Last year at this time we were up to our necks in snow, this year, as I write this message of hope and inspiration, the top of the hill is shrouded by a passing sleet storm - but have no fear my loyal band of frozen peas, we shall assail the day with vigour and fortitude.
I needed some fortitude last evening in fact I could have done with some fiftytude as my patience was tested in the extreme during a much anticipated trip to see The John Wilson Orchestra at Nottingham Concert Hall.
Before I tell you of last nights events, let me take you back in time to Thursday night when together with Mrs B, the dog-daughter and her beau, we attended the Theatre Royal to see the touring production of Legally Blonde.
I have to admit that I had never seen the film that inspired this musical so I was in the dark as to what to expect and after the opening number (very poor) I was totally underwhelmed by the prospect of two hours of a badly written, badly sung, badly danced show. Luckily, it did not take long for the humour of the script to kick in and some very talented young actors and some seasoned veterans (like Dave Willetts and Claire Sweeney) won me over. I ended up loving the show although it is not a great musical. The test of a great musical is you can hum the songs afterwards, I can't even tell you the name of the songs let alone hum any! Not a great musical just a great night of fun at the theatre.
From a show of which I knew nothing we return to last night, and a show I had actually seen most of before as it was part of the BBC Prom season this year.
John Wilson with his 70 piece orchestra, and some excellent guest singers including the incredible Kim Criswell, Matthew Ford, Annalene Beechey and a new name for me, the tenor Noah Stewart.
The show was brilliant, however the only problem with watching a live show is that you are surrounded by an audience and they don't like it when you sing along!
It was the audience that were the real issue last night - most of them were of a certain age and social class (grey hair and loyalty cards for Waitrose) and it seemed that 97.6% of them had left their brains in their Jaguars.
I ask you, how hard is it to find a seat in a theatre?
On your ticket is printed all the information you need - for example, my ticket states quiet clearly that my seat was N44 and I would find it by going to Tier 1 and entering via Door C. How very thoughtful of the theatre staff to think of this intelligent system, they even put up big signs throughout the building so you can identify and locate the appropriate tier and door.
Even without a degree in map reading and without the aide of a guide or team of sherpas, I managed to navigate my way through the milling crowds of ageing buffoons and find my seat. For the next twenty minutes we witnessed countless befuddled old duffers staggering around the theatre asking anyone they could grab on to variations of the same question - where do I sit?
Some of them looked like they didn't know what year they were in let alone which seat they needed!
Eventually most people found somewhere to sit and we enjoyed the first half of a great show - then the next battle commenced; queuing for an ice cream.
It was a long queue but we got there in the end, purchased our little tubs of joy and returned to our seats only to find numerous old folk had actually forgotten where they had been sitting and the whole process of looking for their seat started again! They'd only been out of the damn seat for ten minutes and they were lost again! I felt like standing up and shouting 'Will someone please send for Matron!"
Act Two came and went and then the next major exercise, escaping from the building. I'll be honest here, I went ahead and left Mrs B to manage with Mrs B Senior, as she needed the lift. It took them almost twenty minutes to get out of the building and I joked that if there had been a real emergency there would have been many ancient corpses strewn across the mezzanine of the theatre.
It was a great show and I look forward to next year when I hope the orchestra tour again but in the meantime I have two pantomimes to look forward to next weekend and then in January we go to The Crucible in Sheffield to see Company with Daniel Evans, Samantha Spiro, Damien Humbley and Francesca Annis - that will be a real treat.
I just hope that the weather is quite cold and that the old folks stay at home and watch Songs of Praise, drink sweet sherry, pee themselves and then go to bed. Problem is half of them probably won't be able to find their beds!
The sleet is still passing over head and I have some soup that needs making and sitting here chatting with you is not getting those carrots pureed!
Take care, keep warm and if your over 70 please don't ever go to the theatre without getting my permission.
Official Website for Noah Stewart
John Wilson Orchestra - Put On Your Sunday Clothes