed the previous programme secretary, but somehow that hadn’t been picked up. I won’t make that mistake again. There are only two more speakers before the end of the year, but I’ll certainly make contact with both of them in very good time. I’ll keep a local/emergency speaker list to hand and be ready to email it out to other committee members, in case I’m ever away when something crops up. The good thing, from my personal point of view, is that I just got on with it and didn’t panic or worry. I spent an hour on a plan and a backup plan and then kept everyone informed as I got more information. A year ago, it would have been a struggle. It was quite straightforward, given that everyone concerned was really helpful and replied promptly, but a nuisance to have to do. And the speaker who’s been postponed for nearly a year will be a few hundred pounds down on her earnings, which is another unintended consequence of a strike that will have no effect on the bosses of the companies concerned.

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