Thursday, 15 December 2016

Horses (but not me) for courses

Yesterday, I received a phone call from Colin*. Colin works for the agency for which I volunteer, and he does a good job, but he wants me to go on a course. Another course. The same course I did three years ago. The course which ( as far as interest is concerned)  is equal to an afternoon of paint-drying-watching. Colin knows I don't need to go on this course, but it's his job to make sure I do. Poor Colin. He too has to go on courses. We all have to go on courses, don't we? All the time. Hands up anyone who's never had to go on a course?

Once again, I shall have to learn (among other things) about fired extinguishers; that there are four kinds, and you have to pick the right one for the right kind of fire.

Picture the scene, if you will. A burning building, panic, people to be evacuated, 999 to be dialled, and you (or in this case, me) thinking: now, let's see. What kind of fire was this? Oil? Cigarettes? Electrical? Ah, I've got it! Now let's go and fine the right coloured extinguisher ("no, I'm afraid I can't help you jump out of the window. I have to find the blue fire extinguisher"). It just wouldn't happen, would it? Not least because I've only ever seen a red one.

Then there is food hygiene. In vain do I whimper that in all the years I've been cooking, I've never poisoned anyone. That in this job I don't even  have any contact with food. Colin is insistent. As a last resort ( I can see him putting a red warning sticker by my name on his file) Colin suggests I might like meeting some of the other volunteers. Yes. I might. But I don't need to. If I want to meet a bunch of nice strangers, I can trot down the road to the library; even Sainsburys can be interesting.

Colin and I part on good terms, and he agrees that since my time isn't Up until April, he will let me off until then.

Anything can happen by the time April comes. Here's hoping.

*Not his real name


  1. It's the tick-box age combined with the blame age Frances. The organisation's public liability insurance policy will probably specify such requirements. I am so pleased to have left all that behind.

  2. It all seems very silly really, and a lot of money could be saved by offering only sensible courses to people who actually benefit from them.
    For her voluntary work, my Mum had to provide a clean bill of health and prove that no police records exist about her. That is understandable, as she works with small children. There are also courses every now and then about that particular work, and although my Mum is very good at what she does, she still attends them. They are not compulsory.
    I am one of those people who teach courses - once a year, my customers' employees have to be instructed in regulations about data protection. I hear you yawn... but believe me, I make it interesting, even entertaining!

    1. I'm glad your courses are more fun, Meike (if that's the right word?).

  3. Some repeat courses do seem a waste of time, effort and money, I agree.

    I do understand the fire safety one though. People can easily panic in such situations and forget something they were told 3 years ago. For example the bit about not attempting to search for the blue extinguisher, or do anything else to tackle the fire if that could put you, or others, in danger.

  4. Patsy, I agree about the necessity for precautions. It's just that I only ever noticed one kind of fire extinguisher, so much of the instruction was wasted.

  5. Just go through the motions, Frances. Works for me.

  6. Now I'm retired I don't get to go on courses. I quite miss the opportunity we had to have a day out of the office and a free lunch.