Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Overcoming the Loneliness of the Long Distance Quizzer

Last night was the Wales and West heat if the CIU quiz competition. If you’ve been a LAM regular for a while then you’ll maybe remember me writing about this competition before. It’s a valid competition in its own right, but just as importantly a finish in the top three guarantees a place in the national finals in Derby in September. With one year’s exception, this has been a regular fixture in the Clark calendar for several years now and although we’ve never really come close to winning the big one in Derby I live in a state of perpetual hope.

Mind you, qualification last night was by no means a foregone conclusion. We were unable to put our strongest team out, though this means no disrespect to Michael who stepped into the breach for us and gave us some useful points in his own right. Under the circumstances we have to be relatively satisfied with what we managed to do. On the GK rounds I think that we matched everyone else, including the eventual winners, former national champions Maesglas A. The sport did for us to some extent, and in the end we were happy to scrape through in third place, a point ahead of Morriston, and a point or 2 behind Maesglas B. Very hard lines on Morriston, but there we are. We’ve won this quiz a couple of times, but we’ve also come 4th on one or two occasions, so we know what it feels like.

I enjoyed the evening a lot, coming third notwithstanding. It was with something of a start that I realized that it’s over 6 weeks since I last went out to a quiz on a Monday night. When the league season in Bridgend ended I decided that I’d start going to the quiz in the Pill Harriers rugby club in Newport. Now, don’t get me wrong, it’s a terrific quiz, and a damn good evening. But . . . it’s about 40 miles away. That’s about an hour and a half’s driving all told. OK, so I always say that I love my driving, and it’s true, I do, but the basic problem is that even leaving before 11 pm it’s always after 11:30 that I get back. Then when I get in I find that even if I go straight to bed, then I can’t sleep straightaway. Petrol doesn’t come cheap either, for that matter. I can’t forget the fact that it’s my teaching which puts food on the table, and although I’ve no doubt that I could get by on experience and technique on a Tuesday, if you know that something you’re doing is going to have a marked effect on your effectiveness the next day, you don’t have to be a genius to work out that you probably shouldn’t be doing it.

Yet it’s not even that really, when you get right down to it. Going back 8 or 9 years ago, three of us used to set off together from Port Talbot every Monday – and we’d pick up our 4th player in Cardiff on the way as well. We’d chuck out some questions – mostly in the news, but not all of them – amongst each other, then chew over the fat and put the world to rights. John lost his interest in the Monday night quiz, dear old Allan passed away, and Barry stopped coming, leaving just me. I know you can’t go back, but I really miss those Monday nights.

Which is one of the reasons why last night was so enjoyable. For once there were two of us making the journey since I picked up Rob on the way, sort of. Maybe not quite like old times, but it doesn’t half make a difference . So, Rob, any time you’re up for it on a Monday night, so am I.


DanielFullard said...

Hi David!

I echo some of the sentiments there. I do a similar role to you but work with adult learners meaning if Im not on top form on a Monday morning Im in for a rough ride.....not only that but I only see these learners for a week so if I loose them on day 1 its a rough week hence why I have had to cut out Sunday night quizzing. I go now and then to various venues on a Sunday but like you I can never get to sleep when I get in so arriving in at 11pm usually means its post midnight before I have my head down!

Londinius said...

Hi Daniel

Yeah, it's a bind. I mean, if the quiz is no more than a 20 minute drive away then it's fine, but otherwise it's difficult. You know yourself, it's a job where 'getting by' just isn't good enough.

Gruff said...

I'm looking forward to seeing you in Derby!