It’s a jungle out there…

So here I am, approaching the end of 18 years at the BBC. 18 YEARS! It doesn’t seem possible.

When I first joined, I remember being shocked when meeting a new colleague who had been there 5 years; “Blimey, that’s a long time!” said I. Ha!

There is sooooo much for me to say about this whole process of leaving and finding a new me or mes. And where to start is tricky; but what has prompted me to write this post is the course I attended today about networking. So lets start there.

I should explain, I’m taking redundancy from Aunty Beeb voluntarily, and I’m very fortunate to be able to attend some courses before I leave. I’m grateful for them because it really does feel like a massive step into the unknown.

I remember my dad, who was an army major (yes I do march as a result) telling me that when he left the army he was given no help/support to make the transition, except a leaflet on bricklaying. It hit him really hard – like a brick actually – and it took him ages to recover.

You’ll be pleased to hear that he did make the transition and is going very strong at the age of 83. He took our girls ice skating last year and here he is (with my Danny) at the fantastic Carter’s Steam Fair, having whizzed round and round far higher and faster and longer than I would care to, on the Victory Dive Bomber ride…

fairground ride

I salute you, oh father of mine!

Ummm I digress. I’m supposed to be writing about networking. 

I realised on the course today that I HATE talking – of the networking variety I mean. Actually I did realise before, I just didn’t realise quite how much I hate it. Until that is, we were shown a photo of a gallery/exhibition opening and were asked what we would do if we went there alone, without knowing anyone. How would we deal with it? How would we network there?

Well I nearly had a meltdown in the class. Glad I didn’t, but it was close.

So I learnt something, a lot actually. First, I learnt that this redundancy lark, however much I want it, is scaring the crap out of me.

I also learned that I dislike face to face networking immensely – and I learned that I need to get over it. I learned that a way to manage that dreaded alone-in-a-gallery scenario, is to find someone else on their own, talk to them (about him/herself) and then invite others into the conversation. Our tutor, Moray Coulter assured me that before long the room would be mine. Hurrah, that’ll be a first!

The act of helping others and starting open-ended conversations appeals to me. I do it anyway, but to do it and be able to call it networking is great. It also means that at the next exhibition opening I go to (darling) I can concentrate on someone else instead of focussing on my own reeeeediculous fears. ‘Generous networking’ Moray called this approach, and I like it. Lets have more generous networking I say; help each other and in so doing we will help ourselves.

I also learned, or rather it occurred to me on the way home, that rather than assuming I’m rubbish at speaking, maybe just maybe, I find other ways to ‘speak’, other ways to command the room. For example I’ve become known for our children’s parties and for ludicrous Christmas/Easter/any excuse decorations. Maybe that’s my way of holding court. I let the tinsel do the talking.

I love it; I love the creativity and I love the joy it brings. I also, lets be honest, enjoy basking in the glory of friends’ appreciation and admiration. It’s warm in there. Here are a few pictures from Elsa’s Jungle party to give you an idea…

jungle party wide shot

Jungle Party paper palm tree


Jungle party paper monkeys



Are you still there? Oh goodie.

And looking forward, to life after the BBC; shouldn’t I be looking to do something that allows me to speak, to find my voice amid all the noise?

I think that’s what we should all aim for, if we’re in the privileged position of being able to choose, which I know I am, scared or not…


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8 Responses to “It’s a jungle out there…”

  1. Kelly Says:

    Hun you should look into party planning of some description, your oozing creativity and your themes are amazing!!! Halloween with black spaghetti?!?! You should embrace your gift and run with it! In today’s culture people want bigger and better to out do the last kids party they attended (apparently its a competition) so take advantage of this. Hope to see you soon my love xxxx

    • eethree Says:

      Thanks Kelly, I am thinking about it, just got to work out how. Not sure most people would want me turning up with palm trees made of carpet rolls!

  2. Lucy Says:

    don’t limit those amazing talents to kids’ parties – take them into schools, youth clubs, drama groups, nurseries – they’d give eye teeth for someone like you – not well paid granted, but big on job satisfaction – have a lovely weekend xxx

    • eethree Says:

      Thanks Lucy. You’re right. I fully intend, whatever I end up doing, to do some work for community/charity groups. I’m thinking charity Christmas grotto at the moment!

  3. Mel Says:

    Hi. Do you have instructions on how you made the palm trees? Thanks

    • eethree Says:

      Hi Mel. No, we kind of made it up! But here are instructions for you. I hope they’re helpful, but if you need to know more just get back in touch.

      For the tree trunks use inner tubes from carpet rolls – ask at your local carpet shop. Paint them brown and cut them (with a saw) to fit snuggly between the floor and ceiling. They need to be wedged into position when finished so be careful not to cut them too short.

      Cut large leaf shapes from green crepe paper. Cut in from the edges towards the central stem to create the typical slits in palm tree leaves. About 10 leaves per tree.

      Make a central stem for each leaf. We used bendy straws into one another and also thin/flexible bamboo canes as we have a bamboo plant in the garden. Tape each stem to the underside of the leaves.

      Wedge the prepared tree trunks into position in the room and make sure they are stable/can’t be pushed over. Position them near the walls and alternated one side of the room then the other. That way you can drape ‘vines’ between the trees to add to the crowded jungle feel, if you want to.

      Insert the leaves at the top of the trunk. The leaves will drape downwards so blow up some balloons quite small (I used gold to be like coconuts) and wedge them between the top of the trunks and the leaves in groups. They will help keep the leaves up to form a tree canopy.

      Add any other jungle paraphenalia you can find – we hung rubber spiders from fishing wire, found a couple of soft toy monkeys and a snake and also wound tissue paper flower garlands (Asian wedding decorations) around some of the trunks. The more the merrier to create a full jungly effect!

      We also wrote some interesting jungle facts and stupid jokes onto green paper leaf shapes and hung them around the room.

      Good luck with it Mel! Do let me know how you get on. Elsa LOVED her jungle party; it’s a great theme.

      And if I haven’t explained anything well enough, do let me know…

  4. Debbie Says:

    your palm trees look amazing…thanks for the “how to” – I am going to give them a try with our Jungle VBS this summer.

    • eethree Says:

      Great Debbie, go for it. And if you need any further guidance just shout…

      Oh and make charity shops/thrift stores your friends between now and then. You can pick up bits to dress / add to the jungle mayhem!

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