Didn’t We Have A Lovely Time (the day we went to Denby)?

Ah, Mothers Day. That traditional occasion when motherhood is celebrated by all concerned in a way somehow far removed from the rituals of Fathers Day. Mothers Day is for pampering, for breakfast in bed, for home cooked dinners, for tidying the home and for generally making mums feel quite rightly valued. Cards and gifts must be purchased by children AND husbands, who must also disappear together for at least some part of the day to give mum some richly deserved “me time”. For reference, Fathers Day seems to be “here’s a giant Toblerone, now off you go for the day to spend some quality time with the kids”. 

But I digress! As Club Welfare Officer I am required to attand a “Safe Hands” course, something that is arguably unnecessary as will be confirmed by anyone who witnessed “the catch” at High Lane last summer. However, the “Safe Hands” in question is apparently nothing to do with cricketing prowess, and all about Club Welfare. Last year I tried without success to attend a course, as the DCB only run one per year (and I became CWO AFTER it had happened). I almost made the Nottinghamshire one but missed it by a couple of days, and anyway the DCB prefer Derbyshire CWOs to take the course in their area, and Cheshire tried to help out but to no avail. So this year I booked in good time for the Safe Hands course at Denby CC on 30th March, which happened to be Mothers Day. Oh dear, that will go down well, especially as number one son is due to be playing football at Hazel Grove thus all but eliminating mum’s peaceful morning. Anyway, I received no response from Derbyshire. No acknowledgement that my postal application had been received. You see, Derbyshire Cricket Board cannot accept electronic applications and cannot accept electronic payments, even in 2014. They could learn a lot from Memories Of India, but that’s another story. A week or so later the cheque was cashed (remember those – yes still the preferred method of payment for the DCBasaurus), but still no response. I emailed, no response. I called, no answer. I left a message, no reply. Assumption is the mother of all… as they saying goes, so I only have myself to blame in assuming that the DCB had accepted and processed my application, presuming that the cashed cheque was sufficient evidence, all I had to do now was placate my wife and attend. 

The solitary nature of the course, and its usefulness to the club went some way to overcoming any potential objections, so I set off at 8.15 to the far reaches of Derbyshire and Denby CC. I arrived at 9.25, and found the gates locked. At least I’m early I thought, though they do appear to be cutting it a bit fine. The place was desolate, and after ten minutes I decided that I must be mistaken. I checked the paperwork – yes its definitely Denby, definitely 9.30, and definitely March 30th (and definitely 2014). I got onto the internet and found contact details for Robert Waldron, the Derbyshire County Welfare Officer, but someone with such a grand title was clearly unwilling or unable to answer his phone, even for someone who might be enquiring about the one solitary single sole instance of this crucial course that was about to take place. Undeterred, I called his assistant, Angela Gregson. She confirmed that indeed the Safe Hands course was still on at Denby that morning. She thought it might be scheduled for 10am rather than 9.30, so she offered to call me back. 

Ten minutes later she did indeed call back, with odd news. The course was still on that morning, and it was still at 9.30, but it was now at South Wingfield. Where? South Wingfield. North of where you are near Alfreton. Just turn up and you’ll be fine. 

It was now approaching 10 o clock and I found the aforementioned South Wingfield CC on my satnav. It was 25 minutes away. So should I proceed into even deeper and darker Derbyshoire and turn up 33% of the way through a three hour course? Surely a course so unique and vital would require attendees to be present for the full three hours, so I returned home. Or rather, I returned to Hazel Grove where number one son and his team were on the wrong end of a 7-1 scoreline. 

As for the DCB, I emailed whoever I thought might be involved and got a response from Mick Glenn sayiong he would look into it, and another from Jacqui Hendrick who is apparently leaving the DCB, satying she would process the refund, and apologising as the venue was changed quite late. So late in fact that the website has not even been updated a week AFTER the event. 

Needless to say I was less than happy, having wasted time and fuel chasing the golden fleece of a course than had once again defeated me. If only I had Jason & The Argonauts on my side. 

I fully expect the next course to be held in Whaley Bridge, or am I just being optimistic?