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2 hours
First broadcast:
Monday 07 February 2011

A Drivetime special - as Simon and the team present the show live from The Brewery in London, ahead of this evening's prestigious Radio 2 Folk Awards.

Music Played

14 items
  • Mike Harding's Confession!

    Dear Monsignor Cardinal Simon

    After many years harbouring the nefarious deed which follows in my breast I
    kneel before you today to unburden myself of it in the hope that the Lord
    above and the lady in question may find it in their hearts to forgive me.

    It happened many moons ago in 1973, not long after I had moved into a
    cottage in the hamlet of Selside near Horton in Ribblesdale in the Yorkshire
    Our nearest market town was Settle and in that place there was (and still
    is) a fine Co-op where, each week my wife Pat and I would go to do our
    weekly shop.
    In them there days I was a full time folk singer who travelled the road
    singing and telling daft stories in folk clubs. This meant that I was free
    during the day and could share some of the household chores ­ such as
    On the day in question we entered the Co-op little dreaming of the storm
    clouds that were gathering about our heads. I went off to get the toilet
    roll and dog food side of the business while Pat went off to get the eggs
    and butter side sorted out. She was wearing a smart dark blue coat and black
    shoes and had her black hair cut in a page boy bob.
    I was wearing a leather flying jacket, denim jeans and was sporting a viva
    zappata mustache of the kind popular at the time.
    Emerging from behind a shelf of Yummy Chummy Dog Chunks and Here Boy
    Charcoal Bbiscuits I saw my wife at the far end of the Co-op bending over a
    large freezer chest.
    There was nobody else about and being a bit of a cheeky lad I sidled up to
    her and gave her ­ well I assume you have heard of a goose ­ well this
    wasn¹t a goose ­ it was a gander - a proper gander in fact

    Well this took her with such surprise that she was almost propelled into
    the frozen sprouts and as she stood up and turned about you can imagine my
    surprise Imagine my shock and terror when I discovered the lady on the end
    of the gander to be not my wife but a complete and utter total stranger ­
    same build, same haircut, same coat and shoes and even the same shoulder bag
    ­ but alas not the same person as the one to whom I was joined in matrimony.
    I can still hear the screams to this day and still see the manager and the
    lady who stacked the cauliflowers running towards us.
    Words spilled from my mouth in a torrent ­ apologies, mistake, my wife,
    sorry, simple case of mistaken identity and so on in various combinations
    and various jumbled orders but all to no avail.
    The red-faced lady before us was not to be placated and was demanding the
    presence of all the tabloids carrying the legend ³Northern Folkie in Co-op
    Frozen Sprouts Shock Sex Horror² flashed through my mind.
    It was at this point that the real Mrs Harding arrived.
    I would like to be able to tell you that there and then, over a cup of tea
    and a biscuit we all laughed at the simple mistake and parted the best of
    Unfortunately this was not so, and though the lady saw the amazing
    similarity between herself and my wife one thing they did not have in common
    was a sense of humour.
    ³Your husband may do such things to you ³she snorted ³But if my husband did
    such things to me I¹d break his fingers and poke his eyes out.²
    She did however agree not to call the police and after a few hundred more
    soothing words left the building in a little thing called a huff.

    So dear Lord I ask your forgiveness, that of the well gandered lady and that
    of the Co-op manager and the lady who stacked the cauliflowers.
    And I must tell you that only recently have I been able to hold my head up
    enough to go shopping there again and have not been able to look a frozen sprout in the face since


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