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  The Chatter Box : Blathering On
Messages 1 2 3 

Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Katherine_B on 23 October 2004 11:32pm
Tuesday afternoon, 19th October 2004 and I, a Palin fan for some 17 years from Deepest Lincolnshire was surfing the Net to find book signing dates for a hero of mine, called Nick Owen (Anne and Nick, TV-AM, BBC local news, Birmingham) who has an autobiography out. The search led me to the Ottakar's website, and the guest signing pages. Duly noting down the dates and times, something caught my eye. There on the screen were the words "Michael Palin book signing, Ottakar's, Lincoln, 22nd October - 11:30 am". My heart stopped and my lower jaw clanged to the ground. A second later, my hands clapped over my gaping mouth. Normally a chatterbox, I was for once silent! A second later my mind was made up - I was going to Lincoln and only Armageddon would stop me! Only 4.5 hours' sleep the night before didn't matter!

The day dawned and I was at last going to meet a person I held in special high regard as one day, he might choose me to be his Passepartout on a journey! Failing that, I could have stowed myself away under his toothbrush! Drip-fed Monty Python and travel documentaries by my Palin-keen parents from the age of nine (1986), I could recite the parrott sketch forwards, backwards and diagonally!! As for meeting him, I felt underqualified to do so; the most exotic place I've ever been to was Calais!

SHOCK! HORROR! DISASTER! On the crucial day, the trains were operating to a special timetable because of that much-loved excuse, leaves on the line! The train crawled and inched closer to Lincoln at a painfully slow speed - come on!! COME ON!!! I eventually arrived 40 minutes' late, running like mad up Lincoln High Street to no avail - I was TOO LATE to get into an already-fully patronised Palin book signing! Oh the agony! Felt by not only me, but a whole phalanx of angry Palin fans locked out, one of whom had served in the Gurkhas, were engaging in bitter word warfare with the Ottakar's staff! I too lost my temper, lobbed my verbal volley at the staff and suddenly remembered; NOTTINGHAM!! SAME DAY!! I saw it on the Waterstones site further in the search on the Net! I STILL had a chance, and it was one that might put me in hot water with my parents for straying off course! I cared not, told the Ottakar's staff to stuff their signing - I was about to put my 'insurance policy' against Lincoln disappointment into action. I was damned if I was going to miss out and bloody-mindedly held on to my dream, determined to meet Michael! I fled back down Lincoln High Street faster than Michael Schumacher on a hot lap and back to the railway station. I hurriedly bought a single to Nottingham, legged it to the right platform and plonked my backside down into the nearest available seat.

An hour later, and I arrived in Nottingham. I stopped only for a vegetarian Cornish Pasty and a coffee before applying 'guided missile mode' in the direction of Waterstones. You have to admire the gutsy tenacity of Palin fans, as about twelve of them had the same idea as I did, and had bombed down the A46 from Lincoln to Nottingham as they too had been locked out!! Paid off as we were very close to the front of the queue! Nerves rose with every minute and before too long we were ushered into the room on the top floor where the signing was to be held. Oh Lordy, it was REALLY going to happen! The way my hands shook did the Richter Scale serious justice! My mouth became dry and my heart was pounding just behind my incisors. And then, sudden activity by security guards compelled the gathered masses to stand up. Here he comes and suddenly, there he was, sweeping majestically onto the scene, stage left! Verging on the boundaries of hyperventilation, I squeaked "Oh... my... GOD!!!!" I wasn't the only one to do that! The first person was ushered forward, then the second, and then..... my turn. Attempting to remain cool, calm and collected, I failed hopelessly. I blurted out the Calais thing, told him I shared my birthday with the first broadcast of Monty Python and my GOD, those eyes!! That smile!! They looked about nine times sexier in living 3-D than on the television screen! I also gave him my first attempt at a travelogue of my first train trip to London as he'd inspired me to write it. I hope he's read it! WOW! It had happened! I'd met Michael, and I couldn't believe it! I was in a state of total elation and euphoria!! I didn't so much walk away from the table, I half staggered and half skipped, punching the air with my fist and smiling widely at the people waiting! You could say I got drunk on my own adrenaline! Rejoining the Nottingham streets, my heart was sky-high and I was beaming wider than I'd ever done before. Tears streamed down my face, the Himalaya book was hugged close to my chest and I floated back to the station to return home and face the music to my parents but no - they APPLAUDED my going on to Nottingham!!

