I have begun the New Year with a much needed assessment of my Charity and Community Commitments. Given the demands upon my time - ongoing and relentless committee obligations not to mention the occasional lecture for how unselfishly eager I am to share my skills with less knowledgeable villagers - I have taken on the duty of monitoring my diary. Further clashes are to be avoided at all costs. How grateful I was for The Master’s forgiveness when his post Boxing Day shoot conflicted with the raking of my internal labyrinth.
The débacle would never have arisen, of course, but for the inefficiency of my junior administrator. Had I not repeatedly told her to distinguish between mine and The Master’s duties? Why, I even purchased two tones of writing implement. Such a shoddy attitude has been noted in her personnel records and henceforth I will mastermind my own diary entries.
Meanwhile I have taken to compiling several lists. The first consists of organisations whose function would be unfeasible without my guidance (Rub and Buff for the Inexperienced – an ongoing series of workshops revolving around brass maintenance) and The League of Traditional Housewifery to name but two). A second inventory is devoted to institutions such as the Parish Council and Church. I have, for some years, provided each with a backbone in terms of well informed opinion and refreshments (though I will no longer waste imported Jasmine tea on individuals whose preference is rationed to powdered leaves confined within what I can only describe as flimsy packaging). Whilst yet another inventory contains those societies whose practical assistance is matched only by my determination to raise standards. Some improvements were recorded towards the end of last year. On one unannounced inspection of porches, for instance, I was pleased to witness the majority had recently been swept if not washed. A written reminder posted through a number of letterboxes prompted somewhat belated action in the remaining households.
After weighing up my commitments, however, I am currently nursing a dilemma. Although I had probed the notion of stepping down from one or two organisations, how could I possibly abandon my duties without stimulating an unnecessary plummeting of values? The core of village life cannot be abandoned. I will, therefore, retain all my committee roles, doubtless to the infinite gratification of the community.