Peter has turned up for our meeting clutching his new tablet. We’re talking IT here, not medication, I’ll have you know. We may have reached a Great Age according to my youngest grandson, but we are not yet
Three of the four of us look remarkably efficient and tuned into modern technology which is, you have to admit, somewhat impressive. Not quite as impressive
as the palatial surroundings of Committee Room 1 in the Town Hall which could accommodate five times as many of us with ease. We have access to a lap-top on which the Truly Remarkable Natasha has set up a website containing a list of hundreds of consultants
set out in something called The Marketplace. Our task this morning is to amend two project briefs, agree a timetable – and identify a short list of consultants who might be able to deliver our project. I am nominally in charge and feel a
bit like Amanda Redman in New Tricks, trying to keep my Three Musketeers in order – though clearly I am nowhere near as elegant.
Three of the four of us
are retired but we fall back quickly into work mode, albeit rather more relaxed. We argue amiably over suggested amendments to the project briefs and I scribble away on my copies of the two documents trying to incorporate everyone’s comments. OK,
I know what you are going to say – where is my I-Pad and why am I not tapping in the amendments electronically? Good question. No, I don’t have a good answer, except that, despite our proliferation of mobile devices, we have all gravitated
towards the paper version with which we feel far more comfortable. We clearly have a Long Way To Go before we can claim to have embraced the Modern World of Mobile Technology.
Before we leave the project briefs we need to insert a timetable which requires us to identify dates when we would be available to interview our short-listed consultants. I am proud to say that I immediately pulled up my Calendar on my I-Pad,
busily swiping through November for free dates while two of the three Musketeers fumbled in their pockets for their diaries and the third admitted, sheepishly, that he had forgotten my prior instructions to come thus armed. I had, to be fair, spent so long
this morning updating the calendar with reference to my old-fashioned desk diary that I nearly missed the 9.30 bus to town...
The best, however, was yet to come
as we pored over the laptop trying to make sense of the Marketplace. There was, some might say, far too much laughter considering the seriousness of the task we were undertaking but, hey, whoever said that hilarity couldn’t be combined with Serious Intent.
Malcolm says I am the worst typist he has ever encountered as I endeavour to type names into the search bar but keep hitting the wrong keys. We try to interpret various consultants’ jargon, each of us freely admitting to our own private biases.
It’s one of the pleasures of being retired that we can be totally ourselves – and I think we bring more to our voluntary positions as a result. One of the Three Musketeers has to leave for another meeting (I bet it wasn’t half as much fun)
but the rest of us complete our task, emerging with an initial list of eight consultancies for our Chief Officer to contact for their availability. I give my colleagues homework, in the form of another list of potential consultancies to research in the Marketplace
at home. We all agree that it has been a constructive, productive and strangely enjoyable morning.
I catch the bus home, phoning Mr B to tell him I am on my way.
He says we are going out for lunch to the Sea Lane Cafe where yesterday I sheltered from the pouring rain with the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her children, aka Team Baldwin. What a difference a day makes! Today it is so warm, so sunny, so very,
very mild that we are able to sit at a table outside the cafe. I even take my coat off. It doesn’t seem fair that the one day of the week that the family came to visit we had pouring rain when every other day this week has been quite spectacularly fine.
We enjoy a glass of Pinot Grigio with our meal and watch the passers by – including three rather splendid horses and their riders out for a bit of beach-side exercise.
I tell Mr B a bit about my productive morning with the Three Musketeers, he tells me that the missing parts from our new dishwasher have arrived in the post.
right with the world.