….said nobody to me EVER!
Simply because, if you must know, I didn’t grow my hair to any great length until I already had a job and my mother finally stopped paying for my haircuts – meaning that I could get it cut when I wanted!
So, the “get a job” and the “long-haired” parts of the title never applied to me.
And the “layabout” part? Well, I was a teenaged boy in the early 1970s and I was in what used to be called the Civil Service – I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Regular readers of the autobiographical elements in this blog will know that I managed (with a few short gaps in later years) to remain working in some capacity or other right up until I was able to jack it all in 2 years ago and, finally, get to be a long-haired layabout!
Only now, of course, the hair has largely gone! What’s left is grey and I think it would look rather silly worn at shoulder length or more now.
Which left me with just being a layabout and, rather surprisingly, I am finding that state not to be as satisfying as I thought it would be!
Apart from household chores – decorating and such – my time is spent doing two mornings per week volunteering at the library and one, or possibly two, afternoons in the nearby Ferry Meadows Country Park shooting arrows at big straw targets 50 or 60 yards away. And, of course, seeing as much as possible of my grandchildren.
The Archery takes care of my physical exercise and, currently, my mental stimulation comes from writing stuff like this, making extremely witty responses to my old school friends on Facebook, and, very rarely, having to think through some knotty computer question presented by one of my “pupils” at the library on a Tuesday morning. I have to say that by that I don’t mean the old chestnut of “which one’s the ‘ANY’ key?” when confronted with “press any key to continue” but things a little more complicated!
So, no danger of serious brain burnout or stress – which is nice – but…
“Use it or lose it” spring to mind and I wouldn’t want my mighty intellect to be lost to mankind before it has to be!
Before I could start seriously looking for “something else”, however, two things have come up in connection with my existing interests and activities and these should provide me with a bit more of a mental workout.
The first, and probably the least challenging, of the two happened when both the Secretary and the Chairman of my Archery Club simultaneously resigned because of family and work-related problems respectively. Thus leaving the Committee two key people short.
While I have only been a member for just over a year, I offered my services to the club for the simple reason that I believe that you cannot always just take. I have noticed that many club members are happy to turn up, shoot and depart again without helping set up or put away the equipment – they want everything done for them by “someone” and I don’t want to be like that!
Mind you, I still have absolutely NO experience or real knowledge of what it takes to run an archery club and the Secretary’s job seems to be the one that is the most complicated, necessitating as it does knowing a whole raft of legal and Archery GB rules and regulations! I had a discussion with the Club Treasurer and we agreed that jumping in at that level is probably not going to be a good idea.
The Chairman position, while sounding prestigious, is actually easier and it is possible that I will wind up with that. I think that controlling Committee meetings and presenting prizes at our (very few) tournaments should not be beyond me.
A meeting of our currently unconstitutional committee has been arranged for the end of May and we will see what happens.
The second opportunity arose in some degree from the events of last year when my home town of Ipswich hosted the Annual Gathering and Annual General Meeting of British Mensa. In the article that I wrote about that last September, I reported my attendance as an “observer” at a Mensa Regional Officers’ meeting, which happened to take place on the same day that I was in Ipswich for a school reunion.
What I did not mention (that article exceeded 2000 words even without side issues!) was that a week or so before the meeting I had emailed, as a matter of courtesy, the lady listed on the Mensa website as the Local Secretary for Peterborough. I advised of my proposed attendance, asked if she would be going and, if not, offered to “deputise” for her and raise any Peterborough related issues on her behalf.
With a few days still to go, I got a reply to the effect that she had not, in fact, been the Local Secretary for Peterborough for some time now but had forwarded my email to her replacement (from whom I heard nothing) who Mensa Central Office was unaware of.
I dutifully passed this information and the new contact details to the Regional Officer who was to make the necessary contact and revision to the records.
I then forgot all about it until about 4 weeks ago when it occurred to me that I was still (it has actually been like this for most of the 24 years I’ve lived here) receiving no notifications of any meetings or events in the Peterborough area and this might be the time to arrange something myself.
Now, it has always been the case that any Mensa member can organise any event they please in their area but it is advisable to clear this with the local officer and the Meetings Co-ordinator for the Region to prevent “fixture clashes” (very unlikely in Peterborough) so I thought I would check whether the website details had been amended yet.
They had been amended – but not how I had expected!
The Local Secretary entry for Peterborough (postcodes PE1 to PE11) now read “Position Vacant”. So, in a moment of madness I dashed off a message to Mensa Central Office in Wolverhampton asking how to go about applying for the vacancy!
I was expecting at least an application form, possibly an interview; anything, in fact except an IQ Test!
What actually happened was that my tentative exploratory query got forwarded to the aforementioned Regional Officer with a note attached saying “One for you, Tony”. That gentleman then emailed me asking for details of what I planned to organise and inviting me to the upcoming Regional Officers’ Meeting (travel expenses paid) in Clacton-on Sea.
So, it appears that the answer to my question about the application process is, simply, “express an interest and you’re in!”
I am writing the draft of these last few paragraphs on the long train journey back from sunny Clacton where I have been confirmed in the role of “Events Organiser” (the term “Local Secretary” having fallen out of favour at Head Office) and have come away from the meeting with a few more ideas!
I have also just learned that an emergency committee meeting of the Archery Club will take place next Tuesday and I’m invited to that – with some likelihood of having a job of sorts there too!
You don’t think I’m overstretching myself do you?