160. Fifteen minutes…

“I’ve never married an actor before,” beams the Rev Tom Holst as he smiles over his lectern.

“I’ve never married a vicar,” mutters ActorLaddie, winning him the first frown of our married life.

“It might put an extra strain on your marriage. If you become famous, everyone will want to be your friend,” warns the Rev.

A good point – and one ActorLaddie took to heart there and then by resolving never to become famous; a resolution he has kept, so far. Marrying an actor has been – and continues to be – good fun – a bit like having a living lottery ticket. But, in truth, you’re only likely to recognise him in the street if you’re a massive fan of that classic piece of American docudrama “The New Adventures of Robin Hood (not forgetting the Warrior Marion)” in which ActorLaddie played an assortment of priests, lords, villagers and sorcerers.

I’m sure we’d all agree that the episode where Robin rescues Boudicca, or as the American production company would have it “Boadichea”, was a masterpiece of historical re-enactment only surpassed by the one where Robin rescues Lady Godiva. Eat your heart out, Lucy Worsley.

Having said that, I’ve just remembered that, as we were leaving the theatre last week, someone did come up to say how much they’d enjoyed A.L.’s performance. And as we had actually stepped onto the pavement, I guess it was technically being recognised in the street. A.L. just thanked them (they were right, by the way, he was good) and so far it doesn’t seem to have landed us in the divorce courts.

Teaching is another performance art and, as any teacher will tell you – and perhaps some will share stories below – being recognised by pupils out of school is something of an occupational hazard.   Younger children stare in disbelief that you can exist outside the classroom and furthermore are confused that Ms Sugarsprinkles isn’t with you.

As for older children – well, I was out and about when a gravelly voice boomed “hello, Miss.”

“Well, hello there,” I replied. “Remind me, are you still at secondary school? I lose track.”

“Sort of,” said GravellyVoice.

“Oh – do you mean you’re on exam leave?”

“Not really. I’ve been excluded,” GV said calmly. Then, seeing my face, hastened to add, “but, it’s not for anything bad.” So that’s all right then.

The Deputy Head of a local secondary school told us of the time he was waiting at traffic lights on his way into work one morning. He happened to glance over at the driver of the neighbouring Volvo, only to see horrified recognition on the face of one of his thirteen year old pupils sitting at the wheel. The lad hadn’t stolen the car, it turned out. He’d raided his dad’s safe, then bought the car that morning.

I digress. Where I’m going with this, is that I’ve had my own sliver of fame. It came about from a new venture, namely being a Volunteer Speaker for Parkinson’s UK.

I’d thanked PUK for some resources I used in a school assembly. Which led to a conversation with the lady who deals with requests for speakers. Which led to me going along to see her speak to a Rotary group, who happened to be meeting in our local pub. As part of her talk, she was going to show a video of someone sharing their experience of being diagnosed with PD. But the technology wasn’t working so, instead, I filled the slot by talking about my experience. I used my assembly voice and no-one asked to go to the toilet, so I guess that counts as a success.

Anyway, a few days after the talk, LittleSis and I were back in the pub garden, having earned a drink with some vigorous allotmenteering in the sun. We asked Ma and Pa to join us and, as we sat there, the manager walked past and greeted me.

“How does he know you?” asked Ma.

“You remember, I did a talk here in the week,” I said. “The Rotary Club. He’s a member.” Ma frowned.

“But how did he recognise you?” she said. “ You’re wearing a hat.”

I guess if my career as a Volunteer Speaker really takes off, I’m going to need a more effective disguise. Otherwise, people may want to be my friends, and who know what chaos might ensue?

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