It should not have been too taxing.
It was, after all, just the monthly meeting of the Worthing branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age) described in the Daily
Mail this week as "the most inspirational university in the world." It was both a statement and a challenge...
Rita was selling books and jigsaw puzzles on the Book Table. I handed over a carrier bag of books
I have read but will probably not read again (my criteria for books to pass on) and paid out a handsome 50p for Bill Bryson's "The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid " which I thought Mr B might like to read with me. It turned out that he has already read
it. Just a minor setback.
My friend Pam, whose task it is to arrange the speakers for our monthly meetings, was outside waiting for this afternoon's speaker to arrive. She asked me to check whether said speaker
had already arrived and to report back. I did my best but failed in my task to identify anyone who might be our speaker. As in, anyone who looked below retirement age. It's a bit of a giveaway.
failed in this task, I wandered into the kitchen to buy coffee and a biscuit each for Mr B and for me. My friend Shirley, who has taken over responsibility for All Things Refreshment Related, was behind the counter. Someone asked her if she knew how
to operate the dishwasher. Don't you just hate it when people ask you questions like that? Next time I ventured into the kitchen to return our empty coffee cups, Shirley was washing up cups and saucers in the sink. So much more Eco-friendly, don't you agree,
than using the dishwasher?
On a board at the back of the hall, a display of photographs for this month's photographic competition on the theme of "water droplets." I usually enter a photo, in support of Pam,
whose idea this competition was, but today I was a bit late in issuing instructions to Mr B to print out my photo. The winning photo is of raindrops on cobwebs. Quite poetic, I thought, and a worthy winner.
Our guest speaker told us all about the secrets of the Bayeux Tapestry. She was a very, very good speaker but I left the meeting all confused. Had she proved, beyond reasonable doubt, that the tapestry was the work of English embroiderers? Indeed, was
/ is it a tapestry or an embroidery? And does it matter? Who, exactly, was the hero of the story depicted in the tapestry? Was it Harold - he of the arrow in the eye? Or was it William? As in the Conqueror? Or, indeed, Odo? Whoever he might be. Who, or what,
was Charles the Rash? And does he have any descendants among our illustrious band of U3A members?
You might be thinking that I am casting doubt on the verdict of the Daily Mail that the U3A is the most inspirational
of universities - but, honestly, I am not. The basic premise of the U3A is that learning is for life, that we are never too old to increase our knowledge - whether that is of a foreign language, a musical skill, art, science - or the origins of the Bayeux
Tapestry. What's more, we all have skills, knowledge and experience to share with our peers - the U3A's courses are run by members, for members.
I'm not saying you need to believe everything you read in the
Daily Mail (heaven fore-fend!) But while we members may all have reached what Young Faris would term "A Great Age" the fact is that the University of the Third Age, of which I am proud to be a member, is indeed Truly Inspirational.