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.