We had the decorators in Oxfam last week and I could (easily) bore you with how as the only childless volunteer, I went in on Mother’s Day (with the best beloved) to help the ever-patient Oxfam manager get all the books off all the shelves.

I could further (very extensively) bore you with getting them back on the shelves (a much longer and back-breaking business) with a rally of other volunteers on Thursday. (Sorry for all the brackets, but don’t you think ‘rally’ is a good collective noun for volunteers?)

Suffice it to say, that we re-opened on Friday with pretty much all in place, a new table display, a window display and all in all ship-shape and Bristol fashion.

But although the door into the shop had been painted, the door to the upstairs and the one to the back where the books are ‘dumped’ were not, and distinctly shabby they look.

On Monday I was snuffling around the shop (seeing as it is a time for brackets, I will mention this is my third cold in as many months and not welcome) when I saw a man outside looking very intently at the windows and signage.

He came in and introduced himself as the Oxfam building inspector come to check that the ‘works’ had been done.

I said how pleased we were with the newly painted walls and although no customer had walked into the shop saying “ Blimey, what a great re-decoration,” we felt the place looked fresher.

I said that it really didn’t matter that the skirting boards had not been painted, as not many customers were likely to notice those.

But, I said, the doors do look really shabby and let the side down rather. I said (rather disingenuously) that I didn’t know whether the fault lay with the decorators. (I had asked the man still there on Thursday and he had said they were told not to paint the doors.)

I would like to say the man didn’t feel browbeaten, but he did concede defeat and rang the contractors to say, paint the doors, do it when the shop is shut, and do it soon.

Thank you.

(Not much to the outside world but to the small universe that is the Oxfam shop in Petersfield, that means a lot and by the way, despite being only open for two days last week, we took more than £1,000.)

(End of brackets.)


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