My First Foray into Fundraising was positively swan-like

I’d actually hate to be a swan; they spend most of their time in freezing cold water, eat lake debris and have a tendency to break people’s arms (allegedly…), they’re also not very friendly and have to make one mate last a lifetime. Nah, the life of a swan is not for me, however, impersonating one for the evening worked just fine last Friday….

The back story: I’ve agreed to help 3 friends fund raise £15,000 for RP Fighting Blindness and in doing so, we shall mount Mont Blanc. I’ve never done any kind of fundraising before and am officially rubbish at asking people for money or accepting favours but I can climb mountains, and I can impersonate a swan…

Our first fundraiser took place last Friday; it was at my house. My house isn’t tiny but it isn’t huge either. My house is also part way through having a new kitchen fitted, but that was OK, as all the important bits were in, just a few cupboard doors missing. My dog quite likes the fact there are two doors missing; it means he can have easy access to a glut of Tupperware (other plastic containers are available) and boy does he use the door-less cupboards to his plastic-chewing advantage! Cue frenetic email to kitchen fitters, explaining my first-world, middle-class problem of “my Weimeraner is destroying my Tupperware collection; please send reinforcement door fronts forthwith! Fortunately, my plea was met with sympathy and I was informed a fitter had been dispatched and would be with me on Saturday morning. Oh well, everyone who was coming to the fundraising event would be able to see inside my cupboards, but that’s OK, I’m not ashamed of my Tupperware (and other plastics) collection.

Fast forward to Friday evening, stall-holders are arriving, friends are dropping in their donations of freshly baked mince pies, my dad is sitting in the kitchen, eyeing up, salivating slightly over aforementioned freshly-baked mince pies while my mum watches on, “Alan, no!”…his shoulders slump, he retreats, then gradually inches forward again…”Alan…” “Oh, for goodness sake, just put some money in the pot dad and eat a bloody mince pie and be done with it!” Leaving my parents to #mincepiegate I continue to generally faff with fairy lights, while still in my running kit from the morning’s session. I’m not panicking too much as I still have a couple of hours to have a shower and generally titivate and I am fairly low maintenance, so 20 mins should do it.

Door bell goes, another stall holder perhaps? Someone else with some mince pie donations? One of the other volunteers? Erm, no, that’ll be the kitchen fitter man who thought he’d ‘pop in on his way home to finish the job rather than disrupt my Saturday’…GREAT! “Come on in!” I cry, “don’t mind us, we’re just trying to organise a Christmas mini market where 70 people are expected to turn up…ANY MINUTE NOW!” (isn’t what I said…oh no, that would be way too confrontational and after all, he had come on Friday night to help me…without telling me!!”

Joinery and carpentry tools all over the kitchen floor…

“Oh, hello lovely daughter (just back from uni for the first time in 7 weeks), you look gorgeous; I’m so sorry I can’t come to your awards ceremony this evening at school, yes, I know, I double booked AGAIN…a bit like the time your GCSE results came out and I was on a plane on the way to Italy, but heh, you’ve had me as your mother for 18 years now, so this kind of shit parenting can not come as much of a surprise to you…” (secretly hopes she doesn’t actually win any awards as that would make be a doubly shit mother)

“Oh hello lovely daughter (just back from awards ceremony that I’d known about for AGES!)  what’s that in your hand? a certificate? Oh, no, it’s TWO effin certificates, one for being Bloody Awesome at Psychology and the other for just being Bloody Awesome (Head Teacher’s Award)…oh, and what’s that? Another certificate? For me? ‘Shit mum of the year award!’….it’s a fair cop!

“Oh hello, stall holder, you haven’t got a table to display your wares? Of course that’s no problem, let me rummage around in my garage and see what I can conjure up! Follow me (just step over the kitchen fitter and don’t mind the sobbing child in the corner!) Aha, there’s that pasting table we never use, the one I’ve been meaning to take to the tip…we’ll use that!

“Arghhhh!! Will someone help me, quickly! I mean like, RIGHT NOW!, this table’s about to collapse with the WHOLE of Christmas on top of it…there’s something wrong with the leg….” Ah, now I remember why it was tip-bound…

“Hello gorgeous daughter again, where’s your dad, I thought he was with you”,

” Yes Mum, he was, but he hadn’t had any dinner, so he’s sitting in his car on the drive eating his fish and chips out of the paper”

“What? with his fingers?? Take him a knife and fork forthwith”….

“No Mr Kitchen Fitter, I DO NOT KNOW WHERE THE SODDING HANDLES FOR THE DOORS ARE” Cue 15 minutes with Mr Kitchen Fitter in my garage (with my socks on, me that is, not him) ‘pretending’ to look for cupboard door handles that I KNOW FOR CERTAIN AREN’T THERE!!

“Good bye Mr Kitchen Fitter, thank you for attaching the doors, which have no handles, so I NOW CAN’T BLOODY OPEN THEM!”

“Ah, hello lovely stall holder, whose name I’ve completely forgotten even though I see you everyday in town and please don’t judge me for still being in my Active Leisure Wear with just 25 minutes to go!”

“There’s only one bulb working in that light you say? Was subdued lighting not the look you were going for? Oh, you’d like for people to actually see what you’re selling?” Cue frantic looking for spare bulbs, back in the garage, in my socks…fortunately, I know where not to look as Mr Kitchen Fitter has had me ‘pretend looking’ through most of the boxes for the non-existent door handles earlier!

“Hurrah, here they are, I’ll pop one in now!” Drags chair into study, mounts chair, drops bulb, smashes into a zillion pieces, finds dustpan and brush, sweeps up, hands new light bulb to stall holder, “Here, you have a go, I need to get changed!”

“What’s that noise???” swiftly runs to where noise came from “No darling son, that pile of coats on the stairs is not a slide for you and your friends….”

“Oh, hello husband darling, the sink’s over there if you need to wash the fish and chip grease off your hands…and if you’re heading upstairs, then you might need some clamp-ons to negotiate the coat mountain”

“Oh bugger, 3 minutes until everyone arrives and I’m still in full active leisure wear ensemble” Cue speed- changing and liberal application of deoderant.

Fast-forward 2 hours….

“You’re most welcome, I’m so glad you enjoyed the evening, mwah, mwah, and thank you so much for coming and helping us raise £1500!!!! for RP Fighting Blindness. Oh, the handle-less cupboards? They’re all the rage!!”



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