The amazing thing about yesterday’s event to celebrate Sussex and the South Downs was that it turned out to be so very well-organised.
This was a major surprise to Pam, Marion and me who have been tearing our hair out for months on end trying to find someone who could tell us (i) what was going on, (ii) what was expected of us and (iii) what we could expect to find when we got to the
venue on the Big Day. Would there be tables on which we could spread out our “Wish You Were Here” wooden postcard display? If so, how many would be allocated to us and where would we find them? Would there be a piano to provide essential
accompaniment for our Singing for Pleasure Choir? Most importantly (for those who have not lost their sense of taste) would there be a cafe serving drinks and snacks?
Oh, we of little faith! Arriving on the University campus just after 9 a.m. we were greeted by smiling stewards at every turn, directing us with cheerful efficiency to the hall where our tables were waiting for us. We had been allocated tables
8,9,10, 11, 20, 13, 14 and 15. No, I didn’t quite understand where table 20 fitted in to the overall plan either...
My friend Pam, who is a Free Spirit when
it comes to table allocation, decided that our allotted spaces weren’t exactly what we needed and persuaded us into some serious furniture removal. This resulted in us putting three small tables together to make one large square-ish table on which I
spread the green baize cover which we use on our dining room table to make our cribbage and nomination whist sessions look rather more professional. Fortunately we were at the end of a row so, apart from a slightly grumpy man in the row behind us who
clearly thought we should have been grateful for what we were given, nobody seemed to mind. We set out our table carefully, respecting the enormous time and talent which our 24 contributing artists had expended on their beautiful wooden postcards.
Every postcard a memory of one of our Questers Group’s visits over the last two years. A mosaic to remember the two trips to Bignor Roman Villa, one in piercingly
cold weather, the other in sunshine (Mr B and I were on the wintry weather one.) A teddy bear representing the trip to the Brighton Toy Museum. A cartoon fireman for the visits to the local Fire Station. An atmospheric painting of High Salvington
Windmill by Roland, our friend and fellow chorister (and member of the Friday morning Bacon Bap Brigade) who, as we were setting up on Level 1, was upstairs on Level 3 ensuring that the paintings of the Art Group were properly displayed.
The fact that the Checkland Building, venue of our SUN Day, was on five levels caused me a few mad moments, especially as it was Level 3, not Level 1, which was the Ground Floor.
Whose silly idea was that? I spent rather a lot of time in the lift, going between Level 1 and Level 3 trying to remember which was which and, in particular, where I could locate the Costa coffee shop. For some reason I was sent on a lot of errands –
maybe I just looked as if I was ready, keen and able – so it was my job to meet the coach transporting our Main Party of Worthing U3A Members and advise them where they should be heading. Which, given my Levels of Understanding was possibly a mistake.
I took it upon myself to act as escort to May, who is 93 years young and had only joined the outing because I waxed so lyrical at our Nomination Whist group about how good it would be. Poor May didn’t know what she had let herself in for.
As with our Wish You Were Here display, so with our choir performance. We had to wait until the saxophones had performed but then it was our turn to take the stage.
Pam and Marion sat in the back row and said they could hear every single word. We all remembered who was Harry and who was Polly. The supplementary members of our choir turned out to be Seriously Lovely People while our rousing finish - Sussex
by the Sea – nearly brought the house down. Our conductor the Redoubtable Muriel (who had slept peacefully through the performance by the saxophonists, her head bobbing gently above the keyboard of the grand piano) said that we acquitted ourselves
very well. This is High Praise Indeed from Muriel.
The sun shone. We sat on the terrace and ate our lunch, with the stunning South Downs as our backdrop, reminding
us what this day was all about. May gave Mr B two of her mini pork pies which he accepted with alacrity. We took a trip up to Level 5 where we watched a fascinating film about two lost villages of East Sussex; then whooshed down to Level 2, the mezzanine
floor, where the Literary Corner was sited before it was time to return to the theatre on Level 1 for the afternoon’s performances.
On the way home
in Marion's car, after a speedy and efficient dismantling of our display, we contemplated again on how everything was so much better organised than we had thought it would be. I reminded my companions of what I had said so many times over the past year
– we had enough of a struggle to persuade, cajole and encourage our own U3A members to get involved. We should concentrate on what we might be able to influence and not worry ourselves about the machinations of the County Wide Organising Committee.
What will be, will be, I had said. We would Do Our Best and Our Best Would Be Good Enough. If you want a worthy platitude and someone to trot it out – look no further.
That's totally on the Level. But please don't ask which one...