The format for the short walk and dine groups is to go to the pub at the starting point, order the meal then follow the countryside walk scouted previously by the leaders.
The walk is a good way of working up an appetite and along the route members chat about everything from the grandchildren to putting the world to rights. By the time the walkers are back at the pub, they are truly ready for lunch. One of our walkers had pre-ordered his favourite meal of venison. It was the most expensive item on the menu, but this time he had decided to treat himself. Someone asked our walker if he had enjoyed his venison. “Yes, very much” was the reply, “but the only problem with venison is that it is rather dear”. The publican thought this was so funny (the old ones are always the best!), that he continued laughing for some time, teasing our walker for his wonderful sense of humour. When everyone was leaving, our walker was congratulated again by the publican on the hilarious joke. Our walker was so pleased with himself that he left without paying and did not realise until halfway home. A fellow walker, who was chauffeur for the day, offered to take him back and after a few polite “no, I don’t want to trouble you”, followed by even more “oh, but I insist” exchanges, they arrived back at the pub. As it happens, the group leader had done the honourable thing and recompensed the publican, intending to reclaim the money later. Doubtless our walker will have his leg pulled for the next few walks and the groan at his old jokes will be ever louder.
The moral of this tale is to exchange mobile phone numbers with the group leader, but the true lesson is that the U3A members have a really nice time, a good walk with lots to talk about and, especially, a good laugh.