Today I spent ages preparing a pie chart for college. And when I say “ages” I mean  ages. I followed the text book, but at times it said ‘Ask Excel Help’ – if I tell you that the instructions take up pages 139-181 you will have some idea of how complicated this can be. It was boring and frustrating, and it wasn’t helped by the fact that my husband is trying to put on a new door for our wet room right next door.  Lunch tasted all the better when both jobs were done.

In the middle of all this my daughter and grandson came into Skype – one of my favourite modern inventions. Charlie is only 5 months old. His only work so far is to learn to roll over and to smile and wave at his gran. Would I be satisfied with absolutely no responsibilities? Probably not.  But according to T.H. Huxley “The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of childhood into maturity.”  

Last night a group of us – average age probably just over 40 got together, we all have busy lives and belong to a group which meets every month to try and improve life in our local community. Usually there are agendas and reports, and it can be very formal, especially when it comes to financial matters, but last night we let our hair down, and relived a little bit of our childhoods: We had a Beetle Drive  – a silly game with dice that most people play aged about seven or so and then forget all about.  I last played it in the Brownies , when I would have been about 8.  After this we had a Pot Luck Supper – that is one where everybody contributes one dish and all share. There was soup, bread, curried savouries, curd tarts ( a local speciality) and lots of cakes , fancy and plain.

Then we had a quiz. This gave the quiz master plenty of opportunity to boss us all about. Usually such quizzes are quite general, but this one was all about Christmas. It was good fun, and I came third, which I was quite pleased with.

It was a rather childish evening, Lots of giggling, and cries of ‘Your turn . Come on. Hurry up.’ There was even some cheating – and it was all great fun – also , another hint of childhood , we didn’t have to wash up. Someone else offered to do that.

It wasn’t an evening I would have planned and it was all rather silly really, but I’m glad I went. It was a chance to see another side of people who are normally rather staid and grown up. For one night only we forgot all that. Most such groups would have gone out for a meal, or to the theatre, but instead we all stepped back in time – just for an hour or two.

As a mature learner you may find everything a bit overwhelming from time to time.  Exams and tests looming, books that have to be read, piling up …  Take a bit of time out, let your hair down, and play, in English of course.