RM350 A Roaring Success

The Royal Marines have celebrated their birthday in style in Plymouth with a musical event, displays and a fly past seen by thousands. With the massed bands of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines on stage, the event was hosted by David FitzGerald and even received Royal patronage as the last show saw the arrival of H.R.H The Duke of Edinburgh. So successful was the four day extravaganza, there are now plans to repeat its success.



A great evening at Tiverton Theatre with Glenn Cosby and some of The Great British Bake Off team. Playing to a packed auditorium, Glenn whisked up hazelnut praline and chocolate cake, ’assisted’ by David FitzGerald. Thankfully Beca, Deborah, Christine and Kimberley were in the audience to make sure whatever Fitz did was corrected and made edible.

Have a look at this…….






Gran’s Auto Theft!

Well, the swelling has gone down but I am still walking like Douglas Bader with a hint of Charlie Chaplin thrown in. If you didn’t read last week’s article, you will have no idea what I am talking about and to be honest with you, I think it is probably best left that way.

It has been an interesting week hobbling round Devon with two smashed up knees and in all honesty, I suddenly realised how disabled unfriendly a lot of places are. But that is another story for another column.

Ratboy, the son and heir, announced he was ‘goin awt’ at midnight one night last week. Apparently he went to the local supermarket which was selling something called Gran’s Auto Theft. Dressed in reverse facing baseball cap, trousers so tight that they would show off excessive wind and a T
Shirt which I thought was his girlfriend’s blouse, he slipped into the night, with the stereo of the Fiat setting off car alarms as he drove down the street. Then, Devon’s own ‘Brother in the Hood homie,’ slipped back fifteen minutes later as he had forgotten his wallet.  Since the purchase of Gran’s Auto Theft, which I believe to be a computer game, there have been several rumblings from the bedroom, rapid gun fire and a ghostly
shape on the veranda, which according to passers by, was Ratboy. He emerged on Thursday and that was the only appearance in a 36 hour period and I swear that when he opened the door, it resembled the uncovering of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Air rushed in and the stale fug of centuries seeped out. In order to cut down the time from being away from the game, he has taken to drinking straight from the toilet bowl and shouting down orders for pizza, the thinnest thing which can be shoved under the door, excluding his girlfriend. I have no idea when the game finishes but just like the cricket season, it seems to go on for days, have little point and no one can really claim a victory. I remember getting that tennis game, which came in black and white, plugged into the tele and was the dog’s doo dah’s of computer toys. Mind you, do remember ‘clackers’, two solid balls of plastic on string which you smashed together with increasing rhythm until one or both shattered. It should have been marketed under the name
‘My First Little Head Injury’. Still it got me used to the smell of casualty, something that over the past months has been in my nostrils on a regular basis.

Did pop over to Torquay to see a friend of mine in the Agatha Christie play and was delighted to be approached by an usherette selling
quarter bottles of wine.

‘Take a bottle of wine in?’ she enquired.

‘That bad a production, is it?’

‘Not so much a ‘who dunnit’ but a who cares!’ she replied.

I took the wine.





Super Hero?


So how was your Friday 13th? Mine lasted two days with at least a month of aftermath! On the day itself I finished the show on BBC Radio Devon, jumped into the car and drove to Portsmouth to stay with friends, as Saturday we had been invited to go to The Goodwood Revival. You are expected to dress in period costume and wallow in cars, cars and yet more cars, with planes slung in…….I was there like a shot. Anyway, three hours later we rock up in Portsmouth and I go to the boot to unload the luggage. (By the way that is the last time the boot has opened due to an electrical fault…) It was at this point that I discovered that I had left said luggage hanging on the back of the front door, months of preparation, swinging in the breeze, two authentic 1950’s outfits, tailored, altered, even a genuine 1950’s hat for the enemy, the good lady wife, sat in Plymouth. So after a small tantrum the lady of the house suggested I borrow one of her husband’s suits. Now Don, is at least three inches taller than me and slimmer.

‘No, seriously,’ I said, ‘There will be nothing suitable’. But then as the wardrobe door swung open I found the first two offerings not half bad.

