In the teaching profession INSET , or in-service training, is a fact of life. When you’ve put a few years service in, you’ll have taken part in many INSET days, and I think that all of us, whichever school we work in, can tell stories about some pretty rum sorts we’ve had in from outside to talk to us on different occasions. One of the more successful days I can recall was when we were visited by a GP , who specialized in advising various professions on ways of dealing with stress. His first observation was that almost all men have a thing. Ooh , matron. What he meant was that men are far more likely to have a consuming interest than women. Women , being to be honest far more sensible than men, get interested in things, but manage to keep a sense of proportion about them, in a way in which men don’t. I don’t say that I agree, and I don’t say that I disagree- this is just what he told us. However I do agree that men certainly do tend to have their ‘thing’ – and of course, one of mine is quizzing. Its quite likely that one of yours is too, unless , that is, you’re reading this blog by mistake.
As well as being a very good quizzer John is also a keen angler. Which is fine by me, considering the fact that John loves catching trout but neither he nor Lynne eats them , while Mary and I love eating trout, but wouldn’t even know which end of a fishing rod to hold. A neat , rather Jack Sprattish turn out of events , as it happens. Still, the appeal of a hobby such as angling to me would be that it necessitates that you have a certain amount of equipment. Not unlike golf, come to think of it. Apart from a couple of goes on the putting course in Gunnersbury Park I have never lifted a golf club in anger, but many of my colleagues in the school are keen golfers, and I must confess that I do get a little envious when I hear workfriends telling tall tales of the rounds they have managed during the weekend, and in particular the latest thing they have purchased in pursuit of improving their games.
Don’t misunderstand me in this. Most of the time I love the fact that quizzing doesn’t require the purchase of tons and tons of specialist equipment. What I spend on quizzing tends to go on less obvious things, more like hidden costs , if you will . Cost of entry, transport to and from venues – drinks during the evening, that sort of thing. I did once try to work out an estimate of how much I actually spent out on quizzing for a six month period, but it all got quite fiddly, especially once I had to subtract from the total the value of the things I won during the period. So I gave it up, but I’d imagine that the amount that I spend on ‘my thing’ probably isn’t huge. Which is nice, but just once in a while I find myself giving way to a childish wish that we, the quiz fraternity, could have our own set of specialist equipment to reward ourselves with occasionally. I mean, I like to use a nice parker pen when I do a quiz, but even so we’re not talking huge expense here, especially when you consider that I use my pens for work as well.