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Underlining the differences

I tend towards the curmudgeonly. I never dance in public. I never sing along to anything in the range from Happy Birthday to the 23rd Psalm. When other people have are having a good time I'm often to be found leaning against the bar smoking too many cigars. Chatting's OK but turn up the volume a tad and I give in and get back to smoking and leaning or just pursing my lips and staring into the distance.

I mentioned the 40th Anniversary goings on at Maggie's school. Last night we went to an evening meal to celebrate. The place was a rather strange converted disco but if you have a couple of hundred people than you need a biggish place.

Tables had a theme, old teachers, class of '71 or, in our case Infant teachers. It was a table of about 15 people and they were extremely friendly and welcoming. Every time I attempted to speak though I stumbled over familiar words, forgot things - it's called Speaking in Indian here. Chatting gone. I clammed up.

The tables were nicely set and we had several wine glasses. The glasses acted as a sort of protective barrier to the bottles of drink in the centre of the table. It was a big table and required a lot of "Pleas pass the grits, John Boy." By now I wasn't keen on failing to speak. My drinking was rationed.

After dinner entertainment involved each table leading the community singing of a particular song. The songs were perennial sing along favourites for a fortysomething crowd, like getting Brits to do Waterloo. The Spaniards lapped it up, Maggie who is much more fun loving than me was in there. I just kept thinking how I hate singalongs and feeling sorry for myself because I didn't have a clue about the songs.

Dancing to finsh off. Excellent. It didn't matter much that I knew none of the tunes. The tables emptied, the way to the bar was clear and smoke drited gently into the air.

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