We started the week with a bank holiday (not Scotland). This had the two-pronged effect of being a quiet morning on the show, whilst the majority of the UK decided to have a lie in before setting off to find the nearest traffic jam, where they remained for the rest of the day.
One of the many bonuses of being on at this time of the day and always being on the radio on Bank Holidays is that I never have to worry about traffic jams or huge crowds. It probably gives me a false impression of how crowded this island of ours is, and an abiding hatred of crowded places. I have lost count of the times when, faced with a long queue, have decided to go somewhere else. When I read of people waiting overnight for tickets to an event, or being in a line for hours for a white knuckle ride at an amusement park, I wonder where the attraction lies.
Understandably, if it is your only day off you have no option. When the show came from Birmingham at bank holidays, the traffic would back a mile up to Junction 9 of the M6 in order for people to visit a well known Scandinavian furniture store. What it must have been like inside the shop is anybody’s guess.
People fighting over the last "Glupmph" or "Snookit". (I think these may be a style of bathmat that matches the "Hkvoot" toothbrush holder and the "Cqweitu" woollen bathroom stationary holder in the form of a woman in a big dress that hides the roll. I think it may be an impressionistic representation of Pippy Longstockin although I wouldn't swear to it.)
The other secondary effect of the bank holiday was producer Dr Strangelove decided to take the day off to do exciting things; this mainly involved catching up on his sleep. For a man who spends approximately 19 hours per day in the land of nod, he was in dire need of a refresh.
His place was taken for the morning by old mate - and now Simon Mayo producer - Andy Warrell. Andy originally worked on the programme before fleeing to catch up on his sleep. What is it with these youngsters?
"Fred Slippage" occurred as soon as the programme started when it transpired that he had spent the previous two days trying to find an appropriate costume; he and his wife were soon to be guests at a friend’s wedding which had a 50's theme. Obviously this was a serious occasion and they didn't want to go as Teds as that would be a bit of a cliche. So increasingly bizarre suggestions came flooding in. In case you missed the show you can hear some of them on this weeks Audio boo (get it here)
Whilst on the subject of dress fancy or otherwise, looking at my rather depleted and shabby wardrobe the other day, I realised that due to wear, tear and pilfering, I was down to the last of my favourite shirts. Indian cotton. 5 button Grandads to be precise.
I had been hunting for them for some time. The market stall in London's Soho where I bought 7 of them (hey, organised!) back in 1992 seemed to have vanished. So, and internet search for said garments suggested a shop down the East End. I phoned in advance to make sure that they were not just mail order:
"Erm, is that the shop that sells…er…shirts?"
"Yes, among other things"
"Can I visit and buy the aforementioned shirts or do I have to do so by mail order?"
"You can although we are a wholesaler"
"Does this mean I have to buy hundreds of shirts?"
"No," said the man slowly and patiently.
Obviously, thinking that idiots like this had died out during the last days of the Raj.
"I will be down tomorrow to view shirts, thank you," I said in the curious kind of English that aliens use in Sci-Fi movies:-
The language that doesn't seem to phase the dumb Redneck they have encountered in the Mid-West of the U.S in a wood in the middle of the night, as he is out "'coon huntin'" and has followed what he thinks is a meteorite as it plummets to earth leaving a smoking crater with a glowing, throbbing rock in the bottom of it which is really the spaceship. Shortly after that, the man - driven half mad by the anal probe - staggers into town frothing about little green men. Of course, nobody believes him until their pets start disappearing and the couple necking in the moonlight in their convertible up at Council Bluff notice their radio going funny....
Incidentally I have written about Aliens in part to shock Dr Strangelove as he could double as the frothing yokel due to a firm belief he holds that extra terrestrials are trying to communicate with him using his nasal hair as little aerials.
So back to the shirts. Off I trudged until I found the address. It was a shop bearing a totally different name to that on their website. In I went. It was packed to the rafters with boxes of...shirts. And other clothing related items.
"Erm, hello, I..."
That was as far as I got before the beaming Sikh, sporting a spectacular blue turban interrupted:
"You phoned yesterday"
I suppose he rarely had such a daft phone call so it was easy to identify me.
I was wearing the last of my original batch so that I could show him exactly what I wanted.
"Yes plenty of those. We also have full button as well as 5 button and short sleeve and they come in a variety of colours"
He regarded me for a moment and pointed me in the direction of a rack.
"Excuse me...the one I am wearing is a Small!"
This was swept aside:
"You are going to be at least a large"
"Try a medium"
I grabbed a shirt and ducked behind a pile of boxes and slipped comfortably into it. With room to spare I may add!
He muttered something which, as only being a speaker of the world’s two most important and understood languages: English and "Louder English", I didn't catch but took to mean something like:
"Well I'll go to the foot of our stairs. In all me years in the schmutter business I have never been wrong before and there he is, an Adonis in that medium shirt, make no mistyke to be sure!
I am taking a wild stab here; it may have meant something else.
I bought ten. He threw in a very pretty blue silk scarf. For the Dark Lady I hasten to add.
Reckon I am all shirted up for another 15 years now.
On the programme this week I mentioned that the blog would contain a winkle reference. Having run out of space for this week I shall include it next. As a teaser it has something to do with my home town of Hastings and St Michael's Hospice in St Leonards on sea.
If you are around this Saturday the 4th September it is their Summer Fayre which starts at 10.30. Yours truly will be modelling one of the shirts most likely and drawing the tombola at 1pm. Hope to see you there.