51:32:35 l0:03:22

TGI Paul

Friday, October 27, 2006

We're going to a dance!

I was blessed to have 4 fabulous grandparents. I was even more blessed that I still had them all when I reached my 30's, that's an unusual feat I'm sure.

I learnt many things from all of them which pop into my head every now and then when I least expect them.

Yesterday at work, something went wrong. It's not important what exactly but it was a basic communication problem.

It was what most people would call Chinese Whispers, and the task I carried out was nothing like the one my Supervisor had originally asked someone else to ask me to do. Naturally, I looked the fool, even though it was her lack of team management skills that caused it.

The phrase "Send three and fourpence, we're going to a dance" popped into my head and I was reminded of one of my Grandads favourite stories. This is it, roughly...

During the height of trench warfare in the First Great War, the Major General received a message one night in HQ sent from the men at the frontline. It had come via couriers, spies, air and sea.

“Send 3 and 4 pence, we’re going to a dance” he was told

(“3 and 4 pence” being old English money – 3 shillings and 4 pence)

The Major general could not believe his own ears!

“Send 3 and 4 pence we’re going to a dance??!! What the bloody hell are they thinking?”

He sent the response;

"I don't know what the devil you're playing at, but there will be no dancing while there's a war on!"

Sadly the men were due to go 'over the top' the next day, and without the reinforcements they wanted, they perished in battle.

Hence the original message…



  • What a great story...too bad you had to be reminded by a bad situation at work.

    By Blogger rodger, at Friday, October 27, 2006  

  • That is a great story, indeed. It also made me think of an experiment we did in school, many many years ago, where we all lined up and the teacher whispered something to the first student, who had to relay it to the second, and so on until the end of the line repeated back what the teacher said. Of course, the original message and the final product were completely different, fully illustrating your point. And why, by the way, were you being given instruction by a third party? This manager so busy or important she can't give you the instruction herself? Seems like a twat, if you ask me...

    By Blogger Mike, at Sunday, October 29, 2006  

  • That experiment in school is one I did too, it's the fairly typical Chinese Whispers game.A lot of my Managers use that game as a tool to highlight the importance of communication issues, but I like my Grandad's story better lol!

    Talking of Managers; yeah she's a twat

    By Blogger Paul, at Monday, October 30, 2006  

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