Wednesday, September 30

Remembering my first school

The school's gone and the M25 now rumbles above the farm where I used to play. Some of the people who went to Colney Street School in the 1950s are still around though. My brother met a few classmates but I'll have to wait for another occasion to see what mine look like now as this group were all a bit older than me. Wandering around the area was fun, though, and I can distinctly remember racing down one lane on my trolley to Moor Mill. That's where Roger Taylor lived and what he didn't know about the lorries that came to and from the sandpits at the bottom of our garden wasn't worth knowing anyway. Whilst the rest of us have moved umpteen times, travelled half, or in some cases all the, way round the planet, it was really quite reassuring to find that Roger still lived in the same place and was just as knowledgeable and fascinating to listen to as he'd been half a century ago. I can't wait to get my hands on all the old pictures he had as he was one of the few children who both had a decent camera in those days and who bothered to take photos of things that just happened to be around: normal life things and, hopefully, some of us just playing. Others had plenty of posed shots and the usual pretty scenes but what I want is the inside of a den, some trolley repairs and an old bike or two.

The green balloons seemed a bit out of place but as the Daily Mail had picked up on the event I suppose someone decided to add some 70s style to the day. They did have some Helen Shapiro, The Walker Brothers, Elvis and Dusty Springfield on vinyl, though, which more than made up for that.
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Saturday, September 26

Minutes of the 802nd meeting of the Paddock Party Committee

Held at several venues in or not far from the paddock on 8th 9th and probably 10th August, at various times when sufficient members were in the same place at the same time.

Graeme, chairman, tractor and trailer driver, charred accountant, iPod & beer advisor
Maggie, diary, hostess, trolley and plastic box management
Penny, chief saladeer, beachware and food jettison advisor
Richard, senior photographer and advisor on steroids,
Sarah D, mother of the band and cutlery accountant
Steve, father of the band and dim view weather consultant
Kathie, additional seating and potato supplies
Sue, floral display and assistant social secretary
Minutes Secretary, plate miscounter and dotty image scribe
Sarah B, social secretary and cheersleader
and Adrian, quick flash and production manager

Only for occasional wind

Minutes of the previous meeting
There had, of course been the AGM on 8 August itself and several meetings thereafter but few of the members stood or sat still for long enough for any purposeful decisions other than which plastic container should be used for what and which pole might have fitted better where. These, therefore, are as best a recollection of matters covered whilst transporting chimerae or having one’s chestnuts roasted whilst munching through the large piles of pork and desserts remaining.

The Chairman had managed to knock a draft set of accounts together and circulated a table of figures. Unfortunately it was not easy to read these by moonlight so he took a good guess at what he’d written and informed the group that there had been a little over 170 in attendance.

The net profit from the event appeared to be of the order of £500. In addition a specific donation of £100 had been received for the WNAA. It is expected that the Rugby Group Benevolent Fund will be agree to repeat earlier years’ doubling of funds raised with the result being a possible final donation of £1200, divided £500 to PDSA and £700 WNAA.

It was agreed that this represented a quite remarkable figure, achieved through both the increased ticket price and raffle success, as attached figures show.

How was it for us, darlings?
Another jolly good show in all respects, in short.

ALDI got several mentions in between swishes with the J cloths and one or two members felt that stronger plates might be required to support any further editions of Penny’s quintuple chocolate concoction which, we gathered, possibly cost as much by way of ingredients as a modest gazebo.

Steve reported a near miss when attempting to stab an incalcitrant slice of pastry and the plastic fork shot through the dish and into whichever part of his anatomy lurked immediately below. Suggestions that metal forks be provided that had been mooted previously were not further discussed.

The hog was very tasty and gave off a suitable aroma at the outset. The Minutes Secretary had specifically wandered around the drive at 6:30 to test this and reported that the sniffometer levels were in good shape and the roast indeed hog-like. The Chairman commented that it had been cracking good crackling.

The two barrels of Frog Island had proved a wise decision, if only to ensure that there had been a reasonable supply rather than mere dregs for the meeting the following day. The Chairman despatched Richard to check whether a second beaker-full could be drained from the keg.

Steve had tested the wind direction in the scout tent. Erections had been magnificent and virtually trouble-free. Nevertheless, Sue insisted that members be supervised next year and would be checking to see whether a set of instructions had been packed with the various packages as she preferred a more organised affair.

The positioning of a green auto-fold-up gazebo at the exit end of the scout tent had been a little unfortunate in that its cross members had made cross guests as they bashed their heads on them. The green covering disguised the metal beneath and what they might have anticipated as being a mere gentle brush of fabric across the follicles turned into a thud and scrape which, remarkably, seemed not to have caused any food to have been dropped nor casualties requiring medication. Many guests may have prepared by taking ample medication in advance but it was agreed that next year a higher, white gazebo would be positioned there.

There was some discussion of whether further funds should be retained for the purchase of another tent. It was decided, though, that the existing £50 was adequate and any further cost would be taken into account in the next event budget.

