The third of our post-apocalyptic AGMs took place as planned last Saturday. And what an AGM it turned out to be...
(Incidentally, a number of intrepid - not to say foolhardy - folk have dared to raise their heads above the parapet to point out to me that AGMs, by definition, should occur only once a year. I am not stupid enough not to see that a case can, indeed, be made for such a thing. AGM is, after all, an abbreviated form of Annual General Meeting and built-in to that phrase is the word Annual which, I have been led to understand, means 'once a year'.
But it’s not quite as simple as that, is it? Regular truckshunters will be aware that one of the many bees buzzing around in my bonnet (not that I’ve worn any such thing for many years) is the malleable and ductile qualities of the English language; sometimes these are manifest in the way it is pronounced (woe/shoe; limb/climb; go/do) and sometimes in the way that some words change their meaning over time, almost by popular demand. Thus decimate originally meant 'to reduce BY a tenth' and not 'TO a tenth'; silly once meant 'blessed by God'; and a deer was once any animal at all and not just a deer.
In the same way, I believe that it’s time for abbreviations to join the huge throng of unpredictabilities that bedevil our native tongue and make it so damnably difficult for Johnny Foreigner to learn. After all, if DVD can be a pure invention and not mean anything at all, if the S of Harry S Truman can stand for absolutely nothing - then the meaning of AGM can be altered at the whim of whoever happens to be using it. In this case, me.
Thus, from now on, AGMs can take place as often as the people involved in them want them to.
End of story...
Now where was i?)
Saturday was, of course, the first day of Spring and Mother Nature was benevolent enough to give us a really lovely day to mark it with. When I arrived in Sunderland the sun was shining, it was pleasantly warm and there was a spring (if you pardon the pun) in my step. Yes, even in Sunderland.
I got my coffee in the Winter Gardens cafe, went out onto the south-facing terrace and took out my paper in the half-expectation that no truckshunters would bother to turn up.
How could I have been so wrong? Hildie turned up. And Vivienne. And...
J Arthur Smallpiece turned up too.
Yes, I know. J Arthur Smallpiece.
He actually turned up on Saturday afternoon in Sunderland. He really exists. He was not, after all, a figment of our collective imagination. No-one who lives in Jesmond and has a dog called Polly can be entirely imaginary. And the mystery man who sent me those astonishingly literate and complex poems which so often reduced me to tears of laughter finally revealed himself and, in so doing, put me out of my misery. Because, joking apart, one of my biggest regrets on the day I left the BBC in January was that I would never find out who J Arthur Smallpiece was.
Well now I know. And so do you; that’s him up there.
Hello Gerry and welcome to the truckshunter fold.
Like I said before, it turned out to be quite an afternoon. I don’t think either Hildie or Vivienne or I have got over the revelation yet!
It’s inspired us, though, to make the next AGM even specialler. It’s going to take place at 1100 on Wednesday 22 April at Birkheads Nursery and Secret Garden, which is near Sunniside and the Tanfield Railway.
More about that nearer the time. For the present, put it in your diary and try very hard to make arrangements to be there!!!
Incidentally, the monument that Vivienne and Hildie are standing next to is the memorial to the Victoria Hall 'Calamity' (as the inscription calls it) which took place nearby in June 1883 and in which 183 children died. We've mentioned it on The Nightshift, and on the Blue Bus programme before it - many times.
Speaking of the vagaries of the English language...I got involved in another of my infernal arguments the other day and have undertaken to accept your arbitration decision as final. So - what is the difference between jealousy and envy????
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