Saturday 13 September 2008

A botanical weekend

It started with a visit to an exhibition of lovely paintings set in a lovely garden. The only downside was the return of the rain (it's a weekend - what do you expect: as I noted a couple of months ago, weather really is worse at weekends) but that simply drove everyone into the old milking shed (?) where the paintings were all hanging. It was a good mixture of art and drink. You can have too much of either, but the mixture helps.

I say it started with the exhibition - it really started after a croquet training session. People were preparing Bamburgh Pavilion for the annual show, and suggested I enter. I got a list of the prizes to see if I could produce anything to enter, and then spent Saturday morning after the party (sorry exhibition) seeing if I had anything in the garden to enter. I had some potatoes - could I get 3 white round ones? or coloured kidney ones? And some tomatoes (4 required) and some peas (4 pods, although they weren't in good shape). And lastly a single rose: fortunately there was a prize for a single rose as I only had one undamaged one left in the garden.

Some of the other prizes obviously required a lot more preparation: Lady's spray and Gent's buttonhole; The Best Pet with Waggiest Tale; Dahlias for effect. I left my exhibits; they didn't look too bad; but I don't think I could watch the judges. So I went to play golf. And got a text at the end: my Peas had won!!!
I would have felt prouder had they not been the only entrant in that category. Instead I felt anger that my Tomatoes - which I thought were very cute - hadn't been up to scratch. But as the notice of the show said: THE JUDGES DECISION IS FINAL. I suspect its been questioned over the years.

Anyway, I left feeling committed to entering again next year. And reflecting on all the unseen work people do to keep alive this sort of social fabric.
At a tangent, it made me think about Post Office closures. They arise because the Government has failed to properly cost the hidden benefit the network brings to society, to many disadvantaged and older people in both rural and urban areas. As a result, the network is smaller, the social fabric tears a bit and on-going costs of care and support will have to be higher.
Essex County Council (Conservative controlled, by the way) has just announced it is reopening a Post Office; this sort of initiative is valuable in keeping the network alive. Northumberland's Council is silent on the issue (apart from token protests about how the Post Office carried out its closure programme). Bitter, moi?


Troy said...

The Alpha and Omega of the pea world - who would thought it!

Anonymous said...

You sound like you had a lovely weekend, John. With rain of course!

The post office is a scandal. I only hope they keep Belford open.

CJ xx

Sarah said...

I have seen over a number of years a policy, nationwide, of closing local amenities in favour of larger, more central service- not only in government, though; I see this as the result of business running social services.
Use the industrial revolution as an example, where the workforce is simply factored in as a 'y' in an equation for production for maximum profit; this is the value used today.
I don't think 'government' understands none monetry value.
I don't think any government does, or has; it is an entity with it's own ends at the top of a pyramid of power.I do see that we need effective management of services and positive, motivated people working for the well-being of everyone.
I also see public organisations being considered the last bastion for profiteering, corrupt, lazy individuals, AND over-worked, well-meaning people, too.
The thing is, John, change comes from within. It is a process of self-awareness and realisation, of a willingness to change. None of these things happen through a policy from Parliament.
IF the local post office closed, might somebody be moved to speak out, or better, to act out of character and do some heroic act, for the benefit their community?
('The post WILL get through, Gee up, Dobbin!')

I think lots of things.
I don't mind if you don't post this embarassingly long ramble.