So this morning I found myself spinning plates-a-plenty. What's new? I hear you ask - you, my regular readers who know all the ins and outs of my sometimes manic life.
But, no, these were real plates I was spinning. Balanced on proper plastic wands. What's more I was passing them on, still spinning, to the person next to me, just in time to take ownership of another spinning plate, handed
to me by the Truly Magnificent Matt who is (at the risk of upsetting Mr B) the huggiest person I know.
Matt was the star attraction at today's Voluntary
Sector Forum organised by Yours Truly, as Chair of an organisation called Voluntary Action Worthing. Our theme was "Fun With A Purpose" and Matt, who leads a truly inspirational organisation called CircusSeen was demonstrating the hidden value of learning
circus skills in terms of improving confidence, self-esteem and all-round wellbeing. He didn't start, of course, by talking about the serious stuff; rather he wanted us all laughing helplessly as we tried to juggle with colourful scarves, toss balls at each
other, and draw pictures in the air of a square and a triangle, one with each hand, both at the same time. Try it, if you will. It's nowhere near as easy as it sounds.
Out in the kitchen, Amazing Babs and her Frying Pan Partner, the equally Amazing Chris, were cooking up bacon and vegetarian sausages to be served in baps with a Choice of Sauce. As One Who Is Always Thinking Of Her Stomach, I know how important it
is to feed people if you want them to keep coming.
Talking about people coming, I had nightmares about this event. Numbers were a little lower than I had hoped;
quality rather than quantity, I kept telling myself. Vainly. Then I dreamt last night that I had failed to book the venue. In my dream, we all turned up to find the doors of the Quaker Meeting House firmly locked and bolted against all intruders. It was all
my fault for not checking, everyone chided me in my dream, there was nobody else to blame but me. There were lots of accusatory fingers wagging at me, it wasn't a pleasant experience. Where did I suggest we went now? people were asking. Which is when I woke
up in a cold sweat, trying to remember if and when I had received confirmation of our booking.
So convinced was I that my nightmare was about to come true, that
I approached the doors of the Meeting House with trepidation, which quickly turned to relief when the doors opened at my first timid push and there to greet me was the warden, the Really Rather Wonderful Elena. All was well.
In addition to Matt and his circus skills, we heard from community librarian Jane about the Summer Reading Challenge. Nearly a thousand Worthing children signed up for the challenge last summer and
had such a lot of fun - the purpose behind the challenge, of course, being to keep children reading during the long summer holidays. I've been a volunteer on the Summer Reading Challenge every year since I retired - this will be my sixth year. It's one of
the highlights of my summer, a voluntary activity which combines two of my great loves - books and children. What could possibly be better? Okay, so I am the oldest volunteer on the challenge by about fifty years and it's unlikely that I can use my experience
to enhance my chances of getting into college or landing a job as the army of young volunteers will be able to do - but it's the taking part that matters, isn't it? Or am I thinking about the Olympics?
Matt asks us all which circus activity we enjoyed most. For me it was the spinning plates, for others the juggling scarves or the ball tossing. Nobody claimed most enjoyment from the drawing in the air. Had we noticed, asked
Matt, that this was the one activity which had not been accompanied by music? Everything is so much more fun when you create the right environment.
start with the fun and find purpose in it - or start with a purpose and find a way of making it fun. Bacon and sausage rolls, lots of laughter, plenty of chat as people became better acquainted and shared ideas. All this and spinning plates too!