I have to give one of my talks next week, this time on the Battle of Waterloo. The problem is that I have several different versions of it and they seem to spread over my computer, the 'Memsahib's lap-top and sundry memory sticks. The reason for the multitude of versions is that I have had to change them for different audiences at different times. Sometimes, like the Officers' Mess at Boscombe Down, they are military types who do actually know a bit more than ex-corporal Duff but at other times they can be the equally fearsome ladies of the Women's Institute who wouldn't know a canon from a howitzer - although I bet it wouldn't take them long to find out how to fire them! Then there is the nature of the engagement itself. Rather like the outbreak of WWI, the run-up to the battle is slightly more interesting than the battle itself. Bonaparte's decision to strike at the hinge between the Brits and the Prussians in Belgium was masterly but having taken Charleroi he began to show his lack of what Montgomery always called 'grip'. A decade earlier, and in his prime, he would never have allowed both the Prussians and the Brits to escape as they did, respectively, from Ligny and Quatre Bras. A day or two later at the actual Battle of Waterloo he would pay the price for that lack of grip.
Anyway, I have tried splitting the subject into two separate talks but that didn't work, and I have trimmed both halves and tried to weld them together but that is tricky because I only get an hour maximum and most prefer a minimum! This is hell for an old bore like me who could boom on for nearly as many hours as 'Boney's opening cannonade! Anyway, I have now melded the two talks fairly satisfactorily but I had to do it on the Memsahib's machine which is MS7 (I think) and my machine, which is MS8, and like an old Duchess (of Richmond, perhaps!) doesn't care to converse with MS7. Not a major problem because I use the 'memsahib's lap-top for the purposes of projecting my PowerPoint creations but I don't feel entirely comfortable without a copy on a memory stick, in case her machine breaks down and I have to borrow another one. But will her machine down-load onto my memory stick - of course not! That means an emergency telephone conversation with 'SoD' this evening in which he will get even grumpier and keep repeating his favourite line - "I told you how to do that a dozen times!" I hope I'm still around when he gets really old!
Anyway, no more time for chattering here, I now have to type myself an entirely new script - such fun!