07 Jun 2013
I heard a lot of people mention how much they enjoyed the Party Night. One of those who commented was Louise who said it was nice to see it being a Party above all else and didn't miss the New Members Show. I would be sorry to lose the show as I still feel it is am important first step that is being offered but maybe the January meeting should return to its simpler format. Some great games were provided by Melvyn, Paul and Keith and a good time seemed to be had by all.
A week later on the Saturday a few of us returned to Pudsey for our long established Roadshow (I think I first performed there in 1990 and haven't missed one since) and a few thanks must go to some important people who again made the show a success. Firstly to Melvyn Shalks who worked the sound system alone, Peter Wright was going to be there but ill health forced him to have to miss the show. There was fortunately a good line up of acts so when I was told somebody else was forced to pull out (At two hours notice!) there were enough left to make the show work. Anyway, the acts who managed to appear were Brian (Joe King) Waite, yours truly, Colin Gough, and Ken Mitchell. The acts were introduced by Ross Risdon (I've compered that many a change was overdue) who interjected a few tricks along the way. There was also some support from Ian, Derek and Kath Risdon, Jean Waite, Toni Mitchell (I think that's how it's spelt) and Eric, Jean and Lauren Stringwell, who also did the report from the show that you can find elsewhere in the Billet. As well as those mentioned Phil Howarth came along to support. He was also at the Party Night and enjoyed catching up with a few friends.
He came over to spend the night at my house the night after the Pudsey Show as the following morning he was going to Heysham and to the Ferry back to the Isle of Man. Little ol' me went with him. I'd found I had some day's holiday to get rid of before April so arranged to go across the waters to the land of the Manx cat, the Laxey Wheel and the Fairy Bridge where the locals nod a hello to the fairies. Some even call to them, "Hello Fairies," although apparently you are supposed to refer to them as "themselves". It is also the home of the exciting though dangerous TT races although my visit found the island to be closed for the winter.
It was a very relaxing few days I spent there and would recommend going across the water to visit the place if you enjoy the Scottish countryside or the more rural parts of the Lake District. It was unfortunate that Louise wasn't able to be with me, as she would have liked it too. Still it gave her a break from me.
One of the things we did (that's Phil and me) was to visit a charming gentleman who my dad served under in the Army. Brigadier Norman Butler CBE retired as Commander in Chief of the Royal Signals and, with his wife, Barbara, who passed away after long unusual illness, moved to the Isle of Man where he was at one point appointed Postmaster General and was also a Member of the House of Keys. I rang him when we arrived at Phil's house and said I was on the island. Plans were set in motion to meet up with him so on the Wednesday we set off to travel all the way from Port St. Mary on the Southern tip to Ramsey at the Northern end. Manx people on hearing of such long journeys (after all, the Island's 30 miles long) are amazed when you don't prepare a picnic! We spent a couple of very pleasant hours in his company. He is a wonderful man I'm glad to know because despite his impressive military credentials, there are no airs and graces with him. My dad was proud to serve under his command and pleased to consider him a friend years after.
After the pleasant morning, Phil and I took our leave of him and went to visit some interesting parts of the northernmost parts of the island, including Jurby Junk. Now on visiting there I immediately realised just how much fun creative people like Darren McDonald and Ross Risdon would have there, Darren for his gags and Ross for his eye for the unusual. It is basically a huge junk warehouse. Row upon row and rack upon rack of junk. Typewriters, irons, cork tips for snooker cues badges, vacuum cleaners, carpet sweepers, action figures with limbs missing, tea caddies, tea pots, tea service sets, cameras, cine-projectors, wigs, hats, badges, maps, mannequins and much more but all of it JUNK! However, the range of stuff covers several decades so very often drama production companies pay a call there when making period dramas. You are invited to visit the shop with you camera, camcorder etc., as it is quite a tourist attraction on the island. Next door to it and also run by the same lady, Stella, a 70 years old, leather clad biker type any Hell's Angel would be pleased to call Grandma, is a book shop warehouse with books from many decades covering most if not all subject matters. If you happen to visit The Isle of Man, try to find time to visit Jurby Junk.
From there Phil and I went to see The Laxey Wheel, a huge wheel that runs a pump that sucks water from one of the lead and tin mines on the island and is still in operation today. The wheel itself is just over 72 feet in diameter and when open to the public, you can climb the tower's spiral staircase and view the wheel from on high. If industrial things impress you, it's something to look for. That was just some of the things I got up to there.
One last thing I did was catch up with some other friends who also moved across there. Their son, Darryl is a budding snooker player and at only 9 years old is beating some considerable opposition including recently a former Irish Champion. If he continues to progress, Darryl Hill could be a name found up there with John Higgins and Stephen Lee.
I met up with him on the Thursday. He was just beginning an in house match against his opponent when we arrived at the Douglas Snooker Club. Unfortunately, he wasn't playing to his best form and was well beaten. I had a frame against him that he won. He certainly enjoyed the game though as being kitted up with tricks galore we had a lot of fun. On re-spotting the yellow ball, I found it had developed a squeak. A little later on I lined up to pot a red and the cue ball rolled right over it! Just another use for the humble sponge ball. It was nice to meet up with Darryl's family again.
The Friday morning saw me heading for home from a very nice stay and I hope to visit there again before too long. Maybe next time I'll get to meet up with members of the Magicians of Man. I found out that they had presented a show to the public on the same day that we were presenting our show over at Pudsey and that being more or less where I began, I'll stop I think.
Thanks for reading. See you next time.