Spend much of weekend in cricket pavilion, helping with pre-season Revamp. Plans for Total Transformation limited slightly by a) Budget b) time c) reality, but make quite impressive impact through two-pronged strategy of a) discarding everything that does not Spark Joy and b) covering remainder with white paint. Under-15s show particular aptitude for removal and destruction of furniture and fittings; local decorator and carpenter add welcome dose of professionalism; and time flies by as we discuss soap-making, Oompah Bands, American supermarkets, and everyone who isn’t there.
Sense of elation at Job Well Done slightly dampened on return home by sight of own photo in organiser’s Facebook update, though children say it’s only my hair, clothes and facial expressions that look really bad.
Daughter becoming anxious about participation in forthcoming School Quiz so watch University Challenge together in preparation. Explain that they may well ask the wrong questions in her quiz as well.
Apart from slight Technical Hitch with village hall microphone (resolved by son running home for emergency AA battery), Horticultural Association Quiz Evening on Saturday seems to go off quite smoothly, and it is with happy mixture of relief and excitement that I head to Twickenham on Sunday for semi-final of Rugby World Cup. Elder son’s very generous and organised godfather has invited us to join him, and while I am clearly No Expert on finer points of Rugby Union rules (son keeps asking me whether I Understand What Has Just Happened), am fully able to appreciate a) drama of passionately-contested match b) power of 80,000 spectators singing, shouting and cheering their hearts out and c) particularly handsome Argentinian players. Am utterly enthralled by whole experience.
Take children on half-term visit to admire sister’s temporary accommodation; surrounding park looking even more beautiful with trees in glowing autumn colours, and children spend some time taking photos of selves and cousins as though for in-depth Country Life article on eccentric Landed Gentry, before heading off together on bus to nearest McDonald’s. (Adults opt for local pub.)
Return home to find e-mail from friend in America who is visiting family in England next week and wonders whether I can Squeeze Her In amidst my village duties. Prospect of next week and its scheduled mix of jumble sales, almshouse trustee meetings and Gift Aid inspection visits suddenly seems much brighter.
Much of Saturday spent in village hall. At coffee morning am put in charge of selling Specially-Printed Church Tea-Towels (Ideal Christmas Gift! Easy to Post!). Am informed in friendliest terms by absolutely everyone that unfortunately they already have a Specially-Printed Church Tea-Towel, and so do all their daughters, second cousins, and old friends in New Zealand – though some are kind enough to buy yet more. Am left with ample leisure to chat to new young organist, helping out with Quality Bric-a-Brac on next table; discuss DIY, Kazakhstan, and wedding music choices (next week’s bride has apparently asked for The Bit From Braveheart When She Dies).
Evening devoted to much-anticipated Horticultural Association Quiz Night, which to great relief All Goes Well; slight panic in Island-Hopping Round when are loudly informed that we have Got Them The Wrong Way Round, but luckily this refers to order of questions 9 and 10 rather than respective roles of Corsica, Elba and St Helena in life of Napoleon Bonaparte. Children help out with marking and scoring, need for tie-break question narrowly avoided, and, best of all, everybody helps with putting away tables at end (often feel that Village Life consists largely of washing up and moving furniture).
Had planned to spend today earning £1000 by writing prize-winning essay for Persephone Books competition but think will just read yesterday’s newspaper instead.
Breakthrough Breast Cancer Coffee Morning in village hall; arrive in scruffy raincoat, clutching slightly burnt lemon drizzle cake, and find everyone else in glamorous pink apart from one lady who had been expecting the market and nipped out in her gardening clothes to buy sausages. Feel immediate bond, and spend next hour with her discussing trees, melanoma, and food-shopping in France. Joined by another new lady who asks me how old my children are, then says that she Feels For Me.
Conduct umpteenth double-checking of questions and answers for Horticultural Association Quiz Evening tomorrow. Am unreasonably plagued by fear of challenges – though question master assures me that he will take A Firm Line – and feel compelled to find at least three authoritative sources for each answer. (Wonder, not for first time, whether lack of job means that am perhaps Losing Perspective.)
Looking forward to half-term; as I told the lady this morning, the children are Actually Not That Bad.
Date of Horticultural Association Quiz Evening fast approaching, and have yet to make any perceptible progress on question-setting. In self-imposed avoidance of anything Depressing or Controversial, have managed to think of one possible round, on Dogs. Fear there is much work to be done.
Finish reading Joanna Trollope’s version of “Sense & Sensibility” and realise that own familiarity with original story derives almost entirely from Emma Thompson film. Wonder whether ever-increasing awareness of huge gaps in own knowledge could perhaps be viewed as sign of great wisdom.