The Hindleg of a Donkey
rather surprisingly given advancing (or retreating?) years has had his Honorary Fellowship at Embra University renewed for a (rather cautious) further year. At least I think the fellowship has been extended although I have nothing in writing from 'Languages, Literatures and Cultures' which is one of my cover organisations within the Uni. Anyhow I appear in the 2006/7 Academic Year diary so I must exist. Moreover I am about to teach again this coming week-and we have a record number of students registered for Modern Middle East History. Over a 100 and have had to relocate to one of the biggest lecture theatres in the hope that most of those on our books bother to attend the lectures.
Last year the rooms were overheated and it was quite a challenge to keep most of the 'audience' awake after a good lunch-the students had the' good' lunch rather than me. One of my colleagues, fed up with snoozing students, tried the experiment of leaving the room during his lecture to see if anyone noticed. As he had left, and kept on going, he had no idea at the time if his absence had been noted although later one of his students told him a much he had enjoyed such a comprehensive treatment of the subject. I have only had one sleeping person (that I have noticed) who woke up with a jump and left the room abruptly. I subsequently established that he realised, on waking that he was at the wrong lecture.
It will be change to be talking at the young rather than the other round of Unis of the Third Age, Rotary Clubs, Guilds and Most recently a Very well patronised organisation which called itself The Over Sixties Youth Club. This ended with the first raffle I have known at which there were the same number of prizes as participants. It is better than some other groups which ask the guest speaker to judge some competition-best postcard, snapshot, souvenir or handicraft.Here you can only make one friend and countless new enemies which is why they ask a stranger(at the end of the proceedings) to be the Solomon. If you did the judger bit at the beginning you would have to speak to the usual audience of twelve, one glowing with the pride the others glowering with resentment.
At the end of the 'Youth Club' having drunk my tea and pocketed my winnings(Sugared Almonds) I was accosted by a very elderly (even by over sixty youth club standards) lady. ' Were you our speaker?' She asked anxiously. I said I was' 'Will you be coming next week? -Even more anxiously. 'No' I said.
'Ah. I'll be there' She said. No anxiety.
Just eager anticipation.