Today is Wednesday. A normal enough day. Simple. Midweek. Nothing major happening. Slightly sluggish, really. That’s how it starts when it’s about to fall apart.
There is nothing to match searching for insurance documents on an otherwise bland, empty day. The hunt was extensive. I tore the house apart. These are important documents, which explained both the financially-based panic attack and time-sensitive choking sensation, I experienced. They were, without doubt, somewhere in the house.
By nature, I am a highly organised person.
Last year, the Queen – gawd bless ‘er – turned ninety. In all fairness, I think we’re all rather fond of the Queen at the Legion and so we decided, as a Club, to have a series of events to mark this big birthday. Pretty much, everyone else in the country did likewise.
Locally, we have a band who play at various pubs and clubs. They have used our hall as a practise room, and have done a few gigs for us in the past. There are nine members of the band: two vocalists, a keyboard player, drummer, bass player, guitarist, two saxophonists and a trumpet player. Very popular in the area, they’re ear-splittingly loud, and take up about a third of the main hall just among themselves. Throw in some forty-somethings, liquored up and pogo-ing, and they make for a hell of a night. I booked them for the Queen’s official birthday in June, around Christmas of the year before.
Frankly, I just barely got them, and took the first date they could find for me in June. I think I’m right in saying it was their last available date for the year; only freed up by a cancellation. Long engagements often end in band-cancellations, I’m told.
It worked out that I would have the band a week earlier than the official date, which meant… a week of events to be organised by yours truly to stretch the birthday for all it was worth. It was my idea. All I can think is, I’d lost my mind.
For us, the celebrations for the Queen’s Official Birthday, started on 4th June, with the band night. As far as I recall, I was on the bar. I was certainly on the booze. Having torn something in my back in the months running up the Queen’s birthday, I was self-anaethetising. If it needs saying, this is not recommended. However, the band brought their A-game of Motown classics, northern soul and Bruno Mars. The walls were sweating, it was a great night.
The Monday fell on 6th June. It has become the tradition that we show a D-Day film on, or as near as possible to its anniversary, 6th June. However, I felt compelled to show a film about the Queen as well. So we had our first double bill. By this point, my back was screaming like a half-dead man. Movie Night consisted of ‘Overlord’ followed by ‘A Queen is Crowned’, the coronation film narrated by Lord Olivier. Beautiful. Timeless. Achey.
Tuesday and Wednesday were, quite honestly, their own affair. I was shattered. However, on the Thursday we had a Queen’s Quiz. Several groups showed up and I fired questions at them like a semi-demented Anne Robinson. I also lost track of who won the quiz, but thankfully had spent all my nectar points on multiple boxes of chocolates, so every team went away happy, and closing in on diabetic coma.
When Saturday came, so too came the Street Party. It was confined to the car park, but Car Park Party sounded a bit grotty. Over the weeks running up to the Street Party, I’d ironed a hundred t-shirts. I hate ironing. I use the word advisedly, I may dislike many things, but I rarely hate anything. I hate ironing. I have more talent for grinding the creases in than removing them.
Having spent a small fortune on printer ink, transfer paper and plain white t-shirts, it was with some defiance that I took up the iron and printed images of a cardboard cutout of her Majesty stood at the bar in the Legion onto one hundred t-shirts. I think we sold seven. I’m just going to take a moment for that thought to settle.
I baked a dozen sponge cakes in the early hours of the morning, made several jars of jam, and collected a couple of dozen raffle prizes from local businesses. It wasn’t all me, of course. A lot of it was. I must have started looking a bit frazzled some time in March because a friend of mine volunteered to arrange the hog roast for me. About two weeks before the event, he told me he hadn’t been able to get hold of a company he’d used before, and so he hadn’t booked the hog roast.
I had two dozen posters stapled around the village, an ad in the paper, plus my own motormouth, which is legendary.
Everybody knew we were having a hog roast. I don’t think it was the t-shirts that pulled people in; it was the hog roast. Fuming and somewhat trembly, I rang around a couple of places I had heard of, and had one booked within the day. I’ll concede, it was a little overpriced but at that stage, I wasn’t on firm enough ground and didn’t have a cushion of time in which to negotiate.
The day went off without a hitch. The weather kept dry, for the most part. The photographer from the newspaper turned up early, but had us all stand close together, so it looked busier than it was. No-one got food poisoning. And the musical act I had booked did pretty well; not brilliantly but not bad. One of our members had been a big fan of theirs, asked me to book them, which I did, and then he promptly died. I asked the band to dedicate a song to him. It seemed appropriate. They were very understanding and nodded solemnly. This was when they went from pretty good to appalling. They picked a song, started the dedication over the PA, said he was a good friend to all of us, and to the band themselves, and then they called him by the wrong name.
But this is what I mean. I’m very highly organised. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a neat person. It’s just that if I have a stack of papers, I know exactly where my gas bill is.
It took three hours of decluttering and house-shredding. I found it.
*glug of cold coffee*