Well, perhaps my eloquent, landmark talk failed to lift the roof but at the end there were a few desultory claps followed immediately by some snorts and snores as some of the audience woke up! However, I bring you glad tidings - and I know that some of you were very worried for me! - because all the electrical thingies did as they were told. First of all they obeyed my orders to remain in the various pockets and flaps I had assigned to them. (I know you'll find this hard to believe but sometimes I put all the bits and pieces in specific places but just as I come to the part where I unload them prior to assembly I find that they have moved during the night! Either that or the 'Memsahib' creeps down during the night and moves them around!) Anyway, today all the 'thingies' were sitting in their allotted places waiting for me. Thus, with absolute confidence, I quickly joined A to B and B to C and so on and the only real hitch came when I could not, absolutely NOT, open my PowerPoint file. Panic ensued and I nearly broke my finger clicking that bloody-bloody useless mouse-thingie but still nothing happened and, with the sweat trickling down my back, I was about to announce that the talk was off when suddenly I realised that someone - total bastard! - had plugged my remote control stick into the place where my memory stick, containing the entire PP programme, should have been. The red mist was about to descend but just in time I remembered it could only have been me who misplaced the device and so, with a nonchalent, good humoured chuckle (what an actor!) I quickly changed them over and everything worked - pheeeeew!
I began by admitting that this talk on historical grand strategy was going to be delivered by a man who only just made Corporal, which caused a few eyebrows to rise amongst those who were obviously former military officers. Then I told them that it was mainly concerned with events during six short weeks in August/September 1914 - and they all smiled - but that I would begin in the year 216BC with the Battle of Cannae - that wiped the smile off their faces and watches were surreptitiously consulted. Anyway, with that, I was up, up and away until God knows how long later I ground to a halt like Tiger tank running out of fuel. I was gratifed to see that several members of the audience had their eyes closed presumably to concentrate even harder on my words. Spendid chaps, all of them, and they deserve Long Service and Good Conduct medals all round.