THEY tell me that Bridport is famous for the high jinks it holds each New Year’s Eve. From Bradpole to Symondsbury the talk is of little else around this time.
So I gave it a try for myself last night. After all, nothing ventured, nothing gained. Or so I thought.
Anyway, blow me down; I was accosted in the George Hotel by a civic dignitary who made a grave accusation against my person. One that I know to be libellous and may well have been overheard by others, possibly of a nervous disposition.
It was the sort of thing that used to give ladies the vapours, frighten the children and alarm the horses.
“Are you,” he demanded “the Red Bladder?”
Now when a stranger asks you that it takes your breath away. Well it did mine. I explained that whilst I might have one I am merely a drunk of normal proportions and not an heroic one in the style of the person mentioned who stood back with a silly grin on a funereal face and watched me squirm with embarrassment.
Anyway my interlocutor wandered off in the manner of a man seeking votes and I was left telling the real Red Bladder that I found it a bit thick that I was left taking the blame without a single word of support.
Was there any sign of remorse from that quarter? Not a bit of it. The Bladder actually expects that people will approach the fool with the ludicrous expression “you are The Red Bladder and I claim the Real West Dorset reward of five pounds”. Self opinionated or what? Now there’s delusions of being Lobby Ludd.
As time went on I forgave old Bladder, as I always do, and we wandered into the square at midnight.
The excitement in the air was bit like a Boy Scouts’ jamboree, intense.
The atmosphere was friendly and there was lots of laughter about and, for once, very little of it was directed at my companion. That’s the usual effect on people, a single glance at that raddled fizzhog could make a statue grin.
All in all not a bad evening but, like many in my life, slightly spoiled by being in the company of The Red Bladder.