Thus, when the post of chairman came up (the former occupant was retiring abroad) I cast around for a member with sufficient dignity, composure and authority to run our meetings and represent the society to the outside world. We had the perfect type -- ex-army officer, presently director of a large communications company and a really keen sewing machine collector. I put his name forward, he was elected and only once since then have I doubted the wisdom of the choice.
It was at one of our annual conventions -- the North of England spa town of Harrogate. One of the lady members had devised a cunning competition by putting a quantity of cotton spools into a large glass jar and challenging us to guess the number.
In announcing the winner from the stage I rattled on a little before coming to the point (why are you not surprised, I wonder). I said that I had tried to cheat by enveigling the answer out of the organiser.
Getting carried away a little, I said that I'd tried to bribe her with a five-pound fruit cake. I even suggested, in hushed tones, that I had offered her my body.
At this stage the Chairman could take no more, he leant back in his chair and in a loud stage whisper said :" You might have had more luck with a six-pound fruit cake"
Like I said, perhaps we might have picked a better man.