Holidays are a great time for the re-evaluation of personal goals. You have space to sift through the trunk-full of plans, dreams and desires, dust-off a few of the more respectable ones, and say to yourself "as soon as I get home I am going to ....." The great joy about undertaking this task whilst you are on a steaming ship in the middle of the Mediterranean is that you can't immediately follow through. You don't have to actually do anything, just plan : and as a unreconstructed Brownite (that is George Brown, the 1960s Labour Party Deputy Leader, not the current twit) I have always had a love of planning. So during my recent holiday I promoted a number of plans from the rusty back-burners of my mind, injected them with a double-dose of commitment, and promised to do something about them when I got home. The problem is that when you get home you begin to see the possible drawbacks. Thus the plan to shed myself of two stone before January seemingly means that I will have to stop eating and drinking anything other than tap water. The plan to rejoin the Labour Party and single-handedly bring about a realignment of left-wing politics means I will have to fork out £19 a year and attend meetings. And my plan to become a Grand Primo in the Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes means that I will somehow have to get invited to join the Order in the first place.
I have always wanted to be a Buff. It's the fact that they don't take themselves as seriously as the Masons, that they meet in pubs and taverns rather than in stone-built lodges, and - if the Elland Lodge of my youth was anything to go by - the fact that they would finish their meetings with a stripper rather than a loyal toast. So with the buffs you get all the wonderful titles, the ribbons, the enamel badges, the regalia ... and you get a bit of fun as well. It's the poor-man's Masons, the dissipated-man's Rotary ... in other words, just the place for me.
I accept that this view of the RAOB is more than likely erroneous : I am sure it is full of sober-minded men dedicated to the welfare of their fellow-members. I also accept that my misrepresentation of the fine Order has probably lost me any chance I ever had of being invited to join. But if there is anyone out there who is a Brother, a Primo or even a Knight of Merit why not see me as a challenge rather than an enemy : put my name forward, invite me along, teach me the creed. I need some help here : the alternatives are either starving myself to death or taking to the streets in defence of Gordan Brown.