The Past Returning

My life seems to have a habit of throwing up things from the past at the moment.

We have a new volunteer at Oxfam who works full time so can only do Saturdays. I  take my hat off to her for wanting to volunteer for half of her weekend.

She has moved to the area and wants to find ways to integrate and luckily for us, she has chosen the bookshop.

She works for the Environment Agency and many, many years ago, I did too, though it was so long ago that is was then the National Rivers Authority.

I moved to Yorkshire to take up the job and learned the geography of the area via its rivers – a nice way to learn anywhere.

I loved that job – one of the best times at work and yes I can bore for England with stories of the droughts, floods, a bitter lemon spillage from the Schweppes factory which killed a lot of fish in the River Aire and more.

An aside: my best friend was once at a dinner party with people we had known years before and there was some catching up to do. She was asked what I was doing and she said I was working for the NRA. They looked rather shocked and someone said they had no idea I had taken my politics that far. They thought she had said I was working for the IRA.

Anyway, the new volunteer and I can chat happily about pollution incidents we have known as we cull the craft shelves or re-arrange the history books.

(And, before I go on, I will give you a quick Oxfam update: in the week up to Christmas Eve we took more than £3,500 which is by way of a bit of a record for us.

So thank you to all those people who bought armfuls of books and especially to the two lads who were bribed into buying the joke toupee I found in the bottom of a donation and agreed to take it off our hands in return for some home-made mince pies.)

So, change of subject, my sister invited my Best Beloved to speak at a course she runs called Crucible.

I invented that course more than a decade ago.

My involvement eventually stopped but the course kept going and through a long a circuitous route my sister got involved in running it.

And the venue for this running of the course was the same hotel I used to stay in as part of the NRA’s management team planning meetings.

It seemed strange that I was at home with the dog, doing Oxfam stuff whilst they had time with exceptionally interesting young scientists.

Did I feel left out, slightly resentful that I wasn’t involved, pleased that my invention had such a long and successful life, happy that my BB did a good ‘turn’ and enjoyed his time with them, wistful for my productive working life, cross with myself for not doing more with my life, wondering if I could do something like that again….

All those things.

I guess that is what happens when your past arrives in your present, looking so much more glamorous than your life today.

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