June 23rd 2012

A charity fundraiser for the Rosita Trust at the boggling marvellousness of Mount Harry Hall, a country mansion near Lewes in Sussex. Lord and Lady Renton’s place is truly gorgeous and I found them to be really golden people with the sort of smiles that made me feel, well, better! Their daughter Polly and granddaughter Rosita were tragically killed in an RTA in Kenya. Polly’s work on training journalists and media development there made me realise how lucky we are in the UK to have a media that can stand up to government. Putting all the problems aside for a moment, isn’t it great that we don’t have warlords dissappearing journos when they don’t like what they say? They way this community has come together to do something out of the ashes of this terrible thing stirred me deeply. Turning tragedy into joy - no less!

David Dimbleby from Question Time is one of their patrons and when I spotted him milling about I dived right in a showed him a bunch of magic. My chum Barry told me he could see David spending a few moments weighing up whether I was a nutter or not. The first big smiles came with the ‘blank notes to bank notes’ trick - everyone loves that one ;) I reckon he must’ve liked my 10 mins because he came over later to ask me to do some more for his friend!

Oh, and they had THE most cool falcons displaying there. On the lawn in front of the stately home with these awesome birds was an amazingly classical setting for some conjuration and wonderments. The bird handlers were a really nice bunch too.

Some top music went down too - Chris Difford from Squeeze did a set. Juju were incredible. I did a five minute bit on stage for the talent contest. I was so focussed on some new material I was about to do I didn’t realise that my nervous system was going in to a bit of a tizz. The tent we were in was very similar to the tent I had the fall in back in 1991. Something about the tent and the lights and being on stage came together in my brain stem and hit the panic button. The jitters calmed down after a pint or two :) ‘Get back on the horse that throws you’ isn’t that what they say? It took me 21 years!