Some felt that the arrangement was almost too neat this year and there was a proposal that the layout be reversed so that the moon could be clearly visible. No conclusion was reached – something for another day, it was getting late by then.

The loo was pretty much fully occupied for much of the later part of the evening, mainly as a result of the rapid process through the system of some of the desserts being accelerated by copious amounts of alcohol and some jumping up and down. Those who had stuck to the heavy chocolate seemed to be firmly wedged in their chairs and less inclined to attempt the long trek.

Andrew had assisted by escorting one or two people, most frequently Adrian, closely followed by Sarah, to the overflow facility in the cottage. Guidance was necessary, however, due to the internet cable being draped across the foot of the stairs and to divert attention away from the generally unkempt state of the Minutes Secretary’s accommodation, especially the pink pillow which he had really wished he’d changed beforehand as well as dusting some of the horizontal surfaces.

Electrics all worked well and Richard, Steve and Karl were duly thanked for their efforts again in keeping the flash lights burning.

The jazz band were particularly good this year by common consent and seemed to play for such a long time without a drink that some members felt obliged to swing glasses of suitable lubricant in front of them to remind them that they did need to stop occasionally.

A couple of lads performed some pleasant ditties in a relaxed style and went down well.

The Outsiders cleared the field of the over 65s quite quickly then settled into a solid rendition of their greatest hits. The youngsters clearly enjoyed them and quite a few older members were seen to be tapping their toes, slapping thighs and mostly in time. Steve had provided a running commentary for anyone within earshot. There was little or no daddy dancing this year and neither Aretha nor Bruce emerged from the Chairman’s iPod selection.

There were a goodly number in attendance, upwards of 170 but they seemed more sedentary and kind of organised this year so the numbers moving around the place were less and, apart from a few more tables and bales being a good idea next time, it wasn’t felt that any real issues were presented by the larger number.

The age mix appeared to be decidedly older this year, and that isn’t just because everyone is a year older. There were noticeably fewer under 25s, possibly due to Matt’s friends and several children not being there this year.

The Chairman and Minutes Secretary had managed the gate and relieved guests of as much money as possible and were pretty confident that no-one had got in without a ticket.

The Minutes Secretary had produced a range of signs, mostly telling people where to place their plates and cutlery, cans and bottles but had forgotten that it gets dark at night so most went unnoticed, as it were. However, aided and abetted by Adrian, several others offering useful advice and warnings to be heeded were constructed and, in particular some dotty images of the Committee were popular attractions. Well, certainly for the Committee members anxious to figure out who was who. Interestingly, all but the larger ones went missing after the event and it is possible that they are now being purveyed on eBay at vast prices. Pity we hadn’t signed them or they would have been worth even more.

Tidying up
The morning after the night before, extended as traditionally the case, to the morning, lunch and evening after the night before and the morning and lunch after the night before the night before, went smoothly with all bits and pieces swept up, washed up, packed up and the field restored to its former glory and ready for inspection by the geese.

The Minutes Secretary was under the impression that he had rinsed over 400 plates but appeared to be in a minority of one in debating the accuracy of his calculations. Nevertheless he did wish to point out that he probably had got as wet as he would have done if it had been 400 plates.

Despite tickets being sold in almost entirely strips of 5 for £1, the Chairman reported that the raffle income had totalled £293.09, an odd sort of figure which would imply that someone had sold 45% of one ticket. The Minutes Secretary proposed that each Committee member contribute 1p to make up the missing 55% but an alternative proposal that they carry 9p forward to the next year was preferred.

A full breakdown of the draft figures is included as what is the very first ever Appendix to the Minutes.

Richard, and to a notably fuzzier or lesser extent, Adrian and the Minutes Secretary had taken snaps at various times and the results, including a remarkable pair featuring Adrian being attended to in the drinks tent, are now available on both the In The Village blog and the Minutes Secretary’s Facebook pages. Links: and respectively.

Next party
After consulting his diary, the Chairman decreed that 7 August 2010 be a good day for Paddock Party 7 and those present heartily backed the idea. His diary wondered whether anyone would like some pork as there was still rather a lot left.

Sue fancied the idea of dressing up which prompted a range of proposals for themes from the gentlemen present, none of which, however, were deemed entirely suitable for the event. She may well, though, be prepared to give some of them a whirl at a future meeting. Sarah B was quite taken with the vicar and Adrian was particularly keen on tarts.

Next meeting
Steve wondered whether we might have a good old-fashioned British food session in the near future. The Minutes Secretary would consult his mother to see whether she could be persuaded to knock up one of her excellent shepherd’s pies. Graeme’s diary was expert in the Beef Wellington department. Steve D and the Minutes Secretary both drooled helplessly at the mention of suet puddings and Penny said she would look up how to make a jam roly poly or a spotted dick.

Sue offered her premises for the next meeting, date and time to be advised.

Event account summary over PP2-6

Wednesday, September 9


Managed to escape from hospital yesterday. Now how on earth do I get the wrist tag off? I can't use scissors with my left hand!
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