Walking back from town along the Leas to my hotel, there were an elderly couple ahead of me.
The wife said. ‘Oh, I fancy a coffee, Jack.‘ He replied. ‘I wouldn’t , darlin’, you’ll be weeing all night.’
I’d arrived in Folkestone at about 4.30 and I was desperate for a pint. There were no boozers near the hotel (too posh). ‘Ten minutes that way.‘ a kind lady told me.
Ten minutes! It was hot and airless and I reached the edges of the town half an hour later. Now I was desperate for the cooling pint of ale. I found a pub and fell in. I became aware that the place was full of drunken Scotsmen wearing flak jackets. I went outside for a fag and the red bearded warriors were lurching around there as well.
I sat as far away from them as I could, listening to the abuse that hurled at passersby. I sneaked in to get another pint and resumed my distant seat. Then they spotted me.
‘You’re an actor, son.‘ a great hulking brute called out. The herd turned towards me. I thought of of trying my Scottish accent on them but decided against it. They might have thought that I was taking the piss. So I said, weakly. ‘Yes, I was.’ .....’Oh, he’s Mr Benn.’
They all piled over. They almost blocked out the sun. Never judge a book by it’s cover. They behaved like pussycats, talking about their childhoods watching the bowler hatted little man and how their children who also loved it. Awash with praise and feeling hungry, I decided to go. ‘There’s a good place to eat at the end of the street and turn left.‘ a bearded child in a flak jacket said sweetly. I went with many good wishes. I was a happy man.
When I got back to the hotel my books still hadn’t been delivered. I hadn’t got a phone number for Mail Box. Stupid man. Thank the Lord that I’d brought my photos with me
After a worrying night (books) a cup of tea in my room. I wait outside for a lift to the venue. The sun was shinning. I sat on my suitcase waiting to be transported to the venue. oh Lord, I wanted to go home the day ahead would be endlessly boring. I imagined a taxi coming down the road, me hailing it and getting the train. No taxi.
Miriam Margolese appeared. ‘Hello, Ray.’ she chirruped. I remembered, during the VO days in Cranks she had told me ‘The trouble with you, Ray, is that you’re ill educated and you don’t like yourself.’ . Bloody rude. if true. I had to stop myself telling her that ‘You think you know everything and you like yourself too much.’ Anyway, here she is, larger than life, throwing out information like the OED and no memory of whet she said to me that cut me to the quick.
The venue was packed, most of them thronging around two ex-Doctor Who’s who were grinning broadly signing their glorious coloured photos. My bag lady Hollie was looking extremely bored at my empty table, wishing, I assume, that she was a Dr ‘s assistant.
A few table away from me was a bloke who had done two days on Star Wars. He was up to his neck in punters. Similarly another fella had done a few days on Harry Potter was overwhelmed. My pathetic, dated black and white pictures comparing pathetically to their bright coloured images.
The actor Julian Glover came up to my table.
‘I’ve got a bone to pick with you.’ he said, stabbing at picture of the film The Knack. ‘You took my part and he..’ pointing to Crawford. ‘Took James Bolam’s part.’
‘You told me this last year.’
‘Did I? Oh.’ and he walked away. He didn’t even buy the picture to stick pins in.
I sold a few picture. But how I wish that my Scottish pals from the pub had turned up.
But there wasn’t a whiff Haggis.