Jaqui's Daily Blog

The Book Stall, the Biscuit Buyer and Monthly Meetings

Rita is on the book stall which, as usual, is at the back of the hall. She tells me she is a bit jet-lagged having just endured an eight hour flight back from her holiday destination. She says she may have to reconsider her holiday plans in future as she isn’t getting any younger – but I know Rita and I am ready to bed that once she is over her jet lag, she will be planning her next long-haul holiday without a qualm. I buy a couple of books, because I always do, just to keep Rita happy. Both are books I have read before but there’s nothing wrong with repeating yourself. I do it all the time when writing the Daily Blog, as I am sure you will have noticed.  


Mr B and I are at the monthly meeting of the Worthing branch of the U3A (University of the Third Age.) While I am discussing jet-lag with Rita, Mr B is in the kitchen, buying me a cup of coffee and a biscuit. At lunchtime, I will have you know, he treated me to a tuna and cucumber sandwich in the League of Friends cafe at Worthing Hospital. Mr B knows how to give a gal a good time.   


I think there must be a new Biscuit Buyer on the U3A Committee. Usually the biscuit accompanying our coffee is a trifle disappointing like a Nice biscuit or one of those malt biscuits with a cow on them – do you know the ones I mean? Whoever had the idea of putting a picture of a cow on a biscuit and thinking it would add to its appeal? I mean, really! Anyway, today Mr B returns from the kitchen with a rather delicious shortbread biscuit. So delicious is it that I completely forget that today is Weightwatchers Weigh-In Day. Our Leader will not be pleased with me.


We save a place for our friends Delia and Jim. Delia arrives first. Jim is collecting his prescriptions from the chemist.  We look around the hall and wave at everyone we know. It is quite amazing just how many people we do know, bearing in mind we have only been members of U3A for just over eighteen months.  Mr B buys us a strip of raffle tickets. This is a triumph of hope over experience as we have never won a raffle prize at the monthly meeting, despite always doing our little bit towards the group’s finances by purchasing at least one strip of tickets.


Delia and I have a discussion about why we continue to attend monthly meetings so faithfully.  We decide that we come, month after month, because it is important to stay in touch. These are our friends, we agree companionably, and the monthly meetings are a kind of old-fashioned version of Facebook where we share brief snippets of information about our latest life events, but face to face, rather than via a computer.


At every meeting there is a guest speaker, some of whom are pretty good, some of whom are pretty awful.  Today’s speaker is talking about Foreign Aid and his work for Oxfam’s Development Programme. It’s a rather depressing presentation, pointing out with awful clarity how little of the money we contribute to so many worthy causes actually benefits the people we think it will. Mr B gives me a nudge, to point out that this is exactly what he is always telling me.  Our speaker goes on to explain his work with various business development programmes in a number of different countries where the women, in particular, have been empowered to set up businesses ranging from cheese shops to factories producing skincare products. 80% of these businesses are run by women, our speaker tells us, citing this as an example of the liberation of the female of the species.  During a brief question time, following his talk, one of our number asks what the men were doing, while the women were slaving away establishing their businesses. Apparently they are drinking beer and playing chess. What price liberation, ladies?


Delia and I can’t make up our minds whether we should attend the next Convenors’ Meeting. Or rather, we know we should attend, but do we want to? “Convenors” is a posh word for the people who organise and host the various interest groups run for the benefit of U3A members.  Since last September I have been the Convenor of the Nomination Whist Group but so far I have only attended one Convenors Meeting. They are held on Saturday mornings which isn’t a good day for me as my weekends are so often taken up with Family Business.  We still haven’t made our minds up when they start drawing out the raffle prizes.  After eight prizes have been collected, I am still clutching my tickets hopefully. Delia points out that basically unless you win one of the first three or four prizes, the rest are hardly worth winning but I still keep on hoping. We don’t win anything anyway, worth it or not.


Next month it’s the Annual Garden Party. Apparently we have to take our own chairs which might be a tad awkward on the Pulse bus. We are promised strawberries and wine and - wait for it - a Puppet Show.


You couldn’t make it up, could you?

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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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