Phase 2 of our campaign takes us to the rather splendid surroundings of Kingston Maurward College near Dorchester in Dorset, for a fundraising evening on behalf of the renal unit at the local hospital. Arriving a bit late with the long-suffering Shirley I find everyone else set up and soundchecked so I get my gear sorted in record time before finding the rest of the lads in the downstairs canteen- our base for the evening (they'd originally offered us, in Pete's words, 'a cupboard'). There's a tab at the bar (hurrah!) but no food (boo- and despite us being in a canteen!) so Pete and Shirley head off to the chip shop while the rest of us try not to go to the bar straight away. After they've returned with the food we have a tactical discussion along the lines of 'where does the act go from here?'- lots of good things said, lots to think about!
Gigtime then- and it's at this point two things are worth a mention. The first is the rather unusual nature of the venue- it's effectively an 'indoor tent' i.e. we're in a large rectangular room with (and I guess this is the best way to describe it) a tent set up in it. Sounds mad doesn't it? As the stage was at one end of it I've got the sloping bit of the tent on my head. Serves me right for being tall... the second thing to mention is that, it being a medical benefit evening, the place is full of nurses. A few doctors here and there but mostly nurses. Who have been drinking. A lot. The dance floor's full during the first number and stays pretty much that way for the whole show. And for the second night in a row things happen that cannot be recounted here.
So they won't be.
And for the second night in a row it's a great gig. Everyone plays well and Pete & Michael (the latter fueled by a bottled beer called 'Barn Owl'; when that ran out he had to have 'Old Thumper') are on top form throughout- a fine weekend's work.
As we're leaving Shirley tells me she was talking to 2 of the lads who worked at the venue. They thought she was about 25 years old which, as you can imagine, amused her greatly. As she was telling me this a rat ran out in front of us. A strange moment to end on... and what is it with her and rats?!?