‘How about this one?’ his wife said.

‘That is appalling,’ I muttered. ‘It might just work. And that tie is awful, let me put it on. This stuff is so outdated, it’s marvellous.’

So…Friday the 13th …..plus one…. started well and a great day was had by all. In way of thanking my fashion unconscious friend I suggested taking him and his good lady for dinner. Half way through the Chinese, there was a bang on the window and we witnessed a common sight these days, two youths beating up another, who I later found had done nothing other than phone his girlfriend on the walk home. Stand up ‘Captain Justice from
Plymouth’ or the Cosham Avenger as I am known in that part of the country.

‘I am not standing for this,’ I yelled to an uninterested restaurant and I sprinted for the door. Now there are two things I should remember at 51 years old….firstly I don’t sprint and secondly what the hell was I going to do when I got to the fight! But I need not have worried. In mid sprint I tripped on the carpet and used my face as a braking mechanism, crashing to my knees and smashing my face into the door handle with such violence that the entire restaurant front shook, startling the two assailants. They then fled, I bled. Staggering outside, spattered in blood, I pointed to the fleeing youths in a ‘let that be a lesson to you manner’ and turned to the young man who was shaken but otherwise unhurt.

‘Are you aright? I enquired I my best super hero voice.  He looked up and the site of blood dripping from my eyebrows and elbows with the bottom of my trousers soaked red as I had left most of my knees on the carpet rail inside the restaurant and his mouth fell open.

‘I’m fine he said…..but you don’t look so good.’ And wandered off!

I returned to a now startled restaurant and bled on the wantons for a while. The owner asked if I wanted to phone the police?

‘No but I suggest you call You’ve Been Framed if you have CCTV,’ I replied and stemmed the flow of blood with a small wad of noodles.  Anyway that was my Friday 13th, how was yours…?




Party On Daddio

I wandered into Plymouth on Sunday and poked my nose into various clothes shops as I have been told to smarten up my act when it comes to my suits. The BBC are using me quite a lot at the moment to read the late Spotlight news and now wide screen is freely available to so many homes, I can re launch my television career. I flicked through one section of very smartly well tailored items but was gently persuaded to leave the ‘Young and Slim Fit’ rack and to go upstairs to the more generous clothing section; this lot were sold by the yard rather than by the label. Several funereal items were chosen for me and I must say with some pride that my estimates of waist and chest size were a couple of inches out and I managed to get into a slightly smaller jacket from the shop floor rather than the assistant rummaging around in the stock room looking for something left over from a circus or a Pavarotti tribute act. With renewed self confidence, I bounced down stairs and out into the bright sunshine of Plymouth. I will just repeat that line again, the bright sunshine of Plymouth, the same city where two weeks ago my car computer screen warned me of ‘possible ice on road.’

It was then that I saw her coming, she weaved her way through the crowd ignoring lesser mortals, brushing past slim and trim student types and delivered a leaflet into my hand…. Was it advertising a way to find Jesus or double glazing at ridiculously low prices…..no…..it was ‘All you can eat curry’. So there I stood, outside Ann Summers, who are apparently trying out a new position in Plymouth, wondering if I should be offended that I seemed to be the perfect marketing focal point for ‘All you can eat’ establishments.
Maybe she thought I needed feeding up after my sudden weight loss! Or was it…if he comes in we can all take early retirement. But as I watched her walk the entire length of the shopping precinct I couldn’t help but notice she didn’t give out another leaflet…to anyone!

Anyway, congratulations to the team who brought down Steve Harley for the concert on The Hoe on Saturday night and well done to Steve himself for remembering that his fans, myself included, have aged a little and may no longer be hardened festival goers. He played some nice long and slightly obscure tracks so we could visit the handy porta loos without missing his hits and didn’t have the music too loud or the stage lights too bright. Tea was available and one of the marshals very kindly held a torch when I was trying to help find a lost inhaler for a fellow concert goer, who in turn helped to my feet before the damp effected my back.
Party on you crazy middle aged hell raisers.



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