Chiswick, Sir Terry and a bloke in a pub

16 12 2011

Back in August of last year (ouch!) I mentioned that I was a teensy weensy bit excited about the possibility of seeing Sir Terry Pratchett at the Chiswick Book Festival. I might also have hinted that I’d be a teensy weensy bit upset if I didn’t get a ticket.

Well, you’ll be pleased to hear – after a year and a bit – that I did get a ticket, hurrah! In fact I got two – and my other half (who’s not in the least bit Pratchetty) came with me (well, someone had to be nearby to peel me off the floor in case I collapsed in sheer pleasure).

What can I say?! It was truly wonderful and inspiring! He spoke for ages and charmed the room completely. And afterwards we all stood twitching nervously in line, eagerly clutching our books for signing… and look! Here’s the back of my shoulder, and Sir Terry himself signing my book!


And look! Here’s the signed book!


Excuse me while I pause for a moment to relish the memories…

Right. Where was I?

Ah yes. But what about the bloke in the pub, I hear you cry? How could a bloke in a pub possibly fit in with this story?


I was in such a swoon after all that signingage and Pratchettyness that my other half had no option but to carry my limp body across the road to the nearest hostelry, and attempt to revive me by way of a big, fat pint.

As we sat outside the heaving Tabard, wedged into the end of a table, me babbling madly about Sir Terry and all things Pratchetty, my other half gave me a sudden nudge and one of those looks that says “My god, look! It’s HIM!”

Turning quickly, I nearly headbutted a very large tray bristling with pints, and looked straight up into the large, be-hatted face looming over the tray.

I stared, squinted a bit, squinted a bit more, then shook my head, looked back at my other half and gave one of those really big, obvious “I have absolutely NO idea who that is” shrugs. I also pulled that face. You know, that “I dunno!” one.

Then – and only then – I squidged along the seat to let the guy pass, whilst my other half tried not to curl up in a little ball of shame next to me.

And he told me that I had just – from a distance of about a foot – completely and very obviously failed to recognise Al Murray. Otherwise known as The Pub Landlord.

In a pub.

With him carrying a tray full of beer.

Well. He shouldn’t have been wearing that hat then, should he…



Santa’s secret…

15 12 2011

This time last year (almost to the day) I noticed Santa had a reindeer issue – he and his sleigh were outside Derby train station with not a reindeer in sight.

I’m sorry to report that this year things have got even worse.

This morning, there was the sleigh – all twinkly lights and tinny music – and once again, not a reindeer in sight. But there was something else missing.

Santa himself.

Maybe he’s on strike, or ill this year? Or maybe he’s been laid off himself what with all this continuing recession business? Or perhaps he is travelling by train after all, got separated from his sleigh in a platform mix-up and was coming on a later train?


I have another solution to this conundrum. It’s obvious really, and has to do with the stress of the recession, and having to lay off his reindeers and what-not.

He’s taken up smoking, and was hiding round by the car park having a secret-Santa-cigarette.

Case closed.

The Great Scooter Escapade…

14 12 2011

Hello? Hello? Remember me? It’s been a while…

But I have an excuse for my prolonged absence… It’s a sad one though. It involved a Daddy that lived abroad, who got a bit poorly after Christmas last year, then really poorly… then in August we lost him.

Dad was such an inspiration to me in many, many ways – from his curiosity in everything to his cheeky sense of humour (sometimes it was very hard to tell if he was serious or joking!) – and he certainly wasn’t the sort of bloke that would like to see me sitting around being sad, so I’ve been focusing on lovely memories, and I’d like to share one with you here 🙂

When my Mum and Dad were ‘courting’ (top word!) they used to go off for trips on Dad’s scooter. One dark, rainy night they were trundling along somewhere in Gloucester and as they went over a railway crossing (called California Crossing), the scooter slipped on the rails and they both came off. Mum was fine, but Dad hurt his elbow, so he asked Mum to drive. Bit of a controversial move that as Mum was just a learner…

Can you guess what happened next?!

They got back on the scooter, Mum on the front driving, and off they went. Within seconds, Mum completely failed to negotiate a turn and ditched the scooter!

And here, ladies and gentleman, are my proud parents, shortly after the afore mentioned incident – note how chuffed they both look, how the scooter is missing it’s big glass windscreen and how it shows evidence of serious dintage to the front mudguard!


I’ve known and loved that photo for years, but only known the story for about a year – it so happened that I was chatting to Dad one night and mentioned that my other half (who works on the railway) was working in Gloucester that night. And Dad related the story of the Great California Crossing Scooter Escapade.

Thanks for reading! x

It’s been a while…

14 12 2011

…a very long while…

But I’m nearly back!

Watch this space…