Guernsey was a whole big bumper bunch of fun, despite the stinky weather and the stinking cold with which I came down over the weekend. The talk seemed to go really well despite me, as usual, overrunning spectacularly. I can’t even claim to like the sound of my own voice, as I can’t think of anything worse than listening to my stilted, nasal cockney whine, but nobody fell asleep or threw anything; the two ways by which I measure the success or otherwise of a speaking engagement.
One highlight for me was reading the shipping forecast on BBC Radio Guernsey’s breakfast show on Monday. No doubt I’ll have confused every mariner in local waters, but it was a terrific honour to be asked. It also brought home to me the vagaries of island life, when they cut to a special correspondent for news on whether the post and the newspapers had arrived that morning. The former had, the latter hadn’t.
On Tuesday night I spoke at a dinner for the Anchorites, a group of sociable seafarers whose organisation dates back to 1919 and who are currently presided over by Roy Clare, the Director of the National Maritime Museum, an admirable cove for whom I’ve spoken before. The dinner was on a boat moored on the Thames at Temple, and proved to be an entertaining and boozy occasion.
I’d fallen back on my home banker, stone cold winning anecdotes about visiting Sealand, so was rather disconcerted that mention of the noble principality caused a man at an adjacent table to moan and slap his forehead. Turns out he’s from the Port of London Authority who have had a few run-ins with the Bates over the years…
It’s an unseasonably busy time at the moment, which is weird because I’ve not actually got a book to write. Tomorrow I shall be ensconsed in a recording studio with Julian Rhind-Tutt for the recording of the In Search of Elvis audiobook. Julian’sreading the thing, so you’re all saved from my nasal cockney whine. More news as it happens, stay tuned to this channel.