Tuesday, 4 October 2011

A thousand miles of good road and a slate cleared.

It's a long way to Tipperary. It's a longer way to Falmouth. Well, normally. I was out of the house before 11am and at Ash Vale station picking up comedian Jessica Fostekew dead on time off the 12.14pm train. Ash Vale is just off the M3. We were just off the M3 and on the A303 a mere twenty minutes later. I promised Jessica we would stop for lunch. She seemed a little over-familiar. It was only when I started talking about my other blog that she reminded me I had talked about it in Edinburgh. In Edinburgh? Apparently during the festival we were in The Library Bar for quite a while with a certain Mr. David Whitney. Apparently we had quite a long conversation and found out all about each other. Apparently I need to cut back on the red wine. Jess is a very entertaining woman and the time flew, so much so in fact that we hit Falmouth without a single stop not long after 5pm. There was minor consternation concerning the location of the hotel (And its lavatories) but we eventually found it, checked in and had time to go to Rick Stein's laughable over priced fish and chips restaurant before getting a cab up to the gig that night, at The University of Exeter (Falmouth Campus). Yes I don't understand that either. It's a good hundred miles from its parent university. Mind you, we do still lay claims to The Falklands, so what do I know?

Rick Stein's laughably overpriced Fish & Chips restaurant
I'm not going to deny the hake was exceptionally tasty, but the chips weren't anything special and at a tenner a plate for the basics I forewent the mushy peas. 
The gig was a challenge to say the least. The best part of two hundred (eighteen year old) "Freshers" with their lives ahead of them and their hopes and dreams yet to be dashed by the cruel world that awaits them. Obviously I closed the show with a bit of middle aged nihilism and via a very kind offer of a lift to the pub from the (stand in replacement understudy last minute person-instead-of Johnny-on-the-spot fifth attempt at getting someone in who could get himself there) compere it wasn't long before Jess and I were in a pub that used to be called The Pirate and isn't any more with a mature student called Terri who'd been at the show and Rich (the organiser of the event). We got pints of cloudy cider and went outside to drink them (it was a warm night). A security emo on the door said "Sorry no drinks outside after twelve thirty". I looked at my watch. It was midnight. I said "but it's only midnight". He said "Yes - the landlord has changed his mind". I couldn't handle this logic and gave up. It didn't look like anywhere in the town was open and I've been thrown out of enough bars recently to simply doff my cap, go back inside and order Jaegermeisters to compensate. It shut sooner than we expected, Jess and I returned to the hotel and I spent an hour failing to get online to check emails. Apparently she spent that time throwing up cloudy cider and Jaegermeister before enduring what my mother describes as "Whirlypits". I wouldn't know.

The minor heatwave the country enjoyed/endured on the weekend did not extend to Falmouth on Friday morning where a sea mist prevailed. Having witnessed this many times on the South West coast I decided to head inland to see my old mate Lee at The Market Inn in Holsworthy. It was an excellent decision.

Whilst the rest of the nation was melting in balmy morning sunshine, I got this.

I got there just after one o'clock, parked up, hoped he would be there and obviously bumped into him in the doorway. Whatever he had planned for the next hour was cancelled as he looked at me in astonishment and asked me what the *&^% I was doing there. Lunch was on the house (He's a legend) and I plumped for a rather tasty slice of chicken pie on the specials board. I figured I could forego the usual fish & chips that I have on Fridays (I'm a traditionalist) as I'd taken out a mortgage on Rick Stein's hake the night before. I explained to Lee my real reason for stopping off at the hotel - I was en route to Wiveliscombe to return the room key and pay the bar bill from the week before...

Lee Sycamore. Proprietor of  the fabulous Market Inn, Holsworthy.  His name  is easily changed around to  A More Syclee, which is what I normally am after drinking with him.

...And so it was that I hit the road again and what a road! The B3227! All the way across North Devon! to Wiveliscombe! It took absolutely ages as I rarely got above thirty miles an hour but it was well worth it - really beautiful. Sadly the events at the destination were rather anti-climactic. Simon (the boss of The White Hart Inn) wasn't there but they did at least thank me for returning the key and settling my fifteen quid. It was a shame that he was absent (He, like Lee, is rather entertaining) but I had felt guilty all week about not paying off that bad boy and I certainly felt like Karma would at least be coming back on side.

Backwards and downwards, then, with my last task of the day - namely, getting to Dorchester. That involved another brilliant drive and Corn Exchange located I waited patiently for an hour or two until getting on stage there to open what proved to be another excellent show. I was relieved to find that I was performing largely to adults. Another full crowd helped me have another really good time. I was out of there just after nine, home before midnight (Just another hundred and forty miles had stood between "Dorch" and home) and ready for a big day on Saturday, well, a big night anyway.

The Cornish Riviera during an Indian Summer. Typical.

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