Due entirely to family planning failures on my part, I am going to attend 17 school May Fairs before I’m done. Nine down, eight to go.
Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge supporter of the Parent Council that runs these things, and I know the money they raise makes a big difference to the already excellent things the school and the teachers can do.
I also know the Parent Council volunteers work very hard giving lots of time and energy to the role.
There’s always a but, isn’t there?
Amid the really nice – I wouldn’t mind winning that, in fact, I’d even pay money for it – tombola prizes are the others. The ones which, when you look more closely, are vaguely familiar.
I’m talking about gift sets of candles, gift sets of cosmetics from brands you haven’t heard of, gift sets of table linen, gift sets of golf tees, and so on.
(Questions the meaning of ‘gift set’ doesn’t it?)
They have the look of something that has languished in the back of the emergency gifts cupboard since they came home after the last tombola. Many even have tell-tale sticky marks left by the previously taped-on raffle ticket. Or maybe that was just the items that came from this house…
No? You too.
How many of us have cupboards full of stuff that, almost certainly, will never get used and simply exists so that when our offspring says “mum I need to take something to school for the tombola today” you’ve got something to hand over?
I confess I do like the cheery little lift I get when Boy Two heads off to school with a bulging bag leaving me with a tidy empty space in my cluttered home, however, that’s what makes the resultant mini-gloom of stuffing this year’s spoils into the cupboard all the more depressing.
What is the point? All right. Clearly, the point is we raise money for the school and I don’t have a problem with that at all, but perhaps it’s time for a re-think on the gift donation front.
Maybe we can have a charity shop collection point at the next May Fair so we can drop off the stuff that won’t be used. After all, whose feelings are you going to hurt? Or perhaps you pay double for another go allowing you to leave the thing you didn’t want and try again for the Clarins gift set or the nice-looking Sauvignon.
Surely we can do something a bit less annoying than using it as an occasion to simply circulate unwanted items around the village from one dusty cupboard to another.
This is not, by the way, a very convoluted way of volunteering for the Parent Council (I’m much to contrary for that), but I am available for consultation. After all, over 17 years I would be very much cheered if there was some form of evolution.
PS The photo is of the raffle (distinct from the tombola) which I manned for a while on Saturday. Here I report excellent evolution. Instead of buying tickets for every prize and running the risk of wining a signed football shirt (I have enough soiled sporting attire without pretending the acquisition of more is a good thing) you opt only to enter the raffle for the good stuff – hair cuts, meals out, booze, cleaning firm vouchers. This is marvellous progress.