- as in, I have never done it before.
In September this year our village school opened with the brand new extension we had fought for 7 years to obtain. Today we were having an open day to celebrate our wonderful new building. I, as chair of governors,was asked if I would say a few words before the ribbon was cut, and I said that was fine, assuming that I could turn up and say a few thank yous, safe in the knowledge that it would just be the kids at the school, staff and a few devoted parents, most of whom I would know. I was due at the school at 3.00.
So imagine my delight when one of the women who have been organising today rang me up at lunch time whilst I was still at work to check I knew what I would be saying. "Yes," says I, "I have a rough idea." And then as an after thought, "How many are you expecting?" "Oh", she says, "well I have had about 350 replies so far, plus the children of course, and not including the people we have invited as special guests like our M.P, councillors, Director of Childrens Services, the press...." I think she carried on listing people who would be there after that but I had died of shock and my colleagues were having to give me artificial respiration so I didn't quite catch all the names.
Why, oh why, oh why had I not long since prepared a proper speech?
Any pretence at work was abandoned as I set about doing just that. The only advantage in finding out what I was actually going to be faced with at such a last minute stage was that I didn't have time to get nervous. And even though some bastard sabotaged the microphone (or maybe it was knackered?) I did it. I didn't forget anyone I needed to thank. I didn't inadvertently insult anyone. I did however make some people cry, and a lot of them laugh. And people were really nice to me about it afterwards.
So today I did something I would never have thought I could do. And that feels good.
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