Today I attended my first committee meeting with the Talking Newspaper group. Actually, it wasn’t exactly a committee meeting. It was a sub-committee meeting. Still, given I missed my initial one, I’m counting this one as my first.
It was a meeting to discuss the imminent implementation of new technology. When FATN started, all the recordings were sent out on cassette tapes. These were superseded by CDs and, over the last couple of years, they have introduced memory sticks.
The memory sticks are better for a number of reasons, not least of which is the fact that they can be reused. Once the old CDs were returned, they were just thrown away, creating some pretty indestructible landfill. The memory sticks, of course, can be reformatted and have new data put on them for a very long time.
It’s an excellent idea (as far as I can see, though Mirinda isn’t convinced) but, of course, we’re talking about visually impaired people for whom new technology must be a bit daunting. They don’t necessarily have a computer so the memory stick could prove pretty useless to them. To this end, the Talking Newspaper has decided to give each of our listeners a free USB player.
This, while being an ideal solution, is fraught with difficulties. Instructions have to be clear, the player must be easy to use with big clear controls…basically it has to be extremely user friendly. And this is what the sub-committee has been working on. Today’s meeting was (probably) the second last one so there’s already been a lot of groundwork completed.
The meeting was run very well and professionally with very little wasted time – everyone (but me) had somewhere to go afterwards, which explained a lot. Well, I say that, but there was a little bit of time spent diss-ing a couple of people, just like you always get in committee meetings. There were also two instances of important, committee related phone calls.
All in all, though, I was very impressed. I was even asked my opinion on something which I happily gave in my roundabout, non-committed style. I didn’t want them to know just how much of a know-all, self-opinionated, egocentric committee member I am. Not straight off the bat, anyway. Maybe after I have a few meetings under my belt and they’re stuck with me.
It actually reminded me, a bit, of the old Gallery First Nighters’ committee meetings. They were run very well and always managed to get the job done and over with and very little time wasted.
Even so, the meeting still took two hours. I’m very glad it was enjoyable. Mirinda sniggered, given her meetings are far more arduous, onerous and numerous.
One of our poppies was out this morning. In glorious, blindingly bright red. It would be remiss of me not to include a photo for mum.
And a second muddy park update…today we watched a guy on a small tractor, pulling a big, spiked roller over the dried mud patches. Positioned over the roller was a modern seed drill. It put me in mind of Jethro Tull and how his simple yet very important invention, has changed very little – although the tractor replacing the farmer is a bit of a leap.
I’m not sure I’d like to be pushing it wearing all of those clothes. This seems a lot more civilised even though the guy driving the tractor would benefit from wearing a hat.
The silver bit on top is the seed drill. It is full of grass seeds and revolves on the roller underneath – that’s what the wheels are for. The seed drill then drops seeds evenly onto the spiked roller which, having penetrated the ground, allows the seeds to drop into the holes. Very simple, yet beautifully clever.
We watched him at it for a while. I wasn’t bored, but I think the poodles may have been.