The Bristol Experience

I had a horrible drive to Bristol on Saturday, it was mainly fog all the way there and add that to some totally crap driving (the other guys on the road were not much better).

I would have still made it to the hotel for 1:30 as I planned had my satnav not decided that waiting until the most difficult part of the journey to stop giving me directions was a good idea. What is really annoying about satnavs is remembering to switch from the reliance on the bit of kit and use of my own brain. I mean, ‘it’ (satnav) was having go round in circles yet when I decided to ignore it the street signs actually did an incredibly good job of getting me to where I needed to be. As it happens I was only 15 minutes late which was just as well because there was a jobs worth woman on reception at the hotel that was never going to let me check in early!.

I sent Martyn a text to say I had arrived and he then called over that he could see that (or words to that effect) so the text was a little pointless and not least as my PDA is going screwy and it took nearly 10 minutes to get the text sent.

You can just picture the scene, so long apart that we ran into each others arms in a loving embrace declaring unending love and devotion, it was pure movie magic … no, wait, that was a movie. Actually we just said hello but that’s rather dull and boring.

Martyn took us up or, should that be ‘over’ the downs or, should it be ‘down’ the downs? Anyway, we went for a walk across some fields with several football matches happening, loads of “On the edge, man on, clear my balls and suck my goalposts” from the players, actually I couldn’t hear most of what they said but I am sure it was something like that .. for the record, the number 8 in yellow was crap.

There are some nice houses over that side of Bristol, probably some of them are old folks home but many still seemed to be privately owned and lived in, there is some serious money there. I did see one with a tower I quite fancied, it’s always been my wish to have a large erection in my house and there it was.

Our walk too us to the suspension bridge which I am pleased to inform is still there, that bloke IKB knew what he was doing with that thing … well, I say that, you see, when you look at the gorge it is quite striking that there is a newer bridge less than quarter of mile further along that I am sure was much easier to construct and they probably knocked up in a weekend which begs the question: Did Brunel build there because he was a jolly clever chap and just a bit of a show off or was it for a bet? “’Ere, Isambard, I bet you couldn’t get a bridge across the highest part of the gorge, there’s a pint on it mate”
“I certainly shall dear chap or I shall die trying”
As it happens, he did both.

Whilst we wandered along we discussed philosophy and climate change and the current state of erosion in the Nile Delta and … no, that’s bollox, of course we didn’t. We did speak about the Gran Canaria holiday and how crowded it sounds like being then, that the holiday company has altered our flights … we appear to now be part of a freight consignment along with 15 sheep and a small nuclear missile destined for Iran. There was also a chat about the sand dunes of Playa Del Ingles and that I had never indulged in the full range of activities it has to offer. I had drunk there, I had a pee there, I sunbathed and did sport got some exercise but apparently there is something I have not yet done which sounded interesting though I can’t recall what it was just at the moment.

Later I was at the panto. I decided to walk there too as I’d eaten rather a lot and needed to unbloat myself which, I am informed, is not a word but I think it should be so it stays. By the time I arrived my knees were really throbbing and I was glad to sit down and soon afterwards the curtains went up on Cinderella, it was her own fault, she shouldn’t have been standing there.

The ugly sisters were a scream though a slight slip in timing meant some of their gags got missed leaving the audience a little confused because the sisters looked puzzled they didn’t get a laugh, it was short lived and soon enough everyone was relaxed and having fun. Buttons was cute, straight but cute … well, I assume he is straight; he’s married so he must be! He did struggle a little with the numbers on the high notes or maybe it was just in the wrong key for him, it certainly wasn’t first night nerves as this was the last night but it didn’t detract from the show. I got somewhat confused by the background snoring and I still don’t know whether it was meant to be Baron Hardon asleep upstairs or the guy behind me, I didn’t think it was the sort of thing to sleep through but then, I remember Tony who seemed to go to sleep and snore through every production he went to unless it involved cute boys.

The Prince and Dandini were really excellent and even the occasional slip didn’t stop them, in fact, they were pro enough for it to positively add to the enjoyment. Martyn, as Baron Hardon did manage to get some boos but only by association with the ugly sisters. Poor guy, he was trying to show a certain degree of sympathy for his daughter Cinderella. I’d not have given her any, the bitch was two timing buttons so she could have a cross dressing lesbian affair, she deserved no sympathy at all! But seriously, it was very well acted; my only real downer was the King & Queen who I felt were both wooden and unconvincing. Young ‘Tarquin’ was excellent and coped very well with his challenge and was not bothered at all by the ‘accidental’ change of instrument from trumpet to piano. For a lad of 13 he did incredibly well. Our Fairy Godmother seemed knackered the poor love but then, she does have several other young girls to look after all of whom are looking for their one true love and it’s her job to sort it all out of course so no wonder she was fatigued. She did really well though managing to sing some songs that she clearly didn’t feel comfortable with and doing them well.

Well done one and all.

Afterward we had a party which was very weird for me. I can’t remember the last time I went to a party where everyone was at least pretending to be straight. Martyn is not out to them which made it all the more difficult for me. I mean, I am about as far away from Narnia as it is possible to get yet here I was feeling a little awkward what to say in case someone should ask questions about who I was, how I knew Martyn. Fortunately they seemed more interested in who I was than how I know Martyn and apparently I am just a mate who is mad keen on panto’s … well, it’s partly true.

Normally I am at functions with other gay guys so I am used to doing things together, it actually really hurt when Martyn went onto the dance floor for a ‘smoochie’ with a woman and obviously I couldn’t take part in any way. Putting aside any feelings I may still hold for Martyn, even as a friend I would have hugged at some point and danced so this just felt really out of place for me. But for now that is Martyn’s world and it doesn’t do me any harm at all to see things from a differing perspective and it must be just as awkward for Martyn too because he is really a lot more perceptive than he likes to let on, he’d have known I was sitting there wanting to hug him, he may even have liked the idea but he can’t and perhaps coming out to so many people at such an event isn’t the best decision in the world to make!

There was a lovely moment earlier on when some of the workers on the catering side performed their own mini panto and all I can say about it is … it was ‘alright’.

Good night sleep had I headed home around 9 but got too engrossed in the Archers and instead of taking the M6 O missed it and took the A42 instead, I didn’t even realise for some time and then noticed the motorway signs had turned green. That sure as hell added some to my journey time and I got back at midday, bloody Archers!

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