Now all you lovely people out there in cyberland will no doubt recall my appearance at the Abbotsbury Midsummer Medieval Merriement event that I wrote about last month. Well, whilst at this event I was approached by a lovely American lady and her English husband who were sumptuously attired as King Henry VIIth and his wife Elizabeth of York. They informed me that they were opening an antiques shop in Shaftesbury, Dorset and wondered if I would be available to do a grand opening of the shop as and when it happened. Well blow me down, at the beginning of the week there is a message on my answer phone from the lovely American lady (Becky) asking me if I could come along this Saturday and do the red carpet, ribbon cutting and hand shaking duties as and when needed. I said I would be delighted.
Saturday evening was a filthy night, gloomy and lots of rain across the west country. I arrived at the shop at about quarter past seven having promised Becky I would be there between 6.30 and 7.00. It was packed out with guests, all drinking wine and beer, and nibbling on canapes. The shop is called Leaning's, or just Leaning Antiques, I was never quite sure of this! Anyway it is at number 5 the High Street in Shaftesbury (which is a delightful little town) and the shop is wonderful. I quickly got changed into my gear and then came into the main part of the shop. They had laid out some red carpet and stretched a ribbon across the top of a small set of stairs that led up to the back showrooms. I boomed out how pleased I was to be back in Shaftesbury and apologised for smashing up their Abbey during the Reformation. I also told people I hoped that my appearance might in some small way make up for the awful way I behaved last time - this raised a titter or two! I cut the ribbon - just! The scissors weren't very keen on going through them, and we got a big round of applause.
I wandered round and chatted to lots of lovely people, including a lovely older lady who was originally from Bearsted in Kent and from her bedroom window as a child, she could see Leeds Castle - funny old world, innit? I even chatted to the Mayor of Shaftesbury whom I am led to believe was a bit miffed that I got asked to open the shop and not him. This was proved when he got me in a back room and tried to give me a Chinese burn. I replied by giving him a wedgie and finally finished him off by pointing out that my chain of office was far bigger than his. He left a crushed and defeated man. I left with a small table/jardinaire which looks good in my hallway and with some travel expenses from the lovely people at the shop. Go and visit them if you're in Shaftesbury - it is worth a visit!