“That’s an interesting point, Steve,” I might once have said, “because we do need to drill down into the global footprint and get granular data on our diverse global reach. Let’s grab the low-hanging EMEA fruit today, and then schedule a universal deep-dive to be cascaded at next week’s town hall. Our steering group will socialise some documents; if we’re fully going to realise the paradigm shift I know we’re all aiming for — because we are all singing from the same hymn sheet — then we absolutely need to get our ducks in a row and leverage the high-net-worth individuals to ensure a greater share of wallet.”
That, that, believe it or not, was not an exceptional way to speak, or even a particularly unusual type of conversation that you would hear in most financial services organisations in London. Yes, readers, I too was a tosser.
Back in the day, an evening (without food) for 50 people in Canary Wharf would have a budget of about £5000, with the toughest decisions to be made on whether we should pay extra for bespoke table decorations that would match the theme of the evening. (The theme of the evening was normally “drinking, whilst patting ourselves on the back for being awesome”. The colour scheme for this, in case you’re wondering, was usually Smug Purple.)
Having moved on, fundamentally retired, and replaced Canary Wharf, business brunches, expense claims and corporate away-days with the PTA, I have been helping to plan the school fete.
The only ducks I have been getting in a row recently, have been of the hook-a-duck variety.
Yes, this weekend saw the school fete. Over the last three weeks I have had a ridiculous number of stress dreams involving meat thermometers, tombolas and risk assessments. It seems faintly ridiculous that having previously enjoyed a reasonably high-pressure, high-stress career, that I could be brought to my knees by the amount of fruit one needs to order to run successfully a Pimms tent. And don’t get me started on the inner workings of the popcorn machine. (It is a bastard. Let’s leave it there.)
I found myself engaging with a fellow PTA colleague by saying in the sort of genuinely exasperated tones previously reserved for end-of-year-bonus conversations: “Based on the available data regarding likely approximate footfall and cross-referencing it with weather predictions, and the likely alcohol consumption of Pimms, I simply cannot provide you with an accurate estimate for the number of cucumbers we need to order!”
I think she might think I’m a tosser too. And she has a valid point.
Still, the sun shone, cakes were eaten, ducks were hooked and the Pimms were drunken. The Pimms was drunken? Were drunk? Were drinked? I may have been spending too much time with my 5 year old. Last week I told my parents I “taked the girls to the park”. There is a reason I haven’t done much proofreading for the last couple of months. The fete was a lovely day and well worth all the hard work.
Even if my fridge is full of leftover cucumbers. I have found a use for at least one of them.
* Whilst we’re doing smug purple, could I please have an extra-purple sash for the “Fete Accompli” heading, of which I am unduly proud? I knew that French A-level would come in handy one day.