George and Mavis were
updating the whiteboard on which room bookings
for the community centre were listed. The vast
array of clubs, societies and other activities
displayed upon it was a testimony to the vibrancy
of village life. There was something for every
From now on, we
cant have the cake making class at the same
time as the Slimming World meeting,
concluded Mavis. The smell of baking drifts
from the kitchen into the hall where the simmers
meet. Last week, one slimmer couldnt take
it any more. She ran out of the meeting and,
before anyone could stop her, shed eaten an
entire chocolate gateaux that had been left to
realise how difficult it is to schedule all these
activities, responded George. I
didnt think thered be a problem in
having that wine tasting in the main hall while
Alcoholics Anonymous met in the meeting room.
unfortunate, agreed Mavis. We lost a
regular booking there, after everyone in the
meeting room moved to the main hall, finished off
the wine and voted to disband the AA group.
It was a great party,
though, recalled George.
Mavis relocated the
slimming group to follow Tai Chi on Monday.
Which other activities have we got to fit
into the programme, next week? she asked.
George looked through the
pile of booking requests. Theres the
Carnivorous Reptile Health Clinic, he
They could use the
meeting room on Tuesday at 2.00 pm, said
Mavis. Opps, no they cant, she
corrected herself on further inspection of the
whiteboard. The childrens Hamster,
Gerbil and Guinea pig Show is on in the main hall
at that time. Better to be safe than sorry.
remembered George, thats why we didn't
book the Cat Protection Leagues grooming
demonstrations into the meeting room, then.
I moved the cats'
session to be at the same time as the UROC,
whatever that is, confirmed Mavis.
I think it stands for
Untrained Rottweiler Obedience Class,
Mavis, reaching for the whiteboard eraser.
Whats Yew? she
asked, noting the word in the Wednesday 5.00 pm
Woodland Trust, said George.
Theyre having a talk on the yew tree.
Amateur Dramatic Society rehearsing the pantomime
on Wednesday? asked Mavis.
Yes, we must write
that on the whiteboard, recalled George,
but thats at 3.00 pm, so its
Oh no it isnt,
asserted Mavis, remembering that pantomime
rehearsals were always in the evening.
Oh yes it is,
countered George. Theyve got an early
rehearsal next week.
The Savings and
Investments Group want to meet on Thursday
morning, said George, reading their booking
request. That doesnt clash with the
Anti-capitalist Protest Group again, does it?
dont meet here any more since that dispute
about room hire charges, said Mavis.
They said we were agents of a corrupt and
oppressive economic system, and that they were
victims of the iniquitous, structural
inequalities of our fiscal policies.
What was that about?
They objected to
being charged £6.00 an hour, clarified
Mavis, when the Housebound Pensioners
Luncheon Club only pays £5.50.
George and Mavis continued
to fill gaps on the whiteboard.
Just two slots left
next week, both at 10.00 am on Saturday,
observed George, finally, and, by
coincidence, there are exactly two booking
Mavis stood next to the
whiteboard, pen poised over the remaining vacant
slots. Who are those for? she asked.
Evangelical, Fundamentalist, Creationist Group
and . . . George picked up the final form,
the Richard Dawkins Appreciation Society.
George and Mavis looked at
each other and sighed.
Its taken two
hours to schedule all these activities to avoid
conflicts, said Mavis. Im not
altering it all. Its like a rubix cube, if
we change one booking, well have to change
all the rest to make it work again.
Well just have
to leave those last two bookings at the same time,
Mavis stepped back and
surveyed the whiteboard. Itll be OK,
she said, thoughtfully. If the worst comes
to the worst, the booking afterwards is a Red
Cross first aid refresher, and the one after that
is the Furniture Restoration Group.