roll up screenWe got into the tent on Thursday, before almost everyone, and had a choice of where we would have our stall. We chose to have it by the main entrance: the first thing you would see would be us. We had thousands of leaflets in lots of boxes, far more than we could possibly need, which filled all the space below the table and were heavy to shift. At the end, we took most of them back.

We had two roll-up screens, like the one illustrated, about 7′ high. We put them up, to see what they would look like and get an idea of where to place them. At that moment, a freak gust of wind blew in, blowing them over, twisting the bases and bending the feet. They still work but don’t look as good.

I said this to Andrew, whose instant response was “Why were they erected?” Well, for good reason which you insult me by doubting. I don’t answer to you. “To see what they looked like and where they should go,” I said.

I awoke at 5am, and this became intensely important to me. We must move the stand, or the wind could be a constant problem. I needed to agree this with the organisers, then I needed help to shift all those boxes. I could not bear to speak to Andrew about this, either to get him to see that it was necessary and possible- he would not trust my judgment, and would question pointlessly. I spoke to Jess, and we had a few people shifting the stuff later that morning.

I had not known it was a freak gust of wind at the time, but there was no wind remotely like it, at the entrance or at the back where we ended up- by the open fire exit.

It did mean that I often took a short-cut marked “authorised persons only”. I do so love being an “authorised person”!

So much Wangst, resulting in faffing! Everything would have been fine without all the worry and Action.

Andrew had produced information packs for all our volunteers including a rubber wristband inscribed “Live adventurously”. (This is the best slogan from Advices and Queries: A simple lifestyle freely chosen is a source of strength is equally Wise, but less memorable.) His screed began, “After you’ve attached your wristband please take a moment to read the following information”. My instant response was, I’m not wearing that! I am quite happy to wear it until I am instructed to. DON’T FUCKING TELL ME WHAT TO DO!! The same envelope held an A5 sheet of “Conversation hints”, including that one might ask, “What’s your name?” or “Where are you from?” DON’T FUCKING PATRONISE ME!! I was particularly irritated that he should produce these without consulting us: we were organising our volunteers, after all. Our response was to bury the information packs below other useless, heavy stuff. I brought one home, so I could quote it in complaints to you. He included the false information that we could shower daily without queueing, whereas the queues were up to 90 minutes.

It was alright in the end. Most of the worry had no effect whatsoever apart from increasing the work. This may be a useful lesson.

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