Page 47 - BBHAC Winter 2014-15 Gazette web
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Feature                          45

A Year in the Life of a President’s Wife

Sheila Griffin (First Lady 2014-5)

     To celebrate his             difference between track and      reverse of the number, sprint
 inauguration in March            field (I do now!) I gave up and   down to the start, then back
last year Richard took me         asked Dave Cordell for help.      again for the President’s stop
to Chapter One for a meal         He was great and even taught      watch that he’d forgotten and
and told me that was the          me how to use an EMD and          stand, panting heavily in the
  standard of meals that          to wave at a nice man with a      rain, while Richard shouted
   I could expect at the          very loud hooter. I did so well   numbers at me. At the finish,
 various sporting venues          that I was promoted to Mike       another quick sprint to HQ
  we would be attending.          Davies’ class and under his       and then 30 mins at the
  Dear Reader, he lied!           patient and expert tutelage I     computer, concentrating
                                  progressed to measuring the       hard and trying to ignore
Let me inform you that            long and triple jumps, armed      “What position was I?” from
Swansea Sports Stadium can        only with a tape and screw        aforementioned runners.
run to a mean cheese and          driver and received a couple
pickle sandwich, but alas,        of ‘very goods’ for my efforts.   In my life I have been
no Michelin Star. That said,                                        asked to do a number of
fine wines were supplied          Before being made president,      strange things – extracting
on the 14:45 train down to        Richard volunteered us to sell    a Cub Scout who wedged
soggy, frozen and windswept       the club kit, “Only a few vests   his head in the railings of
Wales by Julie Asher-Smith        and tops. How much work can       Buckingham Palace, dressing
and accompanied by stem           that be?” If a vest measures      up as a chicken to give out
ginger cookies, which Mike        18" x 30" how many would          Easter Eggs and selecting a
Shepperd pressed on us every      it take to fill one large study,  ‘chorizo with a happy face’
few minutes. Rude to refuse.      half a spare double bedroom       for a customer but a meet at
                                  and a huge storage cupboard       Norman Park capped them
Our first ‘official’ trip was to  under the eaves? I’ll give you    all. At the pole vault I was
Norwich and after catching        a clue, approximately £10,000     asked to hold on to the bar
the 7am coach (I thought          worth and like carriers bags      with a piece of tape to stop it
there was only one 7 o’clock      and metal coat hangers, they      blowing away in the gale force
in the day up until then) spent   breed in the dark. After a two-   winds. I swear I did not hold
a couple of hours listening to    week gestation period they        it any tighter for our team.
the gentle sounds of teenagers    gave birth to tiny crop tops
snoring – brought back            that fit my granddaughter’s       After a grueling six and a half
happy memories of travel          teddy bear.                       hour car journey to Mansfield
with our 2 when they weren’t                                        the night before, we settled
bickering or asking for the       Taking on the organisation
loo every 5 miles. I spent a      of the Parris handicap
very interesting day helping      was marginally easier. All
(more probably hindering)         I had to do was learn the
to officiate. My first hurdle     runners names (43 at the first
was to try to register the        meeting) take their money,
team but as I didn’t know the     give them change, issue them
                                  with numbers and pins, write
                                  anticipated times on the
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