When, over 45 years ago, Miss Fieldhouse first told me about the Battle of Hastings, I knew she was old, but I didn’t think she had actually witnessed it!
When a few short years later, Mr Throup told me about the beheading of King Charles, I didn’t think for a moment he was actually outside the Banqueting House when it happened.
Similarly, when Miss Smith spoke at length about the Ems Telegram, I was fairly sure that, old as she appeared, she had not actually seen the delivery take place.
And when Mr Lowe, in my college years, spoke about the People’s Budget of 1909 I took his word for it rather than try to imagine him having, some 70 years earlier, listened to David Lloyd George deliver it.
The point, you might well ask, what’s the point.
A few days ago, while running my little legs off on the treadmill in one of the gyms I frequent, I spotted two young men almost totally ignore the trained instructor giving them an induction session while preferring to pose and “throw some shapes” in front of one of the many mirrors.
Moments later I heard them say something along the lines of “don’t know what that fat old bloke thinks he can teach us about using a gym”.
For a moment, I must admit, I thought they were actually talking about me!
But then I realised the “fat old bloke” in question was actually a 20-something fully-qualified gym instructor without an ounce of fat on him.
It actually set me thinking about how you actually learn things.
Miss Fieldhouse didn’t watch King Harold gets his eye full of arrow.
Mr Throup wasn’t among those who, collectively, made the loudest groan ever heard in England.
Miss Smith probably never set foot in Prussia and I am sure Mr Lowe never met Lloyd George, and his father probably didn’t know him either.
But they knew what they were talking about and were trained to share that knowledge ... as was the gym instructor who was just trying to make sure the two youths didn’t do themselves any harm in front of the mirrors!