Are you any good at saying 'No' and meaning it? Oh dear - if you are then lucky you, because I do find it awfully difficult to do so. This morning friend E rang to tell me that her speaker for next Friday had called off at the last minute and would I step in. For many years I have done a talk to local groups on water power in our village and the surrounding area. After hesitating I agreed - after all, E is a friend and having been secretary of a society for a long time myself, I know how hard it is to find somebody at short notice.
After ringing off I opened the drawer to look for my notes - they are missing, I suspect destroyed when I decided never to do the talk again. I found the slides that accompanied the talk but as it is more than twenty years since I took them and they are faded (plus my handling of antiquated equipment is as far past its sell by date as the equipment itself). 'Never mind', I thought, 'I will re-do the research from the book I have on the subject.' I can't find the book.
However, a wide network of friends has stepped in and a book belonging to a friend is on its way to me - so problem solved. Well, not altogether - I still have to put together three quarters of an hour of talking to a group, many of whom will know at least as much as I do about my subject matter. Luckily, I am never nervous in such circumstances - so this research and the final talk will do me a lot of good in the long run.
But this is just to say that normal service will be resumed here on my blog when I have done all the research - and also written a piece on Le Tour de France in Wensleydale for our Wednesday Writers' Group. Did anyone ask if I am retired these days?