Thursday, 21 May 2015
Far From The Madding Crowd
In order of frightfulness the least scary is the E17 Art Trail. This year our theme is Storytelling and Poet's Corner has adopted the Max Bygraves catch phrase " I wanna tell you a story". This year seven roads are involved and 42 residents in those streets have written 10 line stories about Walthamstow. These will be printed on estate agent's "For Sale" signs as part of the Art Trail. Each road has a theme and each family in the road tells a story based on that theme. Getting it organised and delivered by 30th May is scary. A local estate agent is sponsoring this.
Next in the frightening factor is our annual street party. I, and a few residents, have organised these since 2012. They're linked to the "Big Lunch" event, sponsored by the Eden Project, although we do our own thing. This year we've the Beach Bikini Band " headlining" our event and this has suggested the theme of our Party - retro- '60's surfin' USA. Neighbours will be invited to bring "surf and turf" dishes and dress appropriately with a paddling pool and sand pit evoking those "good ol' boys" and Surf City.
It takes some organising and I'm busily involved.
The scariest of the scariest is the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of our local allotment association. As Secretary I am required to do loads of admin. Ensuring the insurance is renewed each year, along with the membership of the various bodies to which we're affiliated. Then there's booking the venue for our meetings, paying the rent to the Council for our allotments.....and negotiating our new lease with the Council. This has been on going for 3 years and is still to be finalised. And next week I have to explain to the AGM why we're still in negotiations.
Oh, there's also the quarterly meeting of the Personnel Committee of our local Citizens Advice Bureau of which I'm the Chair and the meeting with the Union side, which tends to be rather fraught.
All this I've brought upon myself. A few years after I'd retired I decided I needed to do something so as not to vegetate. The result has been my hyper activity community wise. After a time it gets tiring. You begin by wanting to help your community: you end up resenting it. Or at least I do.
This year I've decided to do things I want to do. So I've started acting classes, going more and more to the theatre and picking up on the subjects I studied at university nearly 50 years ago. That means I need to ditch some, if not all of my community works. But I haven't the guts. I'd let people down, I need to complete the lease negotiations, the street party wouldn't happen etc, etc if I don't do it.
Actually, the world won't end if I give it all up. In fact things might move along even better if I stop being involved. But it's scary stopping even if it means less heart ache, less angst.
Today I went to the allotment, not to do anything; just to see how things were going on. It was great. The world manages quite well without me being there to help it. Everything moves forward as it is meant to: the fruit is setting, the beans are thrusting skyward, the greens are greening up and this year for the first time I will have a proper crop of almonds and a few walnuts.
So fuck structures and organisations: collectives and cooperatives, clubs and community action groups. Just let the grass, and everything else, grow around your feet.