I gave my Shaking Hands with History talk to St Albans U3A (University of the Third Age) today. I followed Animal Architecture and the next talk in their series of talks is Open Wide: A Short History of Dentistry. They have eclectic interests, these U3Aers.
It was perfectly sweltering outside and the inside of the shimmering green main hall of the Highfield Centre was like a furnace, so I am grateful to them for at least not giving the impression of going to sleep. Because I always do the talk ex-tempore, it can sometimes be a voyage of discovery for me as well when I realise I have left out one of the key stories and need to rebuild the talk as I go along. I don't have any props and simply wave my hands a lot. I keep asking myself if I should generate some illustrations and do a powerpoint presentation with illustrations from the Battle of Waterloo to the July 7th London Bombings. But on balance I will continue to attempt to paint word pictures in the best traditions of From Our Own Correspondent. I think it more or less works. I am happy to speak to any local groups so please do not hesitate to get in touch.