An artist friend asked me last week if I’d like to accompany her to a local venue, and after checking it out on the website that she’d sent the link to, I agreed. It looked like it would be something I’d like to try.
But there was just one problem – although it was an organised event, and free, you had to book your places on it, and when I tried that, it just took me to a link elsewhere, and not to a registration page. My friend had the same problem when she tried it too.
But, never mind, we both decided we’d go along, unannounced. It couldn’t be that much of a problem if we just turned up. And if it was overattended, at least we’d tried.
On the appointed day – Tuesday of this week, to be exact, I drove to pick her up, and we tootled over to the town in question – Ashby de la Zouch in Leicestershire, parking the car, and walked up to the venue it was to be held at a few minutes early for the allotted time. We knew where it was to be held, but there didn’t seem to be any signs saying where the entrance was, but it was down a bit of an alley way, which Ashby has many of tucked away, with little gems of businesses and venues hidden away unless you know where to look.Â But all the three doors that were down this particular alleyway were firmly shut. Ok, we’ll wait. One of them will open, nearer the time, naturally.
And that was when the rains started. And boy, did it rain. The cars driving by were sloshing through it, the pedestrians were hurrying past, one little boy looked wistfully at a large puddle half covering the road, until his father rushed him past it ensuring he wouldn’t get splashed (but, that was the intention, dad!).
So, thank goodness there was an archway for us to huddle under, and although the airÂ was cold and wet, we were reasonably dry, as we waited. And chatted, about what we’d both been up to recently, what we wanted from this event, what our plans were, what our hopes for the future were.
We chatted some more, both of us easily chatting, as we’ve known each other ten, no, eleven years, and like each others company and always have lots to say to each other.
Still no sign of any doors opening though. Whichever of the doors it may be…..
So, I rang the number of the venue (helpfully written on a board outside) and got an answer phone, leaving me a number for the proprietors mobile, so I rang that in turn, and got yet another answerphone, and left a message asking if they knew anything about the event that was purported to be on that evening? My friend in turn used her mobile to ring the local council since they had set up the event, and also got an answerphone message, and left a message with them for them to get back to her. Ok, no one wants to talk to us…. so…….um……what’s to be done now…..and then, another body turned up, a man. Obviously here for the same thing as us, the way he purposefully walked up. And looked at us, questioningly, as to why we were standing there, and why we hadn’t gone in?
Well, that would be because we were beginning to wonder what was happening. As was he. He was from the council too, and as far as he was concerned, it was being held that day, that time, that place. Okayyy…. soÂ that makes three of us who think the same thing.
We chatted, he explained who he was. We each in turn explained who we were.Â He talked about various things happening in Ashby, all of it interesting and informative.
And after forty minutes, and the rain had stopped,Â we decided to call it a day, and move on, there was obviously nothing happening there tonight. The guy drove off. And my friend asked me if I’d like to go back to her place for a cup of tea -Â and sinceÂ I can never resist the offer of a cup of tea with someone I like, I accepted, and drove her back home. Her fella was in, surprised to find us back so soon, and since I knew my fella was due soon asked if they minded him joining us, yes, no problem! So he turned up, and we had a tea party – well, we all sat chatting over teas and coffees for a companionable hour or so before we went off for our evening meal, leaving them to theirs.
The next day, my phone rang, the woman I’d left a message with returned my call to say that the event had been cancelled last week. News to me, I told her! I knew she was just the person who ran the venue as a business, so it was nothing to do with her except to take the booking. She was most helpful though and gave me the number of the woman who had set up the event, so I rang that, and guess what, yep, you’ve got it, I got an answer phone again,Â and left a message explaining what had happened and asking her if she knew what had happened regarding it?
A couple of hours later on, I got a call back.
She was polite andÂ very friendly and full of apologies that I’d been put about, but the event had been cancelled through there not being anyone signing up to the event. I explained that I’d tried to do that, and couldn’t! The website was at fault apparently, for not explaining that. But, there would be another one at the same venue later on in the year she told me, and another one still sooner but in Loughborough instead and she hoped I’d be able to go to that, and she was looking forward to seeing me there. Ok, I’ll bear them in mind, and thanked her very much for getting back to me. Smiling to myself, I remembered the reason for the event –
*Networking for art creatives*
In some ways its ironic,
and yet, in others, that’s exactly what’s happened.
I just expected it to be a bigger network than, er, four. (and one of those I knew already so that doesn’t realllllly count!) 🙂