At the end of many a conference or event, the person chairing proceedings tells everyone attending to "have a safe journey home."
I am sure it is always kindly meant -
but it has become so over-used over time that it's rather like the shop assistants who insist on telling you to "have a nice day!"
Lucky me, then, bringing to a close the proceedings at yesterday's Annual
General Meeting of Voluntary Action Worthing, to be able to finish with a wild flourish towards the back of the room and a call to "Take it away, guys!" At which the talented members of Worthing Community in Rhythm burst into song, setting everybody dancing
homewards, feet tapping, and ending our successful afternoon with a performance of Pure Joy.
I can claim no credit at all for this inspirational finale which was the brainwave of VAW's Chief Officer, the Inestimable
Julia. It was, indeed, a stroke of genius.
I had woken that morning after a restless night in which I dreamt that I had to chair the meeting dressed in scruffy shorts and shirt, having just returned from a
camping holiday with no time to change into more appropriate attire. Many of my dreams involve me finding myself Unsuitably Dressed for a big occasion. I wonder if someone is trying to tell me something? This particular dream might have been improved had it
included highlights from the actual camping holiday but, alas, it centred on the final day's Packing Up.
This is one of my recurring dreams: In it, I am battling with the exercise of cramming clothes into
suitcases only to find that we appear to have brought with us a number of items which would take up every bit of spare space in anybody's suitcase, however large and trunk-like. Like what? you want to know. Readers of the Daily Blog are accustomed to being
filled in on the most trivial of trivial details. But, you see, that's the problem with dreams - you don't always see (or, perhaps, remember) the detail. All I remember is trying to cram heavy navy blue carry-bags (like those which encase travel cots - you
know, with a zip across the top which you can never completely close) into too-small suitcases. As I said, it's a recurring dream and one in which I never, ever finish packing. Some eminent professor in a Sleep Laboratory somewhere would have a field day with
A feature of this recurring dream is the presence of my four children aged between two and eight at the time. Because of this I always wake from this particular dream - and others in which they
star as young'uns at various stages of childhood - with a sharp tug of longing for Days Past. As soon as I open my eyes, however, they vanish like little, friendly ghosts. The spirits of my past, now all grown-up.
I can only imagine that I must have been worrying about my central role in keeping proceedings at our AGM running smoothly or why would I have dreamt about it? What I had forgotten, of course, was that the Stars of the Show would be the many voluntary
organisations who would be show-casing their work over the course of the afternoon. All around the old Town Hall, displays explaining the amazing efforts of so many organisations to meet the needs of the young, the elderly, those with disabilities, people
in financial difficulties, the families of servicemen and women.
Four inspiring presentations had everyone applauding. Among them, Circus Seen which helps people develop self-confidence and self-esteem through
learning skills like juggling. I thought of my god-son, Mark, the best juggler I know, who juggled at his wedding to the Divine Paula and made it onto the front page of the local newspaper swallowing fire while his new wife looked on. He would be the perfect
recruit for the Circus Seen team if he lived down here.
So to the musical end of the afternoon. Lots of people stayed on to listen to the music, to help finish off the food (supplied by Buddy's which provides
work experience to people with learning difficulties) or just to chat. I felt like dancing but this would have meant Making An Exhibition of Myself.
What's new? I hear you ask...