I have been advised that I should be able to park outside, on the pavement. Law-abiding resident that I am, I decide to park along the road and walk up.
Here I am at the
base of Worthing's Men in Sheds to be interviewed by local television. Yes, indeed, I may just be a Star in the Making. Though probably not.
Regular readers may recall that the saga of Sorry Times for the
voluntary organisation I chair has been taking space in the local newspapers over recent months. Each time another story appears, the sub-editor responsible for putting the page together chooses to use, once again, the worst photograph ever taken of Yours
Truly. "Look miserable!" the photographer had exhorted me. Obedient as ever, I did as I was told. Now I am paying for it big time and, even though I am possibly one of the least vain people I know (not having too much to be vain about, you understand) nobody
really wants to be pictured in a newspaper circulating among one's friends and acquaintances in one's home town looking like the very wettest of Wet Weekends.
It seems an excellent idea to be filmed at the
premises of one of the local organisations we support. It will give them welcome publicity and with a little bit of luck may divert attention from my miserable face. Men in Sheds is the kind of organisation I love in that it does exactly what it says on the
tin. It brings together men - in sheds. They are making and mending, using skills like woodwork which they learnt from their fathers, who learnt them from their fathers before them.
One fella is fashioning
beautiful dolls' cribs, perfect in every handmade detail. I realise that I have solved the problem of The Twinkles' next birthday presents a full eight months before it even becomes a problem. Ralph, who set up Men in Sheds in Worthing, says the next two cribs
to be made will have my name on them.
Ernie, who will be 87 next month, is refurbishing tools to be donated to Third World countries. While he polishes up a fearsome looking saw, we talk about musical theatre
- he has performed in amateur productions for many a year. I should have seen his Scrooge, he tells me.
The TV people turn up and are delighted with the setting. Lots of noise and atmosphere, they say. I tell
them about Ernie and his refurbished tools and the cameraman makes sure to film him at work. Then it's my turn to face the camera. I know very well that, though I answer questions for around twenty minutes, it's likely only 20 seconds' worth will make it onto
the TV screen. Hopefully I won't have my Miserable Face on for the whole twenty seconds...
After my brief sortie into the World of Television, Mr B and I head off to the cinema where we have booked tickets
for "Eddie the Eagle." Now there was a man who, just by being himself, captivated the world's media. Mr B and I remember well those Winter Olympics in Calgary in 1988. We watched the Real Eddie make his (literally) death-defying ski jumps. It's one of the
benefits of living to a Great Age that you can recall the events of new feature films "based on real life" when they were, well, the Real Thing.
I remember when the film of Apollo 13 was first released, lots
of my younger friends, those too young to have been around in 1970, thought the story a little far-fetched. I'm not sure they believed me when I said that real life was even more incredible, even more miraculous, even more spine-tingling. And we were mere
observers. Likewise with Our Eddie. The makers of Eddie the Eagle may have taken considerable liberties, inventing at least one of the main characters - but those ski jumps are only too scarily real. I, being a wimp of the First Order who cannot even jump
off the side into a swimming pool, am holding tightly to my seat in Row D as we soar with Eddie and cross every finger and toe for a safe landing.
Eddie had it right when dealing with the media. He was always
himself. I, too, if I ever face the cameras again, must ensure that, like Eddie, I am true to myself.
Miserable face and all.