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…