Saturday, April 03, 2004

April Ops Meet

A horrendously early start this morning, as five of us met in Chorlton before heading down to Leicestershire for a Greenbelt Ops Planning day.

Unfortunately our good intentions and sleep sacrifices are undermined by a massive traffic jam on the M6. We are pretty much stationary for about an hour, just north of where we want to turn off.

Sitting in a car with a prominent Manchester City banner in the rear window starts to feel uncomfortable as we become aware that we are attracting stares and gestures from vehicles of Man Utd fans heading down for the FA Cup Semi-final.

Our opinion of Reds is not improved as various already boozed up lads (and it’s only 8.30am!) decide to alight and relieve their bladders on the fast lane. Classy.

Fortunately we get moving eventually, but to add insult to injury a loose bit of grit thrown up by another vehicle hits the windscreen causing a small but distinct chip on the passenger side.

In the end we are only a bit late for the Ops meeting, but it does mean we are straight into with no time to say hello to anyone or grab a drink. It’s intensive stuff – we have so much to get through. Plans are shaping up fast; the deadline for confirming venues, passed last week and the programme is developing daily.

We also got the licence on Friday – wahey! 17,500 here we come.

It’s quite daunting though. The growth rate is fantastic, but it gives us quite a challenge. Much of today’s discussion revolves around the logistics of making everything work for that many people and the stretches to programme and venues that will go hand in hand.

I’m so glad I have Ben and Gaynor helping me head up the Venue Managers now. I really don’t know what I would do without them.

As I look round the room, I’m awed by the people I see: their abilities, their professionalism, their dedication and commitment. I feel honoured and blessed to be part of this group; this strange sort of family.

By the evening my brain hits meltdown and on the journey home, the pain of an embryonic migraine spreads through my head like the fingers of hairline cracks spreading out from the windscreen chip.

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