Yesterday was an odd day with two return trips to Brecon in the space of a few hours after meeting up with two old friends while suffering a slight communications breakdown!
The two friends in question were firstly “Boycie” from the wonderful “Only Fools and Horses” TV comedy, played by actor John Challis. The second hand car dealer with Marlene his wife was always one of our favourite supporting characters in the show so when tickets became available for an evening with him at the Brecon theatre we snapped them up ages ago.
John had starred in one of our favourite Tom Baker Doctor Who episodes “The Seeds of Doom” as baddie “Scorby”. John said it was one of his happiest times making the six episodes. Athelhampton Hall in Dorset was the site we visited when the kids were small as part of our young family’s obsession to visit filming locations of the series. I remember it was a long drive from home only to find on arrival it was shut!
The second friend to meet up with in Brecon yesterday, only a few hours earlier, was my old (pun intended) Gartner colleague Paul Gunstone who’d put me up in his house in Ireland years before when I was visiting clients and prospects in the government at the time.
Paul has a fantastic sense of humour which was often displayed to great effect during quarterly operations reviews with senior sales management that I was invited to as guest. I always looked forward to his presentation as he was never “politically correct” and as one of the more mature area managers was less concerned about being “on message” as they say. Hugely entertaining!
I won’t go into too much detail here but each year he goes on a “pilgrimage” to South Wales and climbs Pen Y Fan usually with his family in tow! Out of the blue Debbie told me on my return from the tip that Paul had Facebook messaged me he would love to meet up mid afternoon after the descent!
I responded to the affirmative and suggested we meet up at Talybont en route to Brecon, as I remembered last year he was staying in a hotel there and assumed he was doing the same this year. Unfortunately Paul only had data signal at the top of the mountain and I only had it at home. Worse neither of us had each others mobile numbers which has changed since leaving our former mutual employer!
As I headed off in the Freelander without receiving a reply and no data connectivity materialised on arrival at Talybont we took the dogs for a short stroll before deciding that Brecon was our best bet for a signal but all we got was GPRS until I managed to piggyback on some free WiFi!
Instantly I got 5 messages, sent him my number and received a call from Paul to announce he was parked up in Waitrose opposite our estate in Llanfoist! He then instructed us to find a dog friendly pub garden and wait for his arrival with young son Nathan.
After about half an hour we finally met up and chin wagged over a pint before reluctantly making our way back home – Paul wasn’t staying over this year and had been on a day trip with Nathan so we invited them to have lunch with us next year now that communications had been firmly established!
Dropping the dogs off at home we retraced our steps in the Galaxy this time towards Brecon and our evening with “Boycie”.
Only Fools indeed! 😂