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A Day in the Life…

Dear Friends,

One day in the life of the organiser. Tuesday 14th June.
Leave Waterperry Estate at 5.30 wondering how Ilir, the gardens handyman, is getting on in Albania after having to go suddenly to sort out a family emergency.
Nearly hit a muntjac deer which explodes out of the hedgerow in typical ungainly style.
Concentrate on driving.
Arrive at the Art in Action offices in London, Northend Road already busy with the market barrows.
Unlock the doors and find two very bright gentlemen from the School of Economic Science in one of the studios studying ancient Sanskrit texts!
Meditate.
Wake up.
Make tea.
Answer string of emails until Patricia, the office manager turns up early, having been swimming. We sort out a volunteer notice.
The rest of the team arrive all cheerful. Dominic, Lauren and Seren.
I’m in the office today to go through the final programme copy with Nick Downs, our programme guru. It’s all been proof-read and there are lots of itty-bitty corrections to do.
Nick turns up and we go through everything pains-takingly.
We drink tea and coffee, eat biscuits and McDonalds (don’t tell) and go through the magnificent array of talent coming to this years Art in Action.
We re-jig the daily programme to allow for swapping Flamenco dancing for Sitar playing, we discover that storyteller Lucy Gill is called Lucy Lill and the ripple effect is enormous!
Little typos make us giggle like schoolboys.
Volunteers arrive and go through files and send out posters and leaflets. They are brilliant.
Sometime in the middle of the afternoon a young lady comes into the office and hands Dominic an envelope saying that she wants to give a donation to Art in Action.
She leaves no details and just says that she wants to thank us for supporting the arts. I open the envelope after she leaves. £300!
I pretend I have something in my eye.
We crash on with the programme. We have left the biggest problem ’til last: International Arts!
Visas have been refused at the last minute and new invitees have not yet sent in their programme copy.
We ruthlessly edit Chinese copy, crop some Russian pictures and enlarge Polish photos.
I decide I’m not happy with the back cover and the long suffering Nick patiently rebuilds it from scratch, gold badge and all.
We do all we can but leave with the new map not fitting. Peter, the site architect, promises it, by text from a meeting, in the morning.
Arrive back at Waterperry at dusk. The estate is beautiful.
The grass has got too long and there is lots of strimming to do before the teams start laying out for the tents on the weekend.
Another tree, a poplar, has come down in the garden and needs clearing.
We’ve got a play in the amphitheatre on Friday. I wonder what we need to do about electrics for that?
Eat cereal.
Sleep.
I love my job.

Simon Buchanan
Organiser