I can hardly believe that this truly inspired series came out in 1969, that’s nearly 50 years ago. I remember watching it when I was in a particularly anarchistic stage in my life and for reasons that I still do not fully understand it made a deep impression on me. I remember every word, every picture, every nuance and every joke. The recall is for me in the same class as Basil and Manuel and Cy-bil in Fawlty Towers. Only 13 programs were ever made of the latter but I never tire of watching them. That was the golden age of the BBC when creativity was allowed to flow, before the age of micro management, consultants, bureaucracy and internal marketing.
Are they dated? Not in so far as they draw attention to our natures, our tendency to apologise, our occasional loss of temper, our desire to laugh at others. In a way, the Lumberjack Song is prescient on our attitudes today. How many people remember that this followed on from the famous Dead parrot sketch where the salesman did not want to be an animal salesman but a Lumberjack. I love the way that one sketch integrates with the rest in an unexpected way.
So, our grand gardening job came to an end. I wanted our customer to come along the lane with us and see our handiwork but she was unable to walk more than a few steps but we managed to get her to come up her garden path from the wonderful listed building that she occupies; she was suitably impressed and thankful. I budgeted 50 man-hours for the job and it turned out to be 51. I would love to include the time taken going to and from but for most people the job starts when you arrive.
This evening, I went to one of the most unpleasant and dis-harmonious committee meetings I have ever been to in my life, all the more so because it was supposed to be a Christian group. The chap who was running the group had more or less decided what he wanted to do and wanted us to rubberstamp it. When we refuse to do so, or queried him, he threw his toys out of the cot and said “okay, we won’t do the task then”. I roundly told him off, and said that he got angry too quickly, that he went on the defensive when he didn’t need to and I also said that if you want a corporation from people it was a much better ploy to ask them how they feel the group should go and then discuss various options rather than making plans unilaterally.
I told him point blank that he made me more and more angry and that he couldn’t listen to save his life. I then got up cringing grovelling response asking for a second chance and saying that he is on a learning curve. If a person of 50 years of age has to say that, I’m sorry, that’s unacceptable.
However, I will continue with this group because I enjoy the other men and their company. I offered to write articles for the local paper but my companionship with the so-called leader of the group or should I say dictator, is close to zero. I feel sorry for people who have to work for such people day in and day out. It must be a bit like being in prison. But at least I could get up and walk out. Anyway, I got a good lead from one of the other attendees to an excellent vicar who has just been inducted to local church in Paulton, so the evening was not wasted.
I shall now have a shower and get rid of the horrible vibe I had to put up with for two hours, and then watch a grisly programme on BBC2 about surgeons’ operations.