A society* I belong to applied, a couple of years ago, for a visit to the Prince of Wales’ home – not the house itself, but a tour of the gardens. We’ve recently been offered a date in September. The letter arrived while the society takes its summer break, so some of the committee have had to get off their deckchairs** and do some extra work.
We have three or four visits every year, to exhibitions, interesting houses etc – this autumn, for example, we will go to the Terracotta Army exhibition at the British Museum and to the Mansion House – and there is one committee member whose responsibility is to make all the arrangements. However, for this particular trip, both people who have done this job have already visited H1ghgr0ve and so can’t go again, so I’ve got to deal with applications.
I discover that I am not temperamentally suited to dealing with an oversubscribed trip.
We decided, since people may be on holiday or the post may take longer in some places than others, to go for a ballot rather than first come, first served, and the date for this is Monday 13th. There are only 25 places available – since expenses are the same whether the coach is full or half-full and this is a long way and so needs two drivers, this makes it a relatively expensive excursion and it will be a long day into the bargain, as we are going to leave at 6.30 am and don’t expect to return until 9.30 pm – and I’d hoped (knowing I wasn’t being realistic) for 25 applicants.
In the first two days, I’ve had 32. That already means disappointing 7 people, and many of the applicants are friends which makes it even worse
I can’t sway the outcome as it wouldn’t be the Thing to Do***, and to make sure I’m not tempted, I’ve asked the Rector to do the draw with me – not just because she will be above suspicion, but also because she won’t know any of the people concerned so won’t mind.
There is just one upside. On the day, I’ll get to boss everyone about.
*There are over 300 different branches, which are run independently but all affiliated to the National Association.
**With thanks to Dandelion for the improvement.
***With an acknowledgment to Dave that, by claiming a place that could go to a more deserving person, I am a liar.