I arrived at the old, dark, wood-pannelled and musty smelling Council Chamber (after having been misdirected by these hopeless uni reception clerks once again... Someone should really supply them with a site-map of the uni building!!) to find one elderly lady sitting there on her own, waiting. She informed me that I was quite in the right place and that she expected the others to be here soon.
And soon they came: 14 people aged 60 years and older and there I was amongst them, smiling, beginning to feel very much out of place and wanting to leave. I stayed, of course, and the lecture proved to be interesting, although most of the information presented was not new to me.
Afterwards, the Oldies thanked me a hundred times for coming and expressed their hopes of seeing me again: A play reading would be the next occasion for gathering. Terence's Hecyra it would be and they would read it aloud with roles being evenly distributed. Oh, and, please, if I would come. That would be lovely. There would always a glass of wine and a few biscuits, really lovely, to be sure.
I was overwhelmed by their kindness and their enthusiasm and readily promised to put in an appearance, especially as I had not read any comedy by Terence before. (Moreover, I had lately begun to miss Roman comedy, acting and readings of that kind and the thought of it was, therefore, quite appealing).
Two weeks later I found my way to a tiny little room somewhere deep down in the dungeon of Uni Bangor, where I joined four members of the Classical Association. They were delighted to see me and so was I to join them - they are really sweet! Immediately, I was assigned the task of arranging digestives (= plain biscuits) on small plates ("Let the young do the work!") and was supplied with a little glass of port and a copy of an English translation of Terence's Comedies. I was going to be the young male protagonist Pamphilus (funny, innit?) and his ex-mistress Bacchis (likewise funny, considering the only Latin comedy I ever completely read in Latin was Plautus' "Bacchides") and off we went.
The enthusiasm and vivacity with which my fellow-readers dived straight into the comedy took me by surprise, but I played along with the same degree of commitment and we had a great many laughs during the following 90 minutes.
After having been reminded of the play-reading of Shakespeare's "Caesar" (which I had to turn down due to on-coming and eagerly anticipated visits) and invited to a field trip to a Roman fort in Conwy Valley in April (followed by having tea [i.e. dinner] together, which I was assured would always be really lovely) I bid the group a cheerful farewell and climbed several flights of stairs in an attempt to find my way out of the partly-locked building, leaving the Oldies to wait for the rescue team that would enable them to use the elevator.
I like this group. And I like their activities. And I do not mind at all that most of the members are 4 times older than I am because they are all charming, funny and welcoming to such an extent that I really look forward to the gathering.
And it can't hurt to keep my mind on the old Romans and their literature either.