And so it was that I hyperactively recounted the whole shebang from A-Z! I had a headache waking up today, but I'm still on a high. I will never forget my Michael Moment, I will never forget the fraught events and I CERTAINLY won't forget just what a TOP CHAP Michael was! Took my manic blatherings totally in his stride and gave me a memory I will cherish in my heart forever! Thankyou Michael, for making my dream come true and just being you! You're a STAR and a GENTLEMAN! :D :D :D :D
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Diamond on 24 October 2004 12:12pm
Katherine - you had me in tears with you humour and with joy for you!! bless you for your tenacity - i am going to print this tale of travel and excitement out and give it to michael next time i see him - and tell him just how much meeting michael means to his fans - bless you - you deserve a medal

I do hope you got home from nottingham cos you only bought a single fare before the signing!!!

Lyn <>
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by irishmanufan on 24 October 2004 12:20pm
well done katherine . i thought only marillion fans had tenacity like that :0) really well written account of your mini excursions too . i am glad that despite all the b.s you got to meet our hero . actually a good idea for anyone travelling to see michael at his book signings . take the bus :0)
p.s i defy anyone to stay cool when you meet michael :0)
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Ello on 24 October 2004 12:38pm
well done!! being able to navigate from lincoln to nottingham while in MMM (meeting michael mode) must have been very hard!! Glad you made it!!
mum said someone did nearly faint and hyperventilate. was that you?! he was looking good, i must admit, :)
at least someone had the guts to talk to him!!
You should do a travel adventure from lincoln to notts, make it into a 6 part series with photos and then have youre own book signing!!
love eloise xx

Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by VivienneM on 24 October 2004 4:42pm
Hi Katherine
Not sure whether it was you I spoke to outside Ottakars in Lincoln on Thursday during the melee. Your description of events leads me to believe it was, because the woman I spoke to said they were hot-footing it back to the station to catch the train to Nottingham! Glad to read you made it and got to meet the great man himself! Sadly for me I had to go back to my job that afternoon, otherwise I would have given you a lift to Waterstones! Ottakars did allow people in eventually after the 12 30pm signing, but not 'til 3pm. Three of the local boys in blue also turned up to quell the crowd! In despair, I left my business card with one of the staff and asked if there was any way MP could sign a book to me then I would pick it up later, but I'm not holding out any hope .....
I was so disappointed I went back to my car and rang my husband (who's working abroad) on my mobile - v. expensive! Although he was out, I poured out all my woes and anguish to the answer machine at the other end! Fortunately hubby's very understanding about this addiction, having badgered the manager at one local bookshop for weeks on end to let him have the (almost life size - yummy!) publicity poster for 'Hemingway Adventure' when the book came out a few years ago! There's devotion for you!
Fantastic to see there's lots of other MP devotees out there.
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Diamond on 24 October 2004 5:23pm
Eloise - how good to see you back on palins - how are you?? havent heard from you in ages?? are you doing A levels now??? so much to ask - do stay in touch with us - were you at nottingham too

Vivienne M - you never know there may be a copy of himalaya for you - if not i can get you one signed and post it on - i will be seeing michael in december in london - either the 8th or 9th or BOTH!!! giggle - hmmm in stalking mode again!!! so keep in touch and mail me on [email protected] ok -

take care folks
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Ello on 24 October 2004 7:32pm
Hi Lyn!! :) im glad im back too! im good, and yeah a levels etc....
hope everyone else on the site is ok, except linda- get better soon!! xx
If anyone fancies e mailing my address is [email protected]
the site's been sooo busy, there's no way i can catch up eith it all!
love, hugs n a big mug of coffee cos im very tired, eloise xx
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by irishmanufan on 25 October 2004 2:02am
sent you an e-mail ello . i hope you got it ok .
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Sophie-Louise on 26 October 2004 3:54pm
katherine! you are saying that ottakars closed and locked people out?!! omg! i live in lincoln and i thought it would be quiet because it's only a small city and its a bit hard to get to cos the trains are crap and the roads aren't that much better either! lol. did they actaully close the whole shop or just stop you from joining the queue?

so glad you actaully got there eventually and thanks for sharing that lovely story with us! it really made me smile! :D

sophs xxx
Re: Leaves, Lincoln and Last-Minute DRASTIC Action! by Katherine_B on 26 October 2004 9:53pm
Yes - they'd reached their 'fire safety limit' and the queue was snaking around all over the place inside - stretched up over ALL FLOORS in the shop! There were shop staff outside trying to stop people going in!
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