There I am – above – that was in the BBC Shakespeare series As You Like It with Helen Mirren – no I'm not fighting Helen Mirren!!
That thing in my right hand is my sword – it seems to be angled right at the camera so you can't see it properly.
It's not my hair, of course, and that thing at the top of my legs is a small cod piece.
The other fella, by the way, seems to be tied up in knots and believe me if he'd known the photo was being taken he would have bent his head around. The photo was taken by one of the ace guys who take the tennis photos at Wimbledon each summer.
The photo below is going back even farther – or further - I am on the right and the play we were in was called The Alchemist by Ben Johnson – not the runner, the 17th century playwright.
On the left, looking very elegant and proud is Julian Fellowes (now Lord Fellowes) of Gosford Park and Downton Abbey fame, and in that photo you can see something similar at the top of my legs – yes a cod piece.
The other fella, nearer Julian, is the (now) famous wine expert Oz Clarke but the fella with his hand out is now a mystery to me.
Rather a large one – I got these two photos from the Internet but I'm sure I have originals somewhere.
I did The Alchemist at The Royal Theatre, Northampton and we stayed on in Northampton to live for some years. That's where we brought the children up in a small village about six or seven miles east and it would take over an hour to get in to London on a good day.
A year or two after that photo was taken I was walking through the market square in Northampton when I stocky young fella with long hair and a beard came up to me. He seemed to be dressed in many colours and he said – 'hello boy; you that fella with the cord pace; ent that right?'
Yes, I said.
'I remember that cord pace in that play.'
I asked him if he went to the theatre much and he said no that he only came that once.
He was with a girl and I could see he had a few drinks on him. Tom, his name was, and it turned out that he was quite famous as a singer of folk songs and led a folk band. We talked for a while and went for a drink in, I think, Shipman's bar just off the market square.
I bumped in to him lots of times after that and sometimes we would have a drink and maybe end up at his place. I can't remember where it was but he had loads of musical instruments around the place and I was never sure if it was his place. Those were hazy days and one time I bumped into him London near Ward's Irish House in Piccadilly and whilst we were there an old friend of mine walked in with his dog.
I can't remember what kind of a dog it was but Tom looked at the dog very carefully and said to my pal 'I think his trousers are too short.'
What Tom was doing in Piccadilly that day I don't know but my pal wanted to know if I could do a West Indian accent 'course he can' said Tom 'he can do any accent you like. I saw him doing Walsh and carckney – you name it.'
'I thought you didn't go to the theatre?' I said.
'Oh I snuck in once or twice' he said.
So my pal said his friend wanted someone who could do a West Indian accent to go to his flat to read his play.
'You go and do that' said Tom.
'He's a white West Indian' said my pal ' says he Irish.'
'He'll be from Barbados' said Tom 'you heard the saying “Hell or Barbados?”'
So Tom wandered off and I went up to Muswell Hill to my pal's friend's flat.
When we got there he sure was a white West Indian and he'd written a play 'I need to hear this' the guy said and he poured a large whiskey for me.
We sat down and read it and my pal read the other English part.
My accent wasn't that good – more Jamaican – but the whiskey flowed and we had a few laughs reading the play.
When we finished the play we played darts – with an air pistol.
We were shooting tiny coloured darts at an ordinary dart board and there was a lot of cheering and shouting if we hit the bull and the playwright's wife went out to fetch more whiskey. When it came back it flowed again till it was time to go.
I got to Euston Station just in time to catch the last train to Northampton which was ten minutes past midnight.
As I walked along the platform a loud voice shouted and there was Tom carrying a small bottle of whiskey.
We walked up through the carriages and there sitting on one of the seats I met someone else I knew. An actor called Raynor Burton and he was with his pal who was strumming on a guitar.
Tom passed the whiskey around and we sipped from the bottle as we travelled up to Northampton. Raynor and his pal were going all the way to Birmingham and as we travelled, sipped and laughed, Raynor's pal went into one of my favourite Bob Dylan songs Lay Lady Lay; it was beautiful.
You would think we were a nuisance, singing and drinking and laughing, but no.
I could see people were smiling and we sang a couple of folk songs with Tom to the fore and then the guitarist starting singing 'Where do you go to my lovely?/When you're alone in your bed' and the whole carriage joined in.
Not too many people as it was the middle of the night and when we finished we had reached Northampton.
Tom left the whiskey with the boys as they continued the other half of their journey to Birmingham and we wandered off in to the night.
I never saw any of them again but when I looked Tom up on the Internet just now I saw that his name was Tom Hall and he played with a band called The Barback Riders and he died twelve years ago.