Ready to go on

Sunday, 20 February 2011

Final blog from Leeds

And so, despite the snow and the length of the drive, I made it back home to Tunbridge Wells by 2.30 am last night. My little car did very well
considering that this was how I found it in the morning. Let's face it. Mazdas with back wheel drive do not like snowy conditions.

But I'm home and happy to be. I've done my admin with zeal and a happy countenance - yeah, whatever. And now I thought I would complete my reports of my first proper week on tour? The lovely Leeds.

There is no doubt that the north, or maybe just Leeds, is far more friendly than the south. I spent the time between shows yesterday sitting in a fairly rough pub, packed with men who had been drinking all afternoon. I was supping on a diet Pepsi. The man opposite me on my table had been there since 12.30. I knew this because I had been to the same pub before the matinee to watch the Chelsea v Everton Game. Now I was back hoping to watch Man United thrash Crawley Town.
Unfortunately the pub was showing Rugby League. Castleford, I think? I knew there wasn't another pub in the area that might show the football so I plucked up courage to ask the barman if one of the screens could be switched to ITV and the Man U match?

Now, you may think that this was foolhardy. A Leeds United supporters pub full of drunken men who all, to a man, would hate Man U and anyone who supported them! So what do you think happened?

That's right, the barman said, "No problem, mate!" and swithced a screen in front of a table of engrossed Rugby League watchers. He explained to them that I wanted to watch the footie and they all made "Oh aye" noises and made room for me at the table. "fancy a pint, mate?" the aforementioned man at my table asked. "No thanks," I said, "I'm working tonight." "What a bastard!" he replied and returned to his pint.

Those of you living in the north will no doubt be completely non-plussed by my even bothering to mention such a trivial story. Southerners will be shamefacedly looking at their laps and wondering if they could relocate. Then they will look at my poor little snow covered car, thinking of the possibility of a similar situation in July and decide to stick with their lot.


As an addendum I thought I ought to share my photos of the Grand Theatre visitors book that we all signed yesterday. It goes back to 1945 when it was started by being signed by Queen Mary. It has the autographs of nearly every person who has played the theatre since then. I spent a very happy half hour browsing through it and spotting old friends and theatre greats. You can't believe how excited I was to be able to add my name to such an incredible list! For any autograph collectors out there here are just a few.

Princess Margaret

Sarah Ferguson

Derek Fowlds & Prunella Scales

The Shadows

Richard Attenborough

Margaret Lockwood

Sybil Thorndike

Alistair Sim and George Cole

Robertson Hare

The Queen and Prince Philip

Flora Robson

Glen Byam Shaw and Vivien Leigh

Anna Neagle and Peter Cushing

Margot Fonteyn

Laurence Olivier


Alec Guinness

The Mighty Boosh
I wonder what you'd get on ebay for this lot?


  1. Is it my imagination, or was Bill Gates on tour with Robertson Hare? Blimey! He's older than he looks!

  2. Mr Derek? Was Basil Brush there too?

    A snapshot of history. Could definitely raise a bob or two with that!