Thursday, 11 December 2008
I had a booking last night to caricature on board the HMS Illustrious. A two hour drive to Portsmouth in rush hour traffic which felt like there was a mass exodus out of Bournemouth, like there was a hurricane coming or something!
On arriving at the Naval Port I wasn't allowed in! Do I look shifty, in my wooly hat and camper van?... Anyway I was held there for an hour while the guard entered every spelling of 'Hayball' into the system, and yet..." No I'm sorry sir. You are not on the list. (Compuer says no!)". Supervisors were called, a queue formed, men and women in combats, a football team in their kit, ladies in evening attire, and there was me at the front of the queue keeping everyone waiting. I can appreciate they have to be careful as apparently some reporters sneaked on to one of their ships recently.
Eventually, an officer was called up from the otherside of the dock, who cycled over to sort it all out. A very nice man, so I put his bike in the back of my van and we drove over to the 'Illustrious'. In the end the evening went well and I drew lots of caricatures and eventually left when the Abba tribute band came on. Not my usual venue, but a most impressive ship and the officers were a great bunch of people.
I thank them for making me feel most welcome.