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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.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Wind and Rain in Ilfracombe

 got a taxi from Barnstable and arrived at the Carlton Hotel £30 lighter. Snow was predicted.

‘It only snows on Exmoor’ the driver said confidently. ‘You’ll be alright.’

But there was certainly rain. When I got out of the taxi it was like having a bucket of water chucked over me and the wind nearly blew me off my feet.

‘Mr Brooks.’ the Michael, who I’d spoken to on the phone, greeted me warmly. ‘Your room is 203.’ The room was comfy and so was the bed. The wind was kicking up but I had to get a beer.

All the pubs seemed to have closed down for the winter but then I found one that was open! It was a big warm place and I downed two pints lickerty spit and settled down to think about my show tomorrow night in The Space in wet Ilfracombe. I had to introduce my memory stick to the projector at 1.00 on the day.

Having slept well and having a jolly breakfast. I set off, with my books, for The Space. The rain had stopped but the wind was even fiercer. The Space was was in the basement of sort of church. Inside it was a hive of activity. People putting up seats, others fixing up lights and I was greeted by Robert, the overall boss of the place.

‘A lot of seats.’ I said.

‘Forty people have applied but only fifteen have confirmed. The weather, I suppose.’

Fifteen was alright for me, I’ve played in front of a lot fewer than that, but for the theatre not so good. Although they’s said they wanted just 40 per cent of the ticket price and I told them that they could keep it all. It didn’t seem like a lot of money to take on the gate.

That evening when I arrived it seemed full! The wind must have blown them all in.

The show went well although I left out a chunk in the first half (getting as bit carried away I suppose). ‘Ran for forty minutes, Ray.’ Robert, the stop watcher, announced.

‘The second half is shorter.’ I said pathetically. And it was.

Generally I was pleased and the audience seemed happy. They bought most of the books.  Then I took Robert off to the pub. Back at the hotel and Michael was still there but the bar was closed.

‘Do you want a drink, Ray.’ he said. Then opened the bar and brought a large red wine. ‘And I’d like to buy a book for our in our library/’ he bought a book then offered me a  lift back to Barnstable the next day.

And so to bed. Two books left, an audience of 47, then a text from son, Tom. ‘Very proud of you.’


The perfect end to a perfect day.