St Jones gets respect from the Germans!
MY propensity for getting dressed up in all manner of hideous costume knows no bounds, as regular readers of this column will know. It s become a standing joke in the office now. So much so, in fact, that I get volunteered for it whenever the chance to dr
MY propensity for getting dressed up in all manner of hideous costume knows no bounds, as regular readers of this column will know.
It's become a standing joke in the office now. So much so, in fact, that I get volunteered for it whenever the chance to dress up arises.
Still, the possibility of luring a fair maiden is one advantage of pretending to be St George for the day. "You never know, mate," one of my colleagues is telling me, "that outfit could work wonders".
So, armed with this knowledge, I steel myself for the challenge ahead. The recent St George's Day celebrations at Oliver Cromwell's House are where I shall be performing. As long as I've got a flash costume, I should be okay.
Imagine my dismay, then, when I arrive to put the costume on. I had envisaged rather more than this, it's fair to say. Some silver-effect tracksuit bottoms, a black t-shirt more suited to a Soho bondage den (apparently) a Cross tabard which looks as though it was stitched together by some bored nine-year-olds, and a chain-mail effect helmet, which is in reality just two pieces of felt stuck together.
To top it all off, I don't really own a suitable pair of shoes to go with the costume, although advice on what a suitable pair of shoes would be in this case can surely only amount to speculation.
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Still, I have it on good authority that St George was a fan of Reebok high-tops, so my conscience is not entirely scattered.
The chances of me finding a maiden in this are zero. It seems like 'another fine mess', to quote the maxim of Laurel and Hardy.
Still, the day has got off to a fair start. Some youngsters from the Rackham Primary School have danced around a Maypole, and an interested group of spectators has gathered.
I take my place as discreetly as I can amongst the punters. I've been given a helmet to carry around/wear, and my arms want to fall off holding it.
"That's the wrong type of helmet," a passing man informs me. Thanks a bunch, mate. It certainly will be in a moment, when I charge full-speed at him with it on.
Another minute, another asinine question. "Are you Sir Lancelot?", somebody has the nerve to ask.
"Hopefully, I'm St George," I say with as much respect as I can muster. Honestly, surely that much is obvious?
I pass the time handing out George Cross lapel pins, which are snapped up with alacrity; I'm even able to foist one on a reluctant Welshman, which is surely something of a coup. I pose for a couple of pictures, with one German man telling me that "I'm something of a local celebrity", but there is one thing which is truly disturbing me.
Children . . . So far I've spotted three or four of them all in better St George outfits than mine. This is clearly troubling.
So, I resolve to spend the rest of the afternoon hitting any child of St George over the head with my wooden sword. Serves them right for showing me up in such a manner.
Joking aside, the outfit goes down rather well. A friend of mine remarked when this was being set up that I have the "perfect Crusader's beard", although the floppy fringe rather spoils things.
All in all, the day is a fine success. The weather takes a turn for the worse later in the afternoon, which does nothing to improve my mood when I'm waiting 25 minutes for a burger, but there is still plenty to see and do. A fine selection of real ale is available from one stall, and I treat myself to £5-worth of fudge from another.
The Maypole dancing continues to entertain and the puppet show goes down a treat with the kids. Thankfully, there are some other grown-ups there in period dress, although theirs is vastly more impressive.
After about 90 minutes I plead clemency and am allowed to change back into 'civvies'. This is a blessed relief. I am pleased, however, that I have been able to contribute, in my own small way, to a successful afternoon.
Oh, and did I mention that I'm Welsh?