Tales from the Dales

Gervase Phinn
Gervase Phinn
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WRITER, author, columnist, poet, a man with no less than four honorary doctorates, plus another quartet of fellowships – and a man who is the past president of the School’s Library Association, and president of the Association of Teachers of Speech and Drama.

Just a few things that you ought to know before Gervase Phinn, with a wicked twinkle in his eye, tells another story.

It seems that Rotherham-born and bred Phinn was on holiday, not so long ago, with his wife Christine.

“It was to Majorca, a lovely place”, he recalls.

“Beautiful sunshine every day. I used to go down to the pool around about seven or so with a glass of orange juice – I never ever eat breakfast – and I’d find a little space on a sort of jetty that stuck out into the sea and I’d settle down with only Jose the pool guy for company.

“I say ‘first one down’, but someone had been up even earlier, putting towels on every available lounger.

“I’d been asked to review a few children’s books for one of the papers and I’d taken them along with me.

“Christine didn’t join me until well after nine and one day I looked up to see this great big burly bloke coming towards me, all tattoos.

“He arranged his towels and departed.

“Then he came back just before noon, with a wife who was almost identical, and two children, who both had faces like a slapped backside and who clearly didn’t want to be there.

“They were totally monosyllabic. They only gave grunts.

“Anyway, I’m reading these kids’ books and after a while he leaned over toward me and he said, with a smarmy grin, ‘’Appen you’ll get t’the big books soon’... which he clearly felt was very funny indeed.

“So I decided to play him along and I put a very sad face on.

“I said: ‘That’s actually very hurtful.

“‘Here I am, trying my hardest at my time in life, to try and learn to read and all you can do is look down on me, and make disparaging remarks.

“‘I’m more than a bit wounded at what you’ve just said’.

“And he looked very guilty, got up, and moved away.”

You can hear more anecdotes from Gervase, who is one of Britain’s most prolific authors and sought-after public speakers, when he appears as part of his UK tour at Lancaster’s Grand Theatre on Tuesday, May 22.

Tickets cost £16.50. The show starts at 7.30pm.

Bookings at 01524 64695 or {http:// www.lancastergrand.co.uk www.lancastergrand.co.uk}.