First there was a delayed plane, the one Roseanne and I were meant to be on having been struck by lightning (ever feel the Grim Reaper just tap on your shoulder?). Then there was The Case of The Lost Travelodge which describes itself as being 'Cambridge' but is in fact miles outside of that lovely city, in a sort of Fen Country Triangle where roads disappear or change their status unaccountably; A11....A14.....no, it's the A11 again, and so on, into the night, as you drive further and further into dark oblivion
Meanwhile, in another part of the country, Champion the Blunder Horse and his team were getting very wet indeed, as they steamed (literally) down the A1 from Skipton, stopping off to enact famous scenes from equine movie history in the torrential rain. I'm not going to tell you which scenes or which movies as this will be part of a Screenplay Film Festival Challenge in September, but suffice it to say that they were 'escorted off the premises' at Doncaster Racecourse and accused of being “in Shakespeare” at their hotel in Huntingdon. Believe me, The Bard couldn't have made this up.
Then there was the rendezvous in the Park and Ride on the outskirts of Cambridge. Simon, Roseanne and myself found it (OK, I admit it, Simon's satnav found it, 'though I say that through gritted teeth as a dedicated follower of maps) but the horsebox ended up in the middle of town on the day the Olympic Torch was due to visit. According to Champion, Paul the Driver made a pretty impressive U-turn in a large truck on a narrow street....but they found us in the end.
On to the Park and Ride bus, with Champion queuing along with the other passengers. The bus was packed so one unfortunate lady was forced to sit next to him whilst he grinned at her in an un-nerving manner. She survived the experience rather better than a young cyclist who drew up at the traffic lights next to the bus, and who nearly fell off his bike when he glanced across and saw Champion admiring the views from the bus window.
On – to Parker's Piece, a large park in the middle of Cambridge. There was live music (several stages), there was drumming; there were burlesque dancers and belly dancers and a zombie flashmob doing Michael Jackson's 'Thriller'. There was a group of older ladies demonstrating Tai Chi (naturally, Champion felt he had to have a go) and there were aerobics in a tent. There were sports enthusiasts of every kind and every age strutting their stuff, and Champion was soon seized upon by a friendly group of blind athletes who wanted their photograph taken with him. There were French markets, paella stalls, purveyors of vegetarian food, of seafood, honey and pastries......and there was rain. In Biblical proportions. My grandad would have said that it was 'coming down in stair rods', and indeed it was very heavy, and very prolonged, but it still didn't kill the spirit of celebration on Parker's Piece. When the British public are in party mood, it takes Armageddon to put them off having a good time.
And there was the Pop-Up Cinema, where Hansel of Film was billed to appear in a packed programme of film events throughout the day. It has to be admitted that the conditions presented us with a challenge – no blackout, audience drifting in and out, and the sound competing with the live music stages, the drummers and even aircraft overhead. I felt a bit sorry for the film makers, as their work was not seen in the conditions for which it had been prepared, but one film maker, Ryd Cook, was there and enjoyed it anyway. And as for the staff and volunteers of the Cambridge Film Trust, we could not have had a friendlier and more helpful group – so HUGE thanks to them. A nicer bunch of folk to stand with whilst the deluge hammered on to the tent you could not wish for. At one point I thought we were all going to have to get out there and find pairs of animals of every kind, but we, along with the Great British Public, prevailed.
We couldn't stay for the arrival of the Olympic Torch so it was back to the bus, where the journey was spent trying to stop Champion from nibbling the hair of the lady sat in front of him. Some horses' manners leave a lot to be desired.
Then later, at The George Inn at Babraham, with us enjoying a good meal and Champion tucking into his oats and hay, we had time to reflect on an extraordinary day of celebration, a day which we were happy to be part of, wet horse or no wet horse.