Tomorrow morning spare a thought for an innocent group of gentlemen who are to be regaled with my PowerPoint talk on How the Germans Lost WWI in the First Six Weeks. Yes, indeed, what have they done to deserve that - except being daft enough to book me? However, today you may spare a thought, a sympathetic thought, for me, that's me, as in me, me, me! You see, unlike my Shakespeare talks which are just non-stop yadda-yadda, my military ones come in the form of all-dancing, all-singing PowerPoint presentations which require the services of a computer, a projector, special speakers, a remote control, two memory sticks (in case I lose one!), a computer mouse (because I cannot get on with those touch-pad-thingies) and they all have to be connected up to each other which requires several miles of cabling (well, it seems like several miles) in various forms and lengths - and all with different plug designs requiring different sockets which I can never find. Now, at this point you may already have an inkling of the problem. Yes, indeed, the final requirement is a man who is capable of putting all those 'thingies' together and not just together but together in the right order - and all inside 20 minutes under the barely disguised, sniggering hilarity of the audience as they await the opening! Of course, there are always one or three wiseacres amongst them who claim to know all about computer/projector electrics and who insist on offering their advice and even, on occasions, actually stepping in to plug this or that into that or the other! How I haven't actually murdered any of them them is a testament to my innate good manners.
I have been giving these talks for several years now but the military ones are relatively rare and because I keep putting my memory down somewhere and forgetting where, so, each time I have to put myself through a re-education course in electrical and computer engineering in order to relearn the exercise. I do this in our kitchen/diner and so far today I am glad to report I have only kicked the cat once and had two rows with the 'Memsahib' who seems to regard the kitchen much as France regarded Alsace-Lorraine! Anyway, it has taken me hours to get everything together and I have just paused to allow time for my blood pressure to settle and then I shall go downstairs for one last rehearsal of exactly how all those bloody-bloody bits and pieces and odds and sods all join up!
Why wasn't I born with techie-type skills?