So all the people who say I must love going on tour because it means I can get some sleep away from the baby don’t know what they are talking about. I don’t sleep well in hotels, but also it takes a couple of hours to come down after a gig so get to sleep late, but generally have to wake up early. So I end up sleeping less.
But last night I stayed at my parent’s house in Cheddar and even though I went to bed at 1 and initially woke up at 6, I could then go back to sleep. There was no breakfast to get up for and no check out time and the extra three hours I got made all the difference. Especially with a mini nap at midday. I may just schedule in loads of gigs in Somerset when my parents are away (usually they are up early and making plenty of noise, although even when they’re not there they get plenty of phone calls in a day - a lot more than I get in a week).
It’s worth having limited sleep just so you can enjoy the rare oasis where you have just enough. I even had the energy for a run (though only about a ten minute one) and went up the gorge for lunch (then ruined it all by having an ice cream, but really looking forward to the first time I can bring Phoebe here and buy her one). It was the usual cavalcade of memories that feel like they’re from last year, but happened 30-40 years ago. The former sweet shop halfway down Tweentown that is now someone’s house (you watch TV in a lounge where I used to buy aniseed balls you idiots) is now up for sale and part of me felt that I should buy it and restore it to its former glory. My main ambition as an 8 year old was to own my own sweet shop, but mainly so I could just eat sweets for free. It wasn’t the greatest business model, but part of me still yearned to make it happen. I will wait till I have enough money to buy the whole of Cheddar and then make it into a theme park and return it to how it looked in 1977 and live every day as a ten year old, paying all the other inhabitants to go along with it. It’s clearly all I wanted of my life.
I don’t know if any fresh memories came up today, though as I passed a cider shop I thought about Glenn who had worked in Cheddar caves at the same time as me and who I clicked with, in spite of him being from slightly the wrong side of the tracks (I think he may have had some trouble with the law). I was so uncool and the Headmaster’s Son that I was delighted someone a bit naughty and normal liked me. I was a bit naughty too. I sometimes manned the ticket booth on Jacob’s Ladder and if anyone bought a ticket just to go up the steps (mostly people had combined tickets to all the attractions, I’d keep their 50p. I must have made £1.50 that way over the years I worked there.
Glenn would later work in that cider shop and when I came home from University one year he gave me a free tiny bottle of cider without me having to pay. Like Benny from Grange Hill, he’s frozen in my mind as a teenager and I haven’t seen him since the 1980s. I wondered what he was up to now and if he was still alive. I wouldn’t recognise him if I saw him now.
Giles nearly ran over my dad last time he was in Cheddar, so I was glad that my parents were away and safe. This time the Cannibal satisfied himself with smashing one of the plates my mum and dad had been given as a wedding present fifty-odd years ago and leaving his bedroom windows open. We only noticed once I’d posted the keys back through the door and thus risked having to leave the house open to burglars until Monday. Luckily my sister has a spare key, but the Cannibal’s attempts to take vengeance on my parents for a slight unknown continues.
I was full of energy for the Swindon gig. I used to come to the Arts Centre a lot back in the old days (I remember doing Talking Cock here the first time round and my mum and dad were in the audience and I felt mildly embarrassed - those days are now long gone). I don’t know if 2003 was the last time I came here (they had very unpleasant egg mayonnaise sandwiches for me that time, thankfully there were none for me this year. None of it seemed very familiar, until, as usual, I was backstage in the green room which I knew instantly.
It wasn’t full but there was a reasonable sized crowd and although I kept things moving along with half an eye on getting home before midnight, I think they enjoyed it. At least we were all missing the Eurovision song contest.