Saturday 13 May 2006

Crystal Palace or Chelsea?

I've had a very busy week! My job involves organising and speaking at events. Easy enough you would think - but no!!! There's a lot more to it than would at first appear. I have to organise staff, transport, venues, attendees etc etc. We normally do two each month. Last week however we had to do an extra one, and whatsmore it was on Wednesday, and we already had an event organised for Thursday. So picture the scene, manic running around like headless chicken in a flat spin panic for all of Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday we also had a meeting up in London with an important gentleman to do with professional footballers (I won't bore you with the details).

Those who know me, will know that I am organised to the point of being anal. I try to think of every eventuality and plan for it. I have lists of lists, and remind the team about 6 times of everything that needs to be done, and then check and double check everything. (I need to get out more).

Our Wednesday event was to be held in the players lounge at a London Football Club (hence the title). Our meeting went well, and afterwards myself and two colleagues went for a wander around Harrods, and then for lunch as I didn't need to be at the event until 4pm to set up. All the team had been instructed to get there at 4pm, with a strict warning of what would happen if they weren't. This event was also a bit of a first so there was lots of interest from the Directors. (you just know it's going to go horribly wrong!)

At 2pm I flagged a London Cab from outside Harrods and asked him to take me to Chelsea Football Club. Four minutes later I alighted from the cab, cool, calm, collected as I was nearly 2 hours early - only when I got to the reception desk and found out we didn't have an event there at all did I realise I was supposed to be at Crystal Palace....doh. It was one of those moments of mental clarity, when panic sets in, but it's okay, you keep the panic at bay because you realise that because you're so organised, and are 2 hours early, that gives you the required time to rectify your error, and nobody need ever know!!! Now you see the benefits of being anal.

Just to further set the scene I was wearing a suit, 4 inch heels and carrying a very heavy breifcase! Oh yes - the temperature was a lovely 25 degrees.

No problem, still have plenty of time, so I flagged down another cab and asked him to take me to Crystal Palace. He said NO!!!! Apparently it's too far (warning bells) but he will take me to the nearest tube station!!!

Can you see the story unfolding from here? Anyway - I got the wrong tube, went 4 stops, got off it, got on the correct one, went 5 stops, then realised the first one had been the right one, so got off and got on the first one again. By now I am nearly crying as all my best laid plans are floating away before my very eyes, my stress levels are rising, and I am running out of the happy go lucky spring in the step optimism with which I started the day.!!! Eventually I get to the mainline station and have to run to get the train (4-inch heels, 25 degrees, 42 years old, heavy briefcase - not good!).

The train is painfully slow and I arrive at the station at 5.10pm - the event starts at 6.30, we have to be ready to go at 6 for guests arriving, and there is at least an hours setting up to do. I now have to half walk, half run (heels, hot, heavy case!) about 1/2 mile from train station to the football ground.

The team had all got stuck in traffic so while I was on and off the tubes I was getting panicked phone calls from all of them, so when I finally arrived all sticky, sweaty (yuch) and with day old make-up running off my face and exploding feet, they too have only just arrived!!!

Anyway - it all went well in the end and none of the guests would have known there had been these issues (that's a modern manager word for "shit hitting the fan") and the event was a success.

But please don't talk to me about London football clubs beginning with the letter "C" (that's where the problem started) - unless of course you need to know exactly how long it takes to get to Crystal Palace from Chelsea using public transport!!!!


  1. 1hr 25 minutes. Check out the Journey Planner on

  2. 1hr 25 minutes. Check out the Journey Planner on


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