Reclaiming the flag

 The last week saw a flurry of activity with friends old and new contacting me. I had an email from the Travellor who is somewhere on the Baltic sea, the Driver who was on a road somewhere between Aberdeen and Edingburgh rang to say he would be calling in to visit me in a few short weeks. The Tiler rang me on Saturday afternoon to let me know how well things are going in Oz, the Beast rang to tell me he was still in the land of the living and Little Miss Sunshine called in to see me a couple of evenings during the week. This included one afternoon when she took my mum out for a meal to the place where my dad used to work. They have an annual bash for all the pensioners and spouses of people who worked in the company and were there up until retirement. Things were going well if not a little slowly until Mum and Miss Sunshine had sat down at the venue and mum declared she had left her teeth at home! When LMS and mum arrived back home LMS decided that mums legs were in a particularly poor state and warrented the attention of the doctor. Friday arrived and so did the doctor who has changed mums medication and we now wait to see if there are any results or favourable changes in her condition.

Saturday arrived and with it a constant change of events and circumstances. After much faffing around and many phone calls; me, the beancounter, LMS, her daughter and new boyfriend ended up in the garden at Ted Magnums house. It was the first dry day we have had since the end of April and as soon as the sun poked through the clouds Ted decided it was time for a few beers and a fire. Not knowing when we would have the chance to do this again due to the inclement weather, I jumped at the chance and pressed ganged said people into turning up at Teds. A quiet evening with some friends, a bottle or two of Kentuckys finest and a roaring fire, what could be better? In fact it was good to have some of the Tedstock Massive in attendance, The Drummer, the Teacher, the Revellors, even Riker and miss Decolatage arrived. This was an honour indeed even if the massive was actually small enough to be a Missive! As the beer was flowing and spirits soared, we sparked up a bonfire and sat around it. Those who could, left when their legs and brain cells would let them and for those like me who could not move, stayed all night staring firstly into the flames and then into the ashes. I woke in the morning to the sound of a whistling kettle and Ted cooking bacon and eggs over the heat of the dying embers. The pair of us could have been part of the scout movement. After cleaning up the previous evenings leftovers and a general tidy up I parted company with Ted and was driven home by the bean counter.

Its always awkward trying to fit so many things into such a small time frame. Months ago the Bean Counter or BC had bought tickets for us to go and see the “Last night of the proms” at the Liverpool Philarmonic hall. A few days previously we had been told we had to attend a christening, also on the same day. It was now mid day, I was covered in grime and smoke from the fire at Teds and I had to get ready to go to a christening and then make my way to Liverpool. I had made the decison some time ago that I was going to the proms in my best evening attire and I was going to wave a union jack at every opportunity. This meant wing collared shirt with a bow tie, black trousers and the lightest jacket I had for the event. It also meant going to a christening at a pub looking  a total twat. In the end the christening was a great afternoon spent speaking to lots of people and drinking Tequila shots. No one seemed to mind what I was wearing although I did explain on a couple of occasions to those who asked, why I looked like a fish out of water. By 6pm BC and myself decided to leave and make our way to Liverpool, we should have left at 5pm so we were only an hour late and 5 drinks over what we had decided would be suitable for the afternoon. A lift was arranged for us by some of our new found friends to the nearest station and we waited for a train. I am not suggetsting that the station we were delivered to is in the sticks but it did have a station cat who had decied to curl up and go to sleep on the ticket counter. It seemed completely nonplussed as we tried to get our tickets without disturbing it. It looked so cute and from such a bygone age that I took a photo of it. (see gallery)

The journey into Liverpool was pretty unremarkable but made amusing by the company of one of the guests from the christening who obviously had far more to drink than we had. I dont remember his name but he came from the Isle of Man. Fortunately for us he got off several stops before we did and I doubt he will remember being on the train with us depite asking me and BC our names and where we worked every two minutes. The concert itself was spectacular and the orchestra were conducted by Carl Davies, a rather flamboyant individual of some considerate skill and reputation. The first section of music before the interval saw Carl in a full length purple satin frock coat complete with a pair of training shoes and a shock of hair that made Don Kings look tame. The most memorable piece being Prokofievs “Capulets and Montagues” from the Romeo and Juliet suite. The section after the interval saw Carl change into an even more flamboyant Gold colour frock coat and we were given just a taster of what we had all really come to hear, Fantasia on British Sea Songs. This brought a lump to my throat as Blue Peter resonated off the walls of the concert hall. By the time they were into Rule Brittania I was positively choked and my glasses had steamed up. I was waving my Union Jack and singing along for all I was worth. Another change of garb for the increasingly individualistic composer saw him slip into a union Jack Swallow Tail coat and I was feeling as patriotic as it was possible to be when the strains of Jerusalem hit me. By now my hands were sore from applauding and I was hoarse. I wanted to shout out “Carl Davies rocks” but I couldn’t.  An evening of unbridled and completely unashamed patriotism was duly brought to a close with Elgars Pomp and Circumstance March No.1 in D major. By the end of the concert tears of emotion were streaming down my face. To see so many Union Jacks and St Georges Cross being flown and waved was awe inspiring and just for a moment I felt as though my national flag was no longer an object of hatred and there might be a chance of us as a nation reclaiming the flag from the BNP and other extremists who have hijacked it and caused councils to ban flag flying for fear of offence and litigation.

The whole weekend had been a complete success save for a snotty taxi driver who brought us home from Liverpool. However the best part of the weekend was the discovery that a few rays of sunshine, a few beers, a fire and some tunes can uplift the human soul to such a degree.

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