So I had plenty of time to prepare, to think and to plan. And to worry. Last time I took the study I was casual and not very well-prepared - and it wasn't very good - but not anxious. This time I was a nervous wreck.
And I really threw a wobbly when Rowland walked in. Rowland is a very wise old Christian. He's been to Zac's only once before (to my knowledge) and he sat quietly and listened. He's a very lovely gentle man but so much better equipped than I in all fields bible-study-related.
Ric slapped me around the face (he didn't really, at least not physically) and said, 'Don't do it then! We'll have an open evening.'
'No, I must do it. I can't let Sean down.' I took a deep breath. 'I can do this; I can do this.'
So we finally got started, once all the smokers had been rounded up from outside and everyone had their coffee and there was something like an expectant hush. No, who am I fooling? It was nothing like a hush, expectant or otherwise; it was a hive of noise.
'Um, um, hello, um, good evening, um.'
'SHUT UP!' That was Baz I think.
So finally we started.
I did the welcome bit and the introduction and had just asked for volunteers to read when Ric, who was sitting at the bar near me, whispered out of the corner of his mouth, 'Prayer.'
'Prayer? OH, YES! I've forgotten the opening prayer!'
Which wouldn't have mattered so much if I hadn't made a point of asking Ric beforehand if he'd do it. Brain like a sieve.
From there all went smoothly. If you can call practically coming to blows over whether Ozzy Osbourne is or is not a Christian going smoothly. An animated discussion may be a better description. Several animated discussions in the course of the evening in fact.
At one point Baz told us about an ex-prostitute who now leads a church and who wears fishnets and a miniskirt when giving a sermon and I thought, 'I have those! I could wear them next week!'
But lots of people participated and there was serious discussion and a number of questions that warrant a more in-depth answer than it was possible to give in that context. And it went on longer than usual. Or, more to the point, I couldn't make myself heard in order to suggest drawing to a close so it went on and on.
And after it was all over Rowland came up to me smiling and said, 'Well done, Liz.' I think my head must have swelled noticeably.
And what's more I got 'appraised' on my way back to the car afterwards. A car driven by a youngish man slowed down and he looked me up and down. Then drove off quickly ...
I told Husband about it. He said, 'You know what sort of women men cruising in cars late at night are looking for?'
'Yes, but I'm still chuffed that he thought I could be one.'
Husband looked at me.
'Okay,' I said, 'maybe I didn't think that through properly.'
Maybe I won't wear the fishnets and miniskirt next week.