Z put her foot on a tussock and found herself in a deep and boggy hole

It was A’s fault. He called me over cheerily and introduced me to her, saying we had an interest in Latin in common. I replied with an enthusiastic agreement, although adding that I hadn’t studied it for 35 years and had forgotten most of it. Within moments, I realised that A’s cheerfulness had been at the thought of getting himself out of a situation – that it was at the expense at getting me into it was an unfortunate, but ultimately unimportant, detail.

She said that she was gathering together a group of people with a view to taking Latin classes and was glad of my interest, because I could join them … what day would suit me? It was almost too late to back-pedal, at least to someone who won’t easily take ‘no’ for an answer.

She’s now sent me an application form for the U3A and says that the classes will start in March. Now, it’s true that I like Latin and I’m sorry that I hardly know anything of the language now, but I’m not in tune with her ideas anyway. She said dismissively that she’s not interested in poetry or any other literature, but that grammar is the thing and that’s what we’ll study. Of course, grammar is fundamental to Latin and you won’t get far without it, but it’s a means to an end, surely, not the end in itself.

I want to take clarinet lessons and I’ve started to help in the music department at the high school since I saw her. In fact, I’m doing more altogether at the school now – I’ve reached a stage where I either quit as a governor or do more, because I’ve been coasting for a year or two. I just don’t think I can take on something else, especially not just out of good-nature. She has only got a few people involved, and if one drops out the whole plan may fold – but I can’t help that. In fact, one of the teachers at the school is looking into an online Latin GCSE course, and I’d be more interested in offering to get involved with that if it were to happen.

Maybe I’m being too negative? But I feel pushed and I don’t like that. Oh dear. I’ll have to compose a letter of extrication and explanation.

11 comments on “Z put her foot on a tussock and found herself in a deep and boggy hole

  1. Dave

    Gaudeo te illud de me rogavisse.

    Mihi crede, hoc mihi magis quam tibi nocet.

    Catapultam habeo. Nisi pecuniam omnem mihi dabis, ad caput tuum saxum immane mittam.

  2. Z

    I rejoice that you have requested this of me.

    Believe me, this hurts me more than it hurts you.

    I have a catapult. Unless all money you give to me, I will send an immense stone towards your head.

    If this doesn’t work, nothing will. Unless I’ve translated it all wrong that is.

  3. Z

    *waves to Grumio and Caecilius* (in two different directions, of course)

    It seems that I will have to take Latin lessons after all; the two of you will soon test my Latin beyond its limits. Eheu, indeed.

  4. Z

    She felt she had cause to be rather negative about the sociability of the society’s members and I was being my usual encouraging self – when I realised she wasn’t just making small talk I was already in quite deep. Yes, I’ll have to tell her, but I think that she will take it to demonstrate that I’m all talk and no action. At the time, she asked what days I had free and I said I’d none, regularly, but she didn’t want to hear that and brushed it aside.

  5. Dandelion

    dear z, have you gone mad? U3A? Have you clicked on that link? It doesn’t mean the Upper Third, you know. Run away.

    You can make disappointed noises while telling her firmly that you don’t have the time after all, can’t you?

  6. Z

    No, I haven’t read anything about it, I feel too depressed at the thought. The whole thing just isn’t me, I know it. I can’t actually bear to read it.


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