You remember Pollyanna, don’t you? First cousin to Anne of Green Gables? (I’ve already lost my male readers…come back, this won’t take long) Created in 1913 by Eleanor Porter, little Pollyanna, despite being orphaned, was relentlessly optimistic and invented the “glad game” where she looked for the positive in adversity. The stories may be dated and somewhat nauseating, but the principle’s not a bad one, and I like to look on the bright side wherever possible. But I feel the need to have a rant, and the first thing I want to rant about is responsibility – or rather, people not taking their responsibilities seriously. A charity with which I am closely acquainted recently lost two of its key trustees: the Chair and the Treasurer. There was nothing hot and heavy going on with the charity, it was doing pretty well despite these being challenging times, the trustees’ decisions were purely personal. They resigned giving no notice and no handover. There was no concern about who was going to take their places. Ok, they’re volunteers: that’s how UK charities work, a board of volunteers oversees the charities’ work, which can be a pretty tough job for someone not being paid. There’s a lot of responsibility. But shouldn’t there be some expectation of a managed exit? Paid staff have to give at least a month’s notice, usually more. Is it too much to ask that our trustees leave well and in a way that doesn’t cause problems for an organisation that, at some point, they’ve cared enough about to want to hold positions of responsibility?
And it’s happened with paid staff too: I’ve known people to go on holiday and simply not come back. No letter, no notice, not even a phone call, and perhaps most gallingly, no repayment of salary or holiday given in advance. Is this a sign of our times, just another aspect of the mentality that thinks it’s ok to drop chewing gum on newly laid pavements or throw empty fried chicken boxes in the road? That it’s someone else’s problem? Don’t get me onto that…because I’ll only start having a rant about noisy all-night-and-much-of-the-day parties that keep half the neighbourhood up for entire weekends. Maybe that’s a London thing. Maybe it’s time to move to a more refined area…all I know is that I’m personally keeping the earplug manufacturers in business right now.
I got a Facebook friend invitation from a one time friend’s dog. Yes, that’s right, her dog. Now, the dog looked cute and I was in a Pollyanna sort of mood, so I clicked “accept”. Besides, I was happy to be in touch with one time friend, even if indirectly via her dog. I’m now being inundated by “friend” requests from pooches of all shapes and sizes with names like Sammy the spaniel and Rosie the Rottweiler. No!! Dogs are for parks and romps in the country, and their particular approach to networking (noses up bums, pissing up trees, doing unmentionable things up women’s legs etc) is quite distinct from the kind of social networking humans do. At least I think so. Luckily one time friend and I are in direct communication, so I can ignore the doggy posts. I may even be cruel and grumpy enough to unfriend said canine. Do you think they’d notice?
All right, I’ll stop moaning. Something happened today that made me deeply glad. I could almost feel those Pollyanna plaits swinging down my back. This golden moment occurred at Euston station as I walked the length of the platform to the exit, having spent a day in Birmingham. There, on the side of the Virgin train – and a very comfortable train it was too – were the words: More trains, fewer cars, greener planet. My heart sang: somewhere there’s a copywriter who knows the difference between less and fewer. Virgin, I love you.
I will get even more cheerful and regain a kind of sweetness if anyone buys my novel, now published for Kindle owners. It’s called Charity Begins with Murder. So friends, Facebook buddies, Linked-In folk, and the Twitteratti, please “like” it, retweet, spread the word – only don’t bother to tell the dogs, I think they’ll be busy sniffing out their own social networks.