The noise level in the Church Hall has reached mega proportions. It is almost impossible to hear anyone who isn’t actually shouting in your ear. Plus, there are only 40 of us in the hall at the moment. As soon as
they open the doors to the hordes, it is going to get a whole lot worse.
We are here, Mr B and I, for the annual U3A (that’s the University of the Third
Age for those of you not in the know) Enrolment Day. We have been required to turn up half an hour early as we are brand new “convenors”, having volunteered to set up a Nomination Whist Group – of which more later.
Our Chairman tries, desperately and generally unsuccessfully, to bring us to order. She has the benefit of a microphone which should, in theory, enable her to be heard above the clamour. However everyone
is nattering away to their neighbouring convenor and nobody appears to be listening to our Esteemed Chairman. Apart from me, that is. As a new convenor, I am on My Best Behaviour. Which is more than can be said of the rest.
What is it about Retired People? When did we become so rebellious? Is it simply that, after years of doing (mainly) what we are told, we are determined not to kow-tow to any kind of authority?
Or perhaps, in this case, everyone has heard it all before. We appear to be the only new convenors in the room, so it’s all fresh to us. The Convenor of the Convenors
Group (I know, you couldn’t make it up, could you?) reports, more in sorrow than in anger, that rather fewer than half of the convenors turn up for the regular meetings. Is there a reason for this? he inquires. One convenor raises her hand and suggests
it may be because the meetings are on a Saturday morning. This is the first I have heard of the timing – oh, dear, Saturday mornings may be a problem for me, too. I try to find Mr B across the crowded room to see what he thinks about this but I
can’t see him. He is either outside enjoying a crafty cigarette or in the kitchen fetching us both a cup of coffee and a biscuit. I know where I hope he is.
Last Word before the doors open is from our Chairman who tells us that we must stay at our posts right up until 12 noon, just in case any Late Comers turn up at five to twelve and want to join our groups. My neighbouring convenor sighs loudly. I get
the impression she doesn’t want to stay till 12 o’clock if she can possibly help it. She tells me that she has a full group already and doesn’t really want anybody else to join. I agree with her that this must be frustrating. I wish I had
a full group.
Doors open! People flood in. Most make straight for the enrolment table which happens to be right next door to my table. I keep thinking I have
hordes of people wanting to sign up to play Nomination Whist every other Wednesday afternoon, only to be disappointed when they just want to pay their subs and buy a U3A diary.
I try not to let Mr B explain to potential group members how Nomination Whist is played. He makes it sound far, far more complicated than it is. I cannot complain, however, because he has produced a really helpful leaflet about our new group, including
a map which shows both our house and the nearest bus stops. I like the fact that this makes us appear very professional. Even if we are not.
The noise level has
escalated. It is almost impossible now to hear what anyone is saying. There are only so many times you can say “Pardon?” without sounding really rude, don’t you think?
Come 12 o’clock and we have a Full House for our group. I am thrilled. Next Wednesday will see the launch of the U3A Nomination Whist Group. Don’t worry, I will tell you all about it next week. I am sure there will
be lots to tell, if only about the biscuits we will provide.
I did find time, while Mr B was looking after our table, to sign up for the Bird Watching Group. It
meets once a month, which is just fine by me. I am hoping I will learn a lot more about our Feathered Friends with the help of this group. Mr B said he would pass on this one. Possibly because it involved too much traipsing about over hill and dale. We
have, however, joined the Canasta group together, even though neither of us know how to play the game. The first meeting is this Friday night. Watch this space for progress reports – or, more likely, Lack Of Progress Reports.
What did you say? Sorry, I couldn’t hear a thing....