22 July 2013
It’s Monday morning, and I find myself in a small room above a charming boozer in the Cotswolds beavering away at the Mobile Command Centre, or laptop. Although it sounds on the face of it that I may have run away from the hurly-burly of life at The Gables on a big weepy middle-class “Who Am I?” in search of inner peace, balance of the soul and scones to a quaint rural retreat, the actual reason for this is simply the price of diesel. Last night I was with Mr. Holland at his concert at the Westonbirt Arboretum, up the road from Elaine Delmar services, tonight I am in Cardiff. It would have meant 48 hours doing lengths of the M4, so I got on LateRooms.com and in return for secret codes on my plastic rectangle, sorted out some digs.
The morning has displayed all the hallmarks of life on the road. I have successfully deciphered the control unit of another en-suite shower, this time without managing to either scald one side of my body or subject it to a freezing torrent sufficient to put myself into stasis for the rest of the day. In this case, the shower unit is encased in a nice plastic booth thingy, so I have been excused the mildly unpleasant sensation of the hotel shower curtain sticking itself to the side of the bum whilst wrestling with the earlier mentioned plumbing related codebreaking. Mildly unpleasant in itself, the sensation of self-imposed self adhesive thin gauge vinyl gets rather more unpleasant when you as the victim then realise that you cannot be the only person whose gluteous maximus, or bum, has had this treatment. Suddenly we are into the terrifying universe of unintentionally rubbing bums by proxy with hundreds of strangers. Although I’m sure that there are those who happily part with cash for the privilege, for your jaded scribe it’s a thought best left alone.
I have also abided by the life-on-the-road-code by having a breakfast which was far too large, simply because I could. Back at The Gables, where the Healthy Way reigns supreme, breakfast is always a modest bowl of porridge, preceded by ten minutes of stretches and light exercise. I’m not being poncy here for once, it really is. This all goes out of the window altogether on the road, where the rickety descent from bedroom to dining room is left until absolutely the last possible moment, in this case 09.29.29, with the good intention of having an orange juice and maybe a small plate of kippers. Can anyone refuse a full English? Especially round here, where everything is locally sourced from neighbourhood farms? Certainly not me. That sausage was poetry, I can tell you.
The descent from bedroom to dining room this morning was made all the more rickety by the solo consumption of quite a collection of Stella Artois in the room after work last night. Jools is an old school rock-and-roller, and so old-school rock-and-roll rules apply to the backstage area at the gig. This includes a large fridge stuffed to the gunnels with Stella, Guinness and Red Bull, and in an amusing Bowl Of Blue Smarties sort of way, two bottles of Fentiman’s Ginger Beer. As everybody shot back off home as soon as the gig finished, most of the fridge lay intact, so I helped myself to a small selection and scuttled off back here.
Once back here, as any red-blooded male alone in a hotel room at night with time on his hands would, I then started thinking of the Seaplanes of The Axis Powers Diorama. In particular I started contemplating the people who were going to be positioned around, cheerily playing cards at a small table under the cool shade of the Blohm & Voss 238, backing the re-fuelling lorry up to the Heinkel etc etc. Solitude and free beer are great friends of the Google binge, and I stumbled across the website of a German firm by the name of Preiser. It would appear that I am not the first chap to have wanted to make a Seaplanes of The Axis Powers diorama, as they have a full range of things seemingly made with me in mind, from mechanics loading boxes to the Luftwaffe Parade band and standard bearers. You can even get a set of miniature off-duty Germans playing cards to go under the wing of the Bv 238. However, the main comedy of the matter is in the figures they make for other kinds of dioramas. Quite what you would need a set of Seven Assorted Threatening People for I can only wonder, but I must say that I am curiously drawn to the Lady dancer In Tall Hat. Before I go, next time we will have trips to Metroland and Cardiff. Betjeman and Dylan Thomas, loosely. I’ll say good-bye now, and leave you in the good hands of the Preiser catalogue. Have a look- you won’t be disappointed. It may even stir the dioramicist inside you! Preiser catalogue