Last year, Nick (at work) nominated me for the volunteer of the year awards at the Science Museum. Not only didn’t I win anything but I was also unable to attend the function. This year, he nominated me again and was adamant I attend. The awards ceremony was tonight and I went.
It was quite odd going into the Science Museum on a Monday night – walking against the hordes, seeing the place ablaze with lights.
I entered the Smith Centre, just a little trepidatious – I’m fairly certain not many people know how truly shy I am around strangers when I’m sober. I’m the classic wallflower. Anyone who knows me would say this is rubbish…but it isn’t. I would class myself as socially inept.
But the volunteer coordinator woman, Sally, immediately put me at ease by knowing who I was and giving me a glass of red wine. I was then instantly surrounded by people I knew from the basement.
After this, things were fine. I’m a very good listener and have the amazing ability to look remarkably interested in the most dire conversations. This way I can melt into the foreground, so to speak, contributing something interesting every now and then.
Nick (from work) had told me about this American guy who has been a volunteer so long, he has his own cryptag. He’s an authority on shipping and his name is Eduardo. What a fabulous guy! We talked for ages. Not only is he full of all sorts of shipping knowledge but he’s also a serious cheese lover.
Eduardo belongs to a group of people who sample world cheeses on a regular basis (he was very familiar with Liverot, my second favourite cheese and nodded seriously when I said how much I loved it). It sounds very similar to the whisky club that Nicktor and I went to with Big Al…but with cheese.
There was plenty of wine flowing and nibble foodstuffs crammed the big dining table, when Sally announced that we all needed to shoo into the big room for the awards.
I don’t know if I’ve mentioned Hadrian before. He used to be the head of documentation but has moved upward in the museum. I’ve missed seeing him around since his promotion as he’s a lovely, affable and dapper chap. We’d have lovely chats about his surprise that there’s a Lidl in Farnham and so forth.
Well, Hadrian was giving out the awards and, it turns out, he started life at the Science Museum as a volunteer! It hardly seems likely for such a high flyer as he is now. For Mirinda’s benefit, he reminds me an awful lot of Peter, who she used to work with.
There were a number of awards…or, rather, there were a number of categories and nominees within them. Hadrian read out about some amazing people who volunteer for public facing jobs, the true heroes, if you ask me.
He then read out the nominees for the Watson & Crick (they who, together, discovered DNA) award for teamwork. I was included in the second nomination for my work in the Shipping Gallery. It’s important to realize I wasn’t the only one! There are three of us. Anyway, we won. Two of us were present to take our certificates and a wonderful book about art and science.
It was a wonderful moment, although I feel a bit of fraud given how much I enjoy my days at the Science Museum. This could have been the highlight of the night (and of course it was terrific) but there was also a quiz, based on the Glass exhibit which I visited months ago in the Smith Centre.
I’m fairly certain that knowing what a breast reliever looks like is what did the trick but, for whatever reason, our team (Eduardo, Kevin, Nick & I or team Ding Dong Duck) won first place, a box of chocolates and the eternal admiration of our peers.
Afterwards, well primed with wine, we old farts sat around swapping impossible stories of great merriment until we were thrown out by the ever vigilant Sally.
A thoroughly enjoyable night in which the winner was…ME!