Saturday, 30 March 2013

Bagatelle Queen RIP !

Yesterday I laid to rest one of my many personae, the Bagatelle Queen.
The Bagatelle Queen evolved over the period of around a dozen years, at Weavers Close Primary school.
Early on in my career at the school I encountered the English 'Fayre' phenomenon. I felt like hadn't really been aware of it until I moved to the Midlands in the early 1990's.  I'm sure we must have had such things in Sunny Surrey. But I think I must have avoided them fairly successfully. Or maybe just blotted them out of my mind. In fact the more I think about it the more a niggling memory comes to mind of an annual 'Event' that took place at Vernon Baptist Church, Kings Cross, London. As I recall it was a huge event, that involved complex planning and execution. Yes, I think I had walled up all such memories, and locked them in a room, at the back of my mind.
Thus, when I first encountered the Christmas Fayre at Weavers, my instant reaction was to back-off and keep my head down. The question was posed in a staff meeting, "What are you going to do for the Fayre?" Obviously, it was inappropriate to voice the answer that sprang to mind, "Nothing!" So, I came up with an idea that stood me in good stead for the next decade. Bagatelle.
 I had commandeered the school Bagatelle (whatever you call it - board, range, plateau!) It was easy. Put the Bagatelle on a table. Sit behind the table. Take the 20p. Watch a child ping 10 balls. Add up the score (encouraging the children to do the maths themselves, in the pretence that it was educational, not because I was struggling with the calculations myself!) Dish out a sweet or send them packing, depending on the total. Stress free. Easy-peasy.
As the years went by, it became quite simple to answer, the question, "What are you doing for the Christmas/Summer Fayre?" "Bagatelle." No need to ask. Bagatelle. No running around like a blue-arsed fly for me. Just a table, a chair and a box of penny sweets. Job done.
As I re-read that last paragraph I realise that some of my colleagues must have found my attitude a little irksome. As they were dashing about like manic insects. Sorry about that. I think I had been burnt out by previous church based fund raising events. Whatever, the reason, the Bagatelle Queen became my default persona during all Christmas and Summer Fayres.
Kirundi Drummers -  Junior Boys
But now she is gone. Well and truly carked-it. Yesterday, saw the first ever Easter Fayre at King's School, Bujumbura. And guess who was the blue-arsed fly behind it all? Me! Well behind it all was God. But He's not so much a blue-arsed fly, more of a divine, calm, all powerful, steady, supporting hand. (When I choose to remember to rely on him!)

Rainbow Centre - Outdoor Cafe
Kirundi Dancers - Junior Girls

 Bravo Ministries stall

I had this great idea, that through my Literacy classes the Year 6 could learn how to organise an 'event'. So we did. We learnt how to write letters asking for help and donations, design leaflets and posters. We learnt how to plan a programme of entertainment events. How to prioritise, organise, delegate, all sorts of great skills. We painted signs. Drew up rules for games. Then, yesterday
discovered  we need to do lots more work on handling money and calculating change. That was just me!
Security on the gate !

It was about a week before the event that it

suddenly dawned on me how incredible it would appear to my colleagues at Weavers Close, who had endured my years of 'Bagatelle'. Again, my sincere apologies.
And to answer your question. Yes, it went very well. Stacks of people came. It didn't rain. We only had two short power cuts. We raised 600,000fbu.

 What's more I found myself, planning how we would improve on it all next year! All the staff of the Junior school, who had been a little bemused as to what an Easter Fayre was, were enthused and planning their part for next year!

To cap it all off, I ended the day looking like a lobster, having spent three hours wandering about in the sun!!!

The Fashion Show.     

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