Neither a lender or a borrower be

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Saturday 22 October 1664

… At noon comes my uncle Thomas and his daughter Mary about getting me to pay them the 30l. due now, but payable in law to her husband. I did give them the best answer I could, and so parted, they not desiring to stay to dinner

This reminds me of the importance of clarity with any form of financial transaction, business or private, especially the latter. I would say never lend money to friends because the status changes from a friend to a debtor. It does change the vibes, bringing a certain awkwardness even when the money is repaid. There is a good argument for putting things in writing in any event as some people are forgetful, or choose to forget.

When asked for a loan you might do your friend a favour by helping them to find out why they need a loan in the first place. The excuse will be plausible and fanciful ‘just for a couple days’, or ‘until I get paid’. These are not to be relied on.  It could be bad money management or bad decisions.  In that case the problem will re-occur and they will be unable to pay what they owe you.

There are excellent debt counseling services in the UK. Sadly, there have to be. You could start by suggesting the Citizens Advice Bureau who by the way deal with 3,846 new debt problems every day. What is unfortunate is that allowances for unemployed people are sent directly to them, leaving them to pay the rent. The temptation to buy that big screen TV is sometimes too much to resist. The average debt per adult in the UK is £30,012 and that’s without mortgage. Bearing this in mind you may find that giving a loan to your friend does not address the problem and just delays the day when they have to face reality. I support Christians Against Poverty which addresses people’s emotional difficulties as well as their financial situation.

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If I may be permitted to pass on a few observations about preparing for a meeting. Assuming that the room is booked, I want to talk about content. I run through the meeting in my head and figure out all the papers that might be required. Most important, I finish all my preparations a few hours before the event including things that will ‘just take a few moments’. One time I wanted to print off the agenda and the computer chose that very moment to freeze meaning that I had to recreate my document (No, it did not save it in full).  Since I had plenty of time in hand, this could be accommodated in a fairly calm state of mind. If I am using PowerPoint or any electronic apparatus I always check it, not relying on the argument that it worked well three months ago when last used. I always arrive well before the event and delegate small jobs so that I can pay full attention to the guests as they dribble in, then come in a rush at five minutes to the event start. I always start on time. Those who are late will catch up from the others.

I have reminded everyone twice of the AGM by E-mail and a MailChimp bulletin. It is bad to overdo it otherwise irritation is caused.  Last year we had 18 plot holders out of 64 allotments. I hope we will do better this time though it must be said that last time was useful. I try to create – even before the day itself – a positive and pleasant atmosphere of expectation.
Asking people if they wish to serve on a committee is a bit like asking someone if they want a parking ticket but that is partly what AGM’s are all about. There are three of us at the moment which is below the safety limit as in the case of one person falling ill or dropping out for personal reasons.

people are happy to chat after the formal meeting if they had a good time.

<after the meeting> the key thing is to work together with people and see  others as making a contribution even though they may be critical. We had about 30 people – double of last year – and maintained a jolly atmosphere throughout. Ending with wine and cheese, what could be better than an AGM designed not to be like one. We actually got two volunteers for the committee! That’s a turn up for the books.  One of the measures of a good meeting is how long people remain behind afterwards to chat. We had one hour of meeting and one hour of chat. Not bad.

I cannot think of anything profound to say so maybe watch some trash TV and then to bed.

Night night

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