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Plenty on Wikipedia and on IMDd.  Those two websites are great for the date and place of birth, as well as listing the TV, films, stage and radio I've worked on.  What they don't do is describe what it was like working on those productions, alongside the wonderful and sometimes not-so-wonderful personalities involved. They also don't divulge the highs and lows of over 50 years of marriage, bringing up three kids as well as emerging grandchildren. If you're interested, Learning My Lines (my autobiography), Echoes (my first novel) are for sale through my website, as is an archive of my blogs from 2009-2013.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Ups & Downs

My shoulder’s getting better. But with all the exercise I’m doing, I’m convinced that within a couple of months my arm’s going to resemble Arnold Schwarzenegger’s which is hardly going to match up with my Mickey Mouse other one.

Then wake up with cramp in my foot. Usually this takes a few minutes to clear. But it doesn’t. Could it be gout? It’s not as if I drink 36 pints a day followed by a bottle of brandy (well, not quite). The bit in brackets is a joke, doctor. But whatever it is, it bloody hurts.

Four limping days later it clears up. And then, a front tooth falls out. Shit. The following weekend I’ve promised to a Collecterama for Dr Who, where fans will want to have pictures taken with ’celebrities‘ and, in my current state, it’ll be like having your arm round Ben Gunn’s grandmother.

In desperation, I phone Barry Gatoff, my dentist, who’ll see me at 11.00. Good old Barry. With a couple of valium on board, I go in.

‘You’re going to need a Crown.‘ he tells me. ‘It’ll a take about a week for it to be ready.‘ I tell him about the upcoming Dr Who do. ‘I’ll stick something temporary in, they won’t be able to tell the difference.‘ I leave, the foot’s better and I’m grinning all over the place.

I catch a train on Saturday night, they want us for an early start on Sunday morning.

Milton Keynes is lit by 40wt light bulbs. The taxi to the hotel drives like the wind, either trying to escape MK or the driver’s got a death wish. I arrive in one piece.

Jury’s Inn loomed gloomily out of the murk. I’ve stayed in one before. Hard beds, plastic pillows and pictures of trees and bushes line the walls and no ‘room service.‘ I’m starving, so I have to go to the bar. I order a Panini with ham and  cheese (why don’t they sell sandwiches anymore?)

I really don’t like these do’s. Sitting at a long table, in a space the size of four aircraft hangers with photos in front of us, supplied by the management, charging £10 with signature and the money all goes to the bosses. I do get a few bob for turning up, but my main purpose to try and sell a few of my books.

Fifteen minutes later I’m still waiting for my bloody Panini getting myself into a right frazzle about the following day when there’s a tap on my shoulder. It was if all the 40wt bulbs had turned into 150wt’s. The tapper was none other than Michael Jayston, an old pal. With him on board, tomorrow was taking on a new allure.

At 8.40 in the morning the coach arrived. Michael and I were the last to board. It was hard to find a seat. Who are all these people?

We arrived at the M.K.Dons football ground. It was a bleak scene. A few yawning punters hanging around waiting for the ‘big event.’

We were led to the dreaded table. Forty of sitting there, pens poised waiting for the signings. All of us, who thirty years ago had killed Daleks, Cybermen, now looking like for all the world like old aged pensioners waiting to have chilblains treated. But the punters didn’t seem to notice.

Michael and I kept popping out for fag breaks, catching up on old times, laughing at cock ups, yes, having a great time.

Surprisingly I managed to sell two books in the morning and then, miracle of miracles, I sold four more in the afternoon. Eventually, it was time to leave.

On our way out, the organizer of the event came up to me. ‘I’ll let you know when the next one is, Ray.’

‘Thanks. But make sure that Michael is there as well.’

Six books sold and rekindled an old friendship.

The two old granddads wandered through the gathering gloom to the railway station. They’d both had a lovely day in Milton Keynes.       


Comments


  • Ann Wilson(Tuesday, December 03 13 11:15 am GMT)
    Glad you had a good day and pleased your shoulder is improving Ray x
  • Mark(Tuesday, December 03 13 03:48 pm GMT)
    Sounds like a surprisingly lovely day Ray. I well remember you and Michael in Series 2 of Big Deal, nice to hear you caught up on old times and your shoulder is on the mend.
  • Maurine(Wednesday, December 04 13 07:17 pm GMT)
    What's up, this weekend is fastidious in favor of me, because this time i am reading this wonderful educational article here at my home.
  • viagra online(Sunday, December 08 13 06:14 pm GMT)
    Actually when someone doesn't know afterward its
    up to other people that they will assist, so here it takes place.
  • smudge(Sunday, December 15 13 10:51 am GMT)
    Nice to read this - Michael Jayston is always great value at these events. A genuine bloke who likes to have a chat with folks. Glad you enjoyed it in the end Ray...

