A very early publicity shot of The Human League in concert in some God awful dump in Sheffield, probably.
It's been half term, of course, and quite a fun one for me. I have had James with me for most of the week, which is always fun, and he has been a little angel this week. I drove up to Essex at the beginning of the week to pick him up, and took advantage of being in that locale on the Saturday night to meet up with an old friend, which was great! On the Monday morning, Amanda and I took James to Brentwood and the group he attends called SNAP! (SNAP stands for Special Needs and Parents and is a wonderful resource for parents who have children with special needs, whatever their situation). James normally goes over there for a right old run around and play, but on the Monday they had a photographer in and we wanted to get some new snaps (if you'll pardon the pun) of him. They looked great. After lunch James and I drove down to Somerset for the rest of the week. We had a great time and James enjoyed visiting a lot of his old favourite places - Barrington Court, Bilby's in Ilminster to see Tris, I took him up to Street to get him some shoes and he had a lovely time having a go on a mock rock climbing frame, shooting up over 20 feet in no time at all, despite just getting over a sprained ankle. My parents came to stay on the Thursday as they wanted to visit Lawrence's Auction Room in Crewkerne where I was selling some stuff for them. In the evening on the Thursday we went over to the Royal Oak at Barrington for dinner. Now in a previous posting on this blog I reported on the death of this pub, and it has for the last few years been run into the ground by various disinterested managers etc. It has now most recently been occupied by two Australian gents called Graham and Tony, and the place has just come alive again. Both these gents are great characters and are as camp as a row of pink tents. An example for you is this - on their menu none of the dishes are just called "Steak and Chips" or "Lasagne", each and every item is named after someone famous. For instance you can order a "Bill Clinton" which is a large burger, with loose meat, and a bit on the side. And for the vegetarians, you could ask for a Monica Lewinsky, which is predictably, the bit on the side.
Mum and Dad curtailed their brief visit and headed back to Wales on the Friday. James and I went into Yeovil where I bought James the Lego Harry Potter game for his Wii console I had promised him. He was overjoyed. We also went to James' favourite restaurant in the world - Pizza Hut. He doesn't like pizza of course, but he loves their spaghetti bolognese and would mud wrestle his own Nanna for a go on their ice cream machine. I went for the buffet option on this day and was amazed to see some of the most gluttonous behaviour I have ever seen, and it wasn't me! I went up to the hot plate when some pizzas were brought out, and was practically elbowed out of the way by two pensionable age women who proceeded to stack up slice after slice of pizza on their two plates. They must have had 8 or 9 huge slices on each plate, which if you have ever experienced a lunchtime buffet at Pizza Hut and have seen the tiny size of plate they give you, you will know is an engineering feat of Brunelian proportions. When they stepped away from the hot plate, like two wizened vultures having a break from a zebra carcass, there were two slices of pizza left. So I had them. I watched where they went back to sit, and I thought, fair enough they have two teenage girls with them and a primary school age boy. However, the girls and the boy were going up to help themselves as well! All that pizza was just for themselves! Greedy old cows!
I drove James back to Essex on Saturday, had an evening with him and Amanda, and then came home on the Sunday, but even then the oddness of the week wasn't over. I stopped for petrol at a station on the A13 leading down to the Dartford Crossing. As I was coming out of the shop with a bag of sandwiches and some drink I heard someone calling me.
"Oi! Oi you!" I looked round. The voice came again. "Oi!" I looked to see a sort of Chris Moyles-ish looking bloke sitting in a big silver Range Rover with one window down calling to me. "Get back in that shop!" he shouted. Eh? I looked at him blankly.
"Pardon?" I asked.
"If you're going to do that, get back in the shop!" He shouted again. I was completely non-plussed by now.
"Are you talking to me?" I asked. He pointed a finger now.
"Put that cigarette out!" He barked. Christ, what a loony. No fag on the go with me folks.
"I'm not bloody smoking!" I shouted. He made direct eye contact with me.
"Oh, sorry Sir!" He said "Not you, but that prat there!" he pointed to the drivers side of the BMW parked between me and him. "If you want to blow yourself up, Sir, do it somewhere by yourself and don't take innocent people with you!" It turned out the tattooed troglodyte in the BMW was only sitting on the forecourt of a big petrol station smoking a fag with the window open. As I drove away up the A13 I kept a check on my rear view mirror for signs of a mushroom cloud rising over the Stanford Le Hope by pass. Not a sausage.
Sunday evening I went back to the David Hall Centre in South Petherton for their open Mic night, but I hadn't prepared anything, so despite some very generous invites to go up and do some stand up, I reluctantly declined. It was a good evening, but seemed to lack the excitement of the previous month, possibly having something to do with the fact I wasn't as nervous as hell and about to go on stage!
A busy week ahead - Bristol tomorrow, Shepton Mallet on Wednesday, Dunster on Thursday and Chard on Friday. Should be fun!