this is july

this is


Shouldn't Britannia Waive the Rules?

It's official - I've recruited myself into the Grumpy Old Women brigade! The credentials of membership are resenting the throttling, irrational impositions of Health and Safety regulations and the intrusion of 'jobs-worths' into even well-meaning areas of our lives. Living in Cornwall is no aegis from being garroted by petty red tape and what has really caused a galvanic upsurge on my grumpy gauge are the 'suits' in the RNLI.

Within sensible reason, I'm a mellow individual and don't mind admitting to being out of step with elements of 21st century life. So the cause of my grumpiness needs clarification because it is symptomatic of the times we inhabit. Each summer, we have an Open Gardens Day in our village, where visitors wander around beautiful gardens, delighting in the sub-tropical, lush species abundant in Cornwall. This is an established event and the entry fee is donated to a different charity each year, all of whom, to date, have been easy to deal with, grateful and helpful. This year, we thought it would be nice to give a donation to the RNLI. Although our village hasn't had its own lifeboat for thirty years, there is a long history of loyal support and pride in this service.

We print our own professionally designed posters which are recognised and familiar locally, but needed eight A3 size. I emailed the Saltash RNLI regional office to ask if they could print these. They refused to print them as they failed to "adhere to their strict guidelines". And, I quote, "It is extremely important that we carefully consider how and where the logo is used. We therefore need to ISSUE AN AGREEMENT prior to allowing a third party to use the logo". What was lost in translation, and they wouldn't accept, is that this wasn't an RNLI fundraising event, it was an Open Gardens Day and we were at liberty to give money from ticket sales to any organisation we wanted. We didn't need to use their logo, however they would only agree to print posters on condition that it was to their own corporate guidelines in red, white and blue.

I've been a partner in my own graphic design business long enough to know the importance of protecting brands and misrepresentation, but we didn't want to use their logo or design and if any brand was to be protected, it was the one we use for our Open Gardens Day - all I'd asked for was to have a few posters printed to save cost, the simple logic being that more money would be given to the RNLI. The event usually makes around £1,400 for a local charity; it bemuses and confuses me to realise that the corporate twerps are arrogant enough to risk forfeiting this kind of donation.

I was sent a form from the administration assistant for "Application to Fundraise for the RNLI" and was asked to complete and return at my earliest convenience and if we wished to raise money in aid of the RNLI, we MUST agree and comply to their terms and conditions. This document contains questions written in corporate drivel, related to risk assessment, protecting their brand, details of other charities we might raise money for. (if that's any of their business!), blah, blah. Can I assume that every coffee morning and white elephant stall that raises a few quid has to fill in this ridiculous form? Needless to say, I didn't return it, but the donation will still be given.

This is not a criticism of the front line of the RNLI or its local level fundraisers. The outstanding gallantry and seamanship of lifeboat crews is the reason people put money in a tin, it is not to fund the form-filling, pen-pushing, out of touch office staff whose raison d'etre is to hinder goodwill. This charity is funded entirely by public support and the common sense bigger picture has to be recognised or they are in peril of drowning in the depths of their corporate insensibility.

Many years ago I had a summer job pulling pints in 'The Ship' at Mousehole. There was a stool at the end of the bar unofficially reserved for a big, self-effacing fisherman in a salt-bleached cap and smock, his aura of quiet presence filled the pub. His name was Trevelyan Richards. On a December night in 1981, a coaster ran aground near Lamorna. It was one of those winter-black nights when nature was merciless. The Penlee Lifeboat, Solomon Browne, was launched. In a fifty foot swell, head on to the storm, she was manoeuvered alongside the coaster and four survivors where taken off; on a final rescue attempt, the radio went dead and her lights went out. Trevelyan Richards was her coxswain and never has there been a lifeboat crew of eight braver men who never came home. I don't think risk assessments and terms and conditions were given much thought on that night!

Here, at least, are a few pictures from some of the Gardens.

 agapanthus/ montbretia/ monkey puzzle tree feijoa selowiana  -guava fruit flower garden pond  ligularia soft tree fern



eucryphia gunnera dicksonia antarctica kiwi fruit hoheria sexstylosa



email to a friend Email this page to a friend


Home | About Us | Previous | Ramblings | Contact | What You Say | Calligraphy | Links | Copywriting | Sitemap