The bits when I wasn't reading? Yes, that's about right; most people prefer me when I don't open my mouth.
No, I knew what he meant and I didn't disillusion him. I didn't say that the pauses were less for dramatic effect and more for me to scramble around in my brain to try and remember the next line.
I didn't do Joyce Grenfell but told the shepherds' story from the point of view of an old man looking back to when he'd been a boy out in the fields with his father watching the sheep. I started by telling the elderly that they'd have to imagine I was an old man. I said, 'You can probably get the old bit but the man bit might be harder.' As I was saying it I thought, 'Actually I probably look young to them.' Which was quite a nice thought.
There were about 12 old people - only one man - for the lovely tea, and they seemed to appreciate it. The group, taking time out of busy schedules to put it on every month, is doing a great job, picking up, spending time with, befriending and chatting to people who might well be lonely otherwise.
The temperature in the rooms the tea was being held in was tropical. Just walking through the door you could feel the wall of heat. Nerves added to my rise in temperature and by the time I'd read I had huge droplets of perspiration on my back. I said to Debs, 'Feel that!'
And it occurred to me straight after I'd forced her to touch my sweaty back that it probably wasn't a nice thing to do. It must have been stress; I wouldn't normally be so crass surely? Then again ...
When I got there I asked Elin why there was only grape juice and no wine and she said, 'they knew you were coming.'
'Excuse me, I don't drink!'
'Oh, no, well, it's just you behave as if you do.'