The Community Meeting (Continued)

Using my best Chairman of the Board voice, I thanked those present for attending the meeting, read out the apologies, and quoted the last minutes on record (from five months earlier). The patients were so impressed they looked as though they were expecting a hanging, but within minutes the familiar double-glazed looks were beginning to form, and by the time I delivered my first tentative question there was nothing but a resounding silence. Many of them were adopting classic ‘defensive’ positions, turning right round in their chairs to face the back, rolling into foetal positions, or simply looking fixedly at their feet. To the left of me there was a rustling sound, and I knew that one of the more mischievous ladies had hidden behind a settee, while to the right Primrose had already fallen sound asleep. But I pressed on regardless, and using a series of one to one questions I managed to coax some of the more garrulous patients into life.
Once galvanised, the talkative patients were then almost unstoppable, using the meeting to broadcast their latest environmental requirements, such as a wide screen plasma T.V. set for the lounge, a continental holiday and bigger bedrooms. Double-glazing had always been a popular request, but now that we had spent £20,000 on having new sealed unit glazing units fitted, the patients were gradually shifting their interest to triple-glazing. They were a door-to-door salesman’s dream, and often became so expansive about their material aspirations that staff had to reverse gear and look for ways to curtail their monologues…


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