I want to get my money’s worth, at least.
Today, I decided to give the government some money, entirely voluntarily, and it’ll be quite some years before I know whether it’ll be worth it. So if you’re in receipt of a pension now, be assured that your money is safe for the next few weeks because I’ve bolstered HMRC’s income to the tune of nearly three and a half thousand pounds. But now I’ll be paid up and receive a full pension. Not for years, though. They keep shoving women’s retirement age up.
I’m going over to stay with Weeza and Phil tonight, because I’m looking after Gus all day tomorrow. I’m looking forward to that very much. I’d thought to call on my sister-in-law in Cromer, but she will be out. She has an immensely busy social life and you have to arrange things weeks in advance. The advantage of being retired, as she says. And so she has been for 21 years, but she never seems to age in the least and was immensely sympathetic when I was hobbling around on a dodgy hip and she, in her late seventies, was as agile as she’d ever been. If she drops a glove, don’t even try to pick it up for her, she’ll have bobbed down and back again first.
Before that, a couple of meetings at the school. And things haven’t gone quite as planned. The Head is retiring at the end of the year, you see (lightweight, he’s younger than I am, and I’m nowhere near retiring) and we advertised, got a very good shortlist … and in the last few weeks, several of them have had to withdraw. All excellent reasons, they all would love to reapply, but we felt that, though we still have fine candidates, there isn’t enough choice, not for this job. I felt quite dreadful, as you can imagine, having to write and tell them so. It felt like the most unprofessional thing I’ve ever done – and yet, so would it have been if we’d gone ahead.
I used to be quite glad that this is an entirely voluntary job. In 25 years, I have never claimed a penny, for mileage, postage or anything else, even when I could have. That I was giving my time went without saying. But now – in truth, I think school governors should be paid. Good governors are worth it, and we are held to account for what we do. When my parents were town councillors, they were not paid (someone who was employed could make a claim but not the self-employed) but now councillors’ remuneration is not ungenerous. It isn’t going to happen any time soon, but we are expected to do a semi-professional job at the least and it has a lot of responsibility. I don’t particularly want money and I certainly don’t want praise, I get a great deal of satisfaction from doing a good job. I’d be bored silly if I could spend my life doing what I felt like, I’m not ready to self-indulge all the time yet. But we need people who have more than spare time, and it’s a situation that’s going to become harder to deal with. We have (or will have very soon) a full governing body, but a lot of schools haven’t and successive governments have made the situation more difficult. Unsurprisingly, I suppose.