So the washing up brush finally turned up. The poltergeist had taken it all the way up to my bedroom and hidden it amongst my gym clothing in my wardrobe. Why would it do that? Just for pure mischief. And the fact the brush could get so far away from the kitchen proves there are ghosts. Science might tell you that the most probable explanation is that the brush got caught up with my piles of clean washing and I took it up there myself, but how likely is that compared with a poltergeist? Not very. You’ll have to do better science.
And if you’re so clever science, where the Hell are my door keys? I don’t know. They keep disappearing, but this time they’ve been gone for ages. And the ghost hasn’t even put them back in an unexpected pocket somewhere. Bloody ghost. It’s made me so frightened that I’ve gone grey.
I had another fun day out with the family, looking at houses and popping in on the in-laws for kedgeree. Phoebe continued to find everything hilarious and I am hopeful that she can so charm a house owner with her happiness that they might just give us their house for free. No luck on that one yet. We looked in some areas that we haven’t been to before, attempting to find the perfect balance of being close to my wife’s family and close to London, whilst saving me some driving time when I am on tour. It looks likely that that will be somewhere near to the northern part of the M25. But it’s such a big decision and what if we fuck it up? And it’s all very grown up.
One of the houses we saw had the estate agent in a bit of flutter: the time of the appointment changed and she sounded flustered on the phone, like there was something she wanted to tell me, but that she wasn’t sure she could say. It turned out that the owner of the house was a celebrity and I suppose that would brighten up an estate agent’s day. But you know, it was also mildly insulting that she didn’t realise the person she was showing round was the man who had played Percy in Servants. I am friends with the bloke from the 1994 Doritos advert and the man who advertised Tizer in the bumper breaks on CD:UK so I am used to hanging out with personalities. Luckily the estate agents in Shepherd’s Bush are much cooler. None of them seem even a little bit nervous in the company of the star of “A Very British Cult”, almost like they don’t even know who I am and they’ve clearly instructed the potential buyers to treat me like a normal person too.
We met the owner on his way out and he certainly looked the part, but I didn’t immediately know who he was, thinking he was maybe a footballer. He’d certainly gone to town to do his house up like a celebrity deserved, with a home cinema and a fish tank in the wall between two rooms and a swimming pool and gym built in his garden. It wasn’t really to our tastes, and only in our budget because it was in a surprisingly dull location in one of the rougher parts of North London, with a busy train line at the end of the garden, but it was fascinating to look round, a bit like being on the original “Through the Keyhole”, doubly so because I didn’t really know who the celebrity was.
In the kitchen, which had five ovens and a special curved wok plate on the hob it became apparent that the celebrity was a chef. This became even more apparent because he had copies of all his own books on a shelf in the pantry. And nobody else’s books. I guess if you are good at being a chef you don’t need the other chefs’ books, but it seemed a little weird to have your own as well. Surely you know your own recipes. But I think it’s fair to say that this was an egotistical man. He had an amazing home (and a room with a pool table in it - a dream come true for me), but it was very much his. I wondered if the appointment had changed time so that he could be there to meet us, to impress us with his fame, so we’d want to buy into his world.
But even though I am a huge celebrity, arguably as huge as this TV chef (only I would argue that but that’s not the point) I would rather have a less flashy family home that was about my family, not an extension of my personality (especially given how dull my personality is -this house certainly suited this man). As much as it might be fun to have a pizza oven in the garden, I think it would probably not be used to cook pizzas and become a home to some local thrushes or rats. And it would seem a waste to use the five ovens to cook five baked potatoes (three of which I then threw away).
We had known that this wasn’t the place for us from the drive through the town centre - we’re looking for something a bit more country than town - but we still looked round the house, partly because it would have been rude to just bail out on our appointment, but mainly because it was fascinating to get a window (with some fish in it) into the lifestyle of someone so completely different to ourselves. And maybe if I had the house I could change personality and have the lifestyle and get back on TV.
I think that I might get all my copies of “Talking Cock” out of storage in my basement and fill every book case I have in my house with them. It’d really freak people out and they’d go away saying “You know, Richard Herring? No me either, but I’ve googled him and he’s a comedian of some kind. He has 1000 copies of his own book on display in his house and it’s about penises. No, I didn’t buy his house."
RHLSTP with Al Murray now up
And iTunes (link in that last link)
RHLSTP returns on Sunday for start of series 8 - with guests Diane Morgan and Stuart Goldsmith. Leic Sq Theatre at 4pm. See it live and uncensored (occasionally the guest requests a cut for the podcast). It’s a lot of fun and the show will be over by 7pm so you can go out for dinner of get a train home after.