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Fate

5.45 Saturday the 31st of August 2013. They order some more drinks. The chat is dominated by the game. ‘Stupid last minute goal.‘ They were gutted. Then someone says ‘Checked the train times. Sorry, it’s not 6.00 o’clock. It’s five to. Better drink up.’

At about the same time a taxi is arriving at Newcastle Station. A man, we don’t know, climbs out with his wheelie bag. He searches for his wallet. ‘Sorry, mate.‘ he says to the driver. who’s giving him a beady look.

Our pals are trotting down the hill to the station. The wallet is found and the driver is paid. The pals reach the platform with minutes to spare. ‘Coach H.‘ 

The man is is dragging his case along the platform. ‘Coach G, coach G.‘ he mutters. He finds it, the door is open and he climbs into the train pulling his bag behind him.

The pals are hurrying along the platform searching for their carriage.

One of the wheels of the man’s bag has become wedged under the carriage step.

‘Here’s coach G, next one along.’

The man pulls at the bag trying to dislodge it.

The pals can see coach H. One of them his lagging behind. ‘Are we nearly there?‘ he gasps.

The man has got one foot against the door frame, tugging at his bag still trying to release it.

The pals are at coach H. The straggler is bringing up the rear. ‘Hurry up!‘ they shout at him.

With a final mighty heave, the man pulls at the handle of the bag, this bag is a cheap copy of an up market brand certainly not made to a high standard, the material is of sub standard cloth and the stitching is hap hazard therefore the handle, not used to this rigorous treatment, gives up the ghost and separates itself from the bag, which tumbles back on to the platform.

The straggler, unaware of anything but the need to get to coach H, hits the wayward bag and falls on the platform like a ton of bricks.

‘Dad?’

I open my eyes. ‘Where are we?’

‘On the train.’

I’m aware of blood dripping down my face and my left shoulder is giving me terrible pain.

‘This Jordan, dad, the physio with the Arsenal under 18 team, they’ve been playing in Sunderland, he’s going to help you.’

Jordan cleaned me up and put a plaster on my forehead. Then made up a sling for my painful shoulder.

‘Now, Ray.‘ he said. ‘Keep you head still and follow my finger. No, don’t move your head, just use your eyes. Good. Good.‘ he looked at me intently. ‘What were you doing in Newcastle?’

‘Watching Fulham playing Newcastle.’

‘What was the score?’

‘We lost one nil.’
Newcastle 1-0 Fulham (not the lowest point of the day)

‘Who did you play last week?’

‘Arsenal at home.’

‘Score?’

‘We lost three one.’

Jordan looked at my son. ‘He’s alright. Not concussed.’

I don’t remember the journey but when we arrive at King’s Cross there are two Special Constables waiting for me. ‘The train phoned ahead, there’s an ambulance waiting for you.’

My boys came with me to the local hospital. After an X-ray and a tetanus injection and good news that I didn’t need stitches or an operation on my shoulder, I went home. Ten weeks later I’m writing this.

The last three blogs about Brownlee Home for Demented Actors I was just marking time. Saving you the tedium of me going on and on about the shit I was going through, bloody exercises and not being able to sleep.

What a good boy I am!      

Write a comment
Comments

simon drew(Wednesday, November 13 13 11:40 am GMT)
Ray, sorry to hear about your fall, hope your shoulder gets back to normal soon
Mark(Wednesday, November 13 13 05:58 pm GMT)
Oh my Ray. Really sorry to hear that. Get well soon
revia buy in australia(Saturday, November 16 13 01:10 am GMT)
It's amazing for me to have a web page, which is useful for my know-how.
thanks admin
Ann Wilson(Friday, November 22 13 08:25 am GMT)
Sorry to hear about your fall Ray, glad you're on the mend and persevered with the exercises, they really are the key to recovery.
Steve Kavanagh(Saturday, November 23 13 02:23 am GMT)
All the best Ray !!
Smudge(Sunday, December 15 13 10:54 am GMT)
Sorry to hear about your misfortune - glad it's getting better!