How can I tick a box when life is just not that simple?

AMAZING The Alver Valley
AMAZING The Alver Valley
Picture: Shutterstock

STEVE CANAVAN: Making a molehill out of Malcolm, my very minor ailment

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It’s form-filling time for the people of Gosport. Opening my post this weekend, I discovered that Gosport Borough Council is conducting a survey into activities, events and facilities for people in and around the town.

It’s a massive tick box extravaganza about which areas you do what in, ranging from museums/heritage to eating out, via a quick trip through libraries and community centres.

On and on it goes, about participation, attendance, both or neither and how often and who with (visitors, friends, work colleagues etc etc).

I admire the thought behind it, I really do. Because if we’re going to have to decide what to spend money on, it should be directed to where people want to go. But it’s so hard to get to the bottom of this form.

Like visitors, for example. What I do with them depends entirely on who they are, how often they’ve been here before, the age of their children and the state of their (and our) finances.

It’s not a simple yes or no. It’s a ‘depends’. And the most important factor for planning a day out in the area? I have choices of adult activities (does that mean the pole dancing night at that club on the High Street?), family activities, physical, historical etc.

But to be honest, it depends very much for me on the weather. And then there’s the free-form write-in box which asks me what I most value in Gosport and why?

Yikes. That again depends on the weather and the finances and all of those other factors too.

What I do like about Gosport is its shabby diversity. There are museums if you want that route, there’s the fabulous Discovery Centre (we must save that from any threat at all costs) and there are pubs and clubs.

There’s also the amazing Alver Valley, Stokes Bay and the market with the bizarre fruit and veg sellers’ calls to banana action – the list goes on and on.

To choose one over the other is nigh-on impossible. So I’ve ticked every box I can, and written explanatory notes on every section. I’m scared that anything that gets left out will be – literally – left out. Thank goodness the 2011 Census doesn’t ask for opinion, as that’s next on my ‘to do’ list.