I left my house bundled up in 2 jumpers, my windproof long length Salt Rock coat and the cream knitted scarf with pompoms on the end given to me by SD's Mum last Christmas.
Its been pretty mild for November in these parts but my destination was the hell hole of Antarctica aka the Pavilion in the park where we hold our VPAG (Victoria Park Action Group) monthly meetings.
I hesitated as I passed the door of our noble secretary and decided against calling in to pick him up on my way past thus saving myself the unnecessary wait while he invariably ran from room to room picking up piles of papers whilst talking to himself and then began the endless hunt for his keys, glasses and phone as I waited in the cold on the doorstep.
I DID call in to our esteemed leader as I passed by HIS door but was greeted by silence as he had clearly already left.
As I rounded the corner to the road that leads to the park I caught sight of a small figure scuttling along the pavement in front of me.
I hung back slightly. Politeness indicated that I should catch up with Sue but then, I was about to be locked in the same room as her for the next couple of hours so I decided to give myself a reprieve.
For someone who's legs moved so fast she seemed to navigate the lime tree lined path incredibly slowly and I kept gaining on her despite my slow pace and then had to stop and hide in the shadows praying that she wouldn't turn around and catch me skulking.
Fortunately there was no one around to see me acting so suspiciously and I could keep an eye on her to make sure no ne'er-do-well jumped out of the bushes to snatch the bulging plastic bag clutched to her chest or try to swipe the half a Rothmans hanging from her lip.
As I rounded the corner to the Pavilion there was a loud buzzing sound and the lamp post that lit my way flickered and died leaving me with just the light from the full moon and the shadow of the clouds that scudded across it.
Fortunately the light spilled from the open door of the Pavilion and I hurried inside.
Already in attendance was Sue, our esteemed leader, Baarb (or Bob if you don't speak Zomerzet), Colin and Mike. Of our noble secretary there was no sight despite the fact that the agenda he had pushed through my door earlier that day clearly stating that the meeting was due to start at 2pm on Wednesday October 21st and the rest of us had managed to be there at 7pm on Wednesday 25th November.
Baarb shook a half filled carton of milk in my direction indicating that it was yet again MY job to make the tea - 'and no half cups this time - last time I needed a ladder to reach mine!'.
I put the kettle on and did not for one moment contemplate spitting in his cup (the ungrateful git) and listened to the chatter.
'Poor show at Bingo last week' observed Colin giving me an accusing look.
'Sorry, sorry' I said AGAIN! 'Slight family crisis'. Colin continued to look at me sideways as I filled the teapot.
'Joy wasn't well you know (as though that was MY fault) - sat there farting like a goodun AND she was running 2 sets of books because Simon had to do the calling (as though that TOO was MY fault). 'Took herself off to the Refs room in the end and was gone for half a game - thought she'd locked herself in like Dee did last time but I didn't want to miss my chance of a chicken dinner by checking on her'.
'Sorry' I said again although I wasn't really sure what for this time.
'He rang me you know' said Baarb nodding his head towards our esteemed leader.
'When' I asked, slightly confused by this information.
'At the Bingo. I was sitting right here and he was just over there (pointing to a chair a couple of feet away) and he rang me'.
'Oh' I replied thinking that somehow maybe he had missed Baarb and his giant beard sitting on a chair at the table next to him.
'Wanted to hear my ring tone he did!'
At this point our noble secretary arrived in his usual whirl which makes him appear to have more than the average number of arms and legs.
'Sorry, sorry, sorry, late, keys, bloody dog in the bin, sandwich'.
And we all sat down.
'Ring it again' said Bob, 'go on, ring it! - Sarah wants to hear it!'
I bloody DON'T I thought but our esteemed leader fumbled for his phone.
Parp, parp - parp parp.
Sue disappeared under the table.
'Ring mine, ring mine!' shouted our esteemed leader - 'Sarah wants to hear MINE too!'
Seriously, I DON'T.
As Rod Stuarts 'I'm too sexy' blasted out Sue reappeared looking slightly flustered.
'We have snails' she said in a voice of doom holding aloft a guilty looking gastropod.
Our noble secretary shuffled papers aimlessly glancing around trying to regain order.
'Minutes of the last meeting' he said and began to read them. After a confusing few minutes it was clear that he was in fact reading the minutes of a meeting we had back in May this year.
'Sorry, sorry' he said. 'I've got the right ones here somewhere ....'
'No, no, no, no (he said sounding yet again like Jim Trott from the Vicar of Dibley) Ahh, YES - here they are!' As he triumphantly waved them aloft several loose bits of paper wafted down no doubt to be eaten by hungry snails at a later date.
The minutes were duly read and the confusion over the Wilfred road bat shelter demo was cleared up and the meeting progressed on to point 6 of the agenda.
'Any chance we could start with point 3 - the one that comes after point one, the welcome and apologies and point two, minutes of the last meeting and matters arising?' I enquired without any real hope.
'No, no, no, no, no, YES!!! Sorry, sorry, sorry said our noble secretary.
'Point 3!' We briefly discussed the first bullet point of point three and then neatly skipped over the remaining four points as though they didn't exist and went straight onto point four of the agenda.
I bloody HATE coffee mornings! I spend half a morning baking for them. Turn up at the proposed time and the only other people that turn up are other committee members and people who wander past and want to use our loo (those that don't know about the dodgy lock and the fact that Joy spent a considerable amount of time in there at the Bingo anyway). We all end up making a donation to whatever cause we are trying to raise money for ourselves and then spend half an hour at the next meeting debating why no one else turned up.
For the record - I KNOW WHY THEY DON'T TURN UP!!
It's bloody freezing in our Pavilion, they only get half a cup of tea and most people have no interest at all in getting to know their neighbours better and even the lure of a slice of my homemade Victoria sandwich is NOT going to entice them in.
'Repairing the toads' announced our noble secretary seamlessly moving onto the next point.
Slamming both hands down onto the table and causing Mike who had harmlessly been sitting back in his chair to throw the rest of his half cup of teas over his face Sue shouted:
'I WON'T have it, I just won't HAVE IT!!!'
'You must return that pebble to Ladram Bay FORTHWITH!!' (as though she expected him to leap to his feet, slap his forehead and agreed that he must indeed jump straight into his car and return the stolen pebble to the south west coast without delay)
With that she banged on the table again for emphasis causing poor Mike who was thoroughly discombobulated at this point to drop his cup on the floor where upon Baarb, our esteemed leader and I as one dived under the table to retrieve it and to give each other knowing looks and slight shakes of the head as we all KNOW what happened to the pebble and have sworn each other to secrecy!
Now I think this post is getting to be almost as long as that interminable meeting itself so I think I'll post part II with more on the toads, the dragon grant and Joseph and the zip wire tomorrow.
Stay tuned ...