...the goose is getting fat.I know Christmas is coming because of two events that took place yesterday. I managed not to fume at all in the lead-in to the first of the two, the pre-Christmas party organised by Brighton Lions Club for elderly people in the city. We had at first attempted to invite 60 people in total and had arranged the sole use of the bar area in one of the fairly posh hotels on Brighton sea front. Here, our guests would be entertained by a professional who plays the keyboard, sings and tells jokes. Then tea would be served. All our guests would be collected from their homes and returned after the party.
Please to put a penny in an old man's hat.
If you haven't got a penny, a ha'penny will do.
If you haven't got a ha'penny, God bless you.
We eventually had 49 acceptances from pensioners and, where necessary, their carers so we arranged with the hotel that they would cater for 55 people - a few extra just in case, and anyway, that would leave a little something for the Lions who were there. Meanwhile, one of our number had bought 60 boxes of chocolates and a pile of Christmas wrapping paper and he and his wife had wrapped each box very nicely. All seemed to be arranged, even the taxi to collect one person in a wheelchair and her carer as we could not figure out a reasonable way of getting them onto a bus without an unduly long journey. It was while we were collecting our guests that it all started to fall apart.
It was arranged that a Lion would travel on each bus to greet our guests and to assist as necessary. Other Lions woukld be at the hotel. I was on one of the buses, having been told only at the last minute that two of my passengers would not be coming. I wasn't told why. Anyway, we arrived at one block of flats - sheltered accommodation - where we had seven to collect. Only two were coming. Granted, one was ill, but one, I was told, "had to go somewhere else". Another had her granddaughter coming. As for the rest, goodness knows. I managed to smile sweetly and assured the passengers we had collected that they were very welcome.
Lions on the other buses had similar experiences and we ended up with, I think, between 36 and 40 guests and carers. So we paid an entertainer, provided the buses (at a cost), arranged (and paid) for the hotel to provide food and drink, bought presents - and people had the appalling manners just to change their minds about coming. And these are members of the oldr generation who complain about lack of respect and ill manners in the young!
Having said that, those who were there enjoyed themselves, there was no room for any more and nearly all the food was eaten. The presents left over will be used on Christmas Day when we visit the lonely. All in all, it can be described as a success.
There were slight problems afterwards which resulted in me not getting home until 7.15 - the time I was supposed to be leaving again. But my meal was being kept warm for me and I ate both courses, changed, and was back out of the door in twenty minutes. The Old Bat and I were due at friends for their annual evening of Christmas, as they call it. Mrs Chris plays the piano, a friend is an oboist and guitarist and another friend plays the cello. Along with 30 or so others, we spend the evening singing Christmas songs and carols, drinking mulled wine and eating all sorts of delicacies provided by the guests. We have only missed one of these evenings in the 16 years our friends have organised them and it is this evening that really tells me Christmas is coming.
By the time we got home just before midnight I knew I had had a long day as I had originally left home at 12.30.
There is a seat o the southern rampart of the Roman Camp which is a good place to sit and admire the view on a summer day.