Masked Ball

Readers of my blog will know that I tend to keep the focus on books, hobbies and interests and work does not feature very much. Not because my job is not interesting, it is although it has its moments – of which there has been a lot lately, but I am very conscious of sharing something I should not. Working on a naval establishment makes you more aware.

Anyway, last year I shared some pictures of our annual Summer Ball – last year’s theme was Alice in Wonderland. This year it would have been too obvious to go for say perhaps, the Diamond Jubilee or perhaps Olympics, common themes apparently according to our photographer. This year it was Phantom of the Opera, a Masked Ball if you will.

Now this year if you have noticed, it has rained. In fact it has rained quite a lot. More than a lot. Now this comes with problems. Our one for this year – a 500ft marquee on grass, with 750 chairs, 75 tables and 375 women wearing high heels. Can you see where I am going with this. Glastonbury springs to mind.

You need a back up plan, you always need a back up plan.

So with me already having completed the table plan for 650 in a marquee (numbers down on previous years – credit crunch? Olympics? No interest?)  I then (with direction from my boss) had to bring 650 people indoors.

Not a problem – we have our Christmas Dance indoors. It’s cosy. It’s Christmas. But then we have a maximum number for that – 450.

Now I hope you can do the maths – that was 200 people we had to find somewhere to sit. Then the week before the ball, the sun shone, it shone bright and hot. Had we done the wrong thing?

This was my major task for this year (amongst sorting out the people who cannot fill in an application form, the finances most importantly, ticket distribution, the list is somewhat endless)

So using my knowledge of Christmas layout here we go then.

One of the 7 rooms (the largest) used

Done, easier than I thought. Keeping people together and more importantly apart. A job well done. I do like logic problems and jigsaw which is what the task resembles. Then had someone check it through and no problems.


“I need to lose one room, Jo”.


“I need to lose one room, Jo”

“That is 50 people”


Okay I am not a magician but I managed to lose twenty into other rooms. I then had thirty people who had no seat, in fact they had no table, knife and fork, wine glass or napkin.

Table Centre

As for the grass outside – we still used the marquee, only a fifth of it for the dancing. It proved coming in was the correct thing to do. I sat on a chair on the grass (I was the test person – not sure if I should have been offended?) on the Thursday – the chair sank 3 inches. It was cold on the night. So even more the right thing to do.

But I am not sure if any of us that work there can cope with doing the same again next year indoors. It was hard work, physically for a lot, mentally for a few.

And as for them thirty people

They had a fabulous night and never knew that until three days before they had no seat…….