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Queen Guitar Rhapsodies

Lucy in the Sky with Royal Cufflinks

The Royal Footstool of Lammas which I shared with the Queen Mother

The Royal Footstool of Lammas which I shared with the Queen Mother

- and how a bad memory helped me feel good in yesterday’s concert -

Some friends have urged me to make a list, others to keep an overnight bag always ready. I have never heeded their advice. I am referring, of course, to my packing for travel to concerts. As a consequence I have forgotten something at one time or another. You name it and I have forgotten it, except for my guitar (how could I!?) and my head to which I am too firmly attached.

And thus it was yesterday in the village of Lammas, Norfolk, where I came to give a concert in the tiny but beautiful ancient church of St Andrew’s. It is approached on foot through a pathway between fields, set back from the road by some two hundred yards. On one side there is a flowing stream, and on the other a red brick wall built by French prisoners from the time of Napoleon. Lammas is a picturesque and rural village with a long history, three qualities very much to my liking.

This was one of various concerts I have presented over the past few years in this idyllic English village far from the shrill and strident noises of London whence I arrived in the afternoon. I felt good and relaxed, not least because I was staying with my great friend Major John Perkins who lives next door to the church.

Quite suddenly, I remembered what I had forgotten. So I said:

“Dear Major, I have forgotten my guitar footstool. Do you have something I can use in its place?”

In a short while he returned with a beautiful oriental-looking wooden footstool and in a matter-of-fact voice tone told me that this was the same footstool the Queen Mother had used on her visits to the house. Now, as you may know, the great lady was not a guitarist, instead she used it to rest her foot while dining at the table. Here was a footstool with a double function: to rest the Royal foot, and to balance mine for playing the guitar.

Shortly after I started dressing for the concert. To my dismay I discovered I had left behind my cufflinks.

“Oh Major,” I said with some embarrassment, “you may think me absent-minded, to which I readily admit. Can you lend me a pair of cufflinks?”

Without hesitation he offered me an exquisite set of golden cufflinks saying:

“These were given to my grandfather by King George V1 [the Queen’s father] at the time of the abdication [1936].”

A word about my host and concert organiser Major John Perkins. Now a sprightly 83 year-old he lives in the same large house where he was born, full of a lifetime’s memorabilia. The friendship between his family and the Royal Family has continued for three generations, as is vividly brought to life in the framed photographs which feature throughout his home. Now he dedicates his time to charitable works and to preserving Lammas’ historic and architectural heritage, while telling wonderful stories of his colourful life.

And so, as I sat down to present my Magical Mystery Guitar Tour programme I was acutely aware of my accidental encounter with history – wearing King George’s cufflinks in this lovely chapel while I balanced delicately on the same stool as graced by the Queen Mother’s foot! At last, and with relief, I have discovered the advantages of a bad memory, for had I arrived fully equipped I would not have enjoyed the privilege of my brush with royalty.

Oh, by the way, in case you are wondering what happened to them, I did give the cufflinks back after the concert which I thought was a jolly good one, even if I say so myself.

21st October, London

Printed from: http://www.carlosbonell.com/blog/?p=1696 .
© 2017.

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