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Back to the Barrier by David Convery

 
Thirty-two years apart

When I first joined the Timeslip site, little did I know I was to achieve one of those many childhood dreams.

It all started with the sending of an E-mail applying to be considered for invitation. Bearing in mind how long the website had been in existence and how many members there were, I did not expect to be invited. The reply came with the invitation to attend. My immediate thought was initial disbelief followed very quickly with “I suppose I am working that day” and guess what…… I was.

Getting time off from work is at best difficult and at worse impossible, however a colleague was prepared to swap a day for me once I had explained the importance of having that day off.

So came 21st Sept 2003… it seemed like an eternity from the initial confirmation and now it had arrived. I woke to glorious sunshine at 0630hrs, too excited to sleep well the night before in any case. Got my map, badge, video covers for autographs, camera and camcorder and it was only 0730hrs.

I drove off from home waving and smiling at my wife like a schoolchild as my journey commenced. I pulled up on the Goff,s Oak pub forecourt at 1255hrs having had a delay free journey down the A1 onto the M25 then to Cuffley. As I approached the entrance, I saw a group of people standing to the right of it and only at the last minute did I see someone wearing the label that had accompanied the map of Goff,s Oak supplied by Steve……….. I HAD ARRIVED.

I approached the group not having met anybody before and very quickly was introduced to Steve. Hands shook as introductions were made to all present and then it happened, Steve said to me “I’m sure you recognise this lady” and there I was staring straight into the eyes of Cheryl Burfield. Her smile was as warm as the day itself and she still looked the same albeit her hair was shorter and lighter. Frozen in a momentary lapse of concentration I took her right hand and kissed it like gentlemen should when in the presence of a lady. Steve then said “You know this man” I looked across and was greeted by another warm and friendly smile. I replied, “I don’t think we have met before… wait… must be the glasses.” Spencer Banks approached and we shook hands. By that time we had all been introduced and were enjoying a sociable drink. I was handed a copy of an old script and also an artwork folder to look at.


“Yeeees, Miss Burfield!” Cheryl admires David’s
Rigsby impression!

I remember having weekly issues of “Look-In” bought for me by my mum and could still remember certain images from the animated stories, but to see them again after all this time was superb. I spoke briefly with Spencer only to find out we had something in common….Harpenden. My cousin and family lived there for years and Sunday nights as a child were spent visiting them. Then to top it all I spoke with Cheryl only to find out her husband and I were in the same job albeit different parts of the country. This day was just getting better all the time.

Cars were chosen and we set off to the nearby “Ministry Field” just a few minutes down the road. We entered a new housing development and very nice it was too. As we began our walk in to the site a brief stop was made at the sales office. The tone of the day was set as Spencer and I suggested names for the houses e.g. “Deveraux house” and “Traynor mews” but to name but 2. The site lady emerged with Steve and we were led to a large metal gate. She opened it up and we all walked through and began to walk along a dirt track and I saw “old” and derelict buildings around me shrouded by new houses. As we continued on we approached two concrete posts…………………… we had reached “THE TIME BARRIER.”


Cheryl and Spencer encounter an
evil clone!

As any football fanatic will tell you, when you approach the sadly no longer “Twin towers” of Wembley stadium, you get a feeling only a passionate fan could experience…well I got just that upon looking at the posts. We actually approached them from behind (when seen on TV) but all gathered around and faced towards them. Sadly the inverted “Y” post to the right was no longer but that in no way took anything away. We stood in silence and looked around and then Steve pressed his tape recorder and the sound of the “Time barrier” filled the air. Personally I got little “shivers” on my neck upon hearing this sound but then again always did when I watched it on TV. I spoke with Cheryl who stated that this was the first time she had returned to the site since filming the series so was extra special.


Looking back to the past

We all started to walk around, soaking up the sun, atmosphere and memories of what it meant to be here at last. I watched Cheryl and Spencer as they wandered around together exchanging memories. I felt a great proudness at being present and seeing them walk around together as if it were all only yesterday. Both of them had a very good recollection not only of the site but also of the programme. It was difficult not to want to ask them both lots of questions but they both made you feel so at ease it became very natural. Cheryl and Spencer began standing in “poses” to recreate images that Steve had shown them. Cameras clicked and camcorders recorded, now was not the time for batteries to run out. And so we returned back to the posts for some final pictures both as a group and individually. My turn came and I stood in between Cheryl and Spencer by one of the posts. Felt good???? Yeah…. felt fantastic.

We returned back to the Goff,s Oak pub and took up two outside tables where we again enjoyed food and drink in the sun. We talked with Cheryl and Spencer for hours and in turn were interviewed by Steve on camera about our memories of the programme. Sadly it was time for all to leave but not before getting my 4 video sleeves autographed. I had already obtained Denis Quilley’s autograph on the sleeve for “The wrong end of time” and smiled as Cheryl shouted out “Great” upon seeing his autograph already there. We all wished each other a safe journey home and again farewell kisses and handshakes were made between us all. Cars departed and the day came to a close.

I drove away not only having met Cheryl and Spencer but I hope also having made new friends that will keep in contact and meet again.

To go back to the “Time barrier”, feel for its gap and crawl through wishing it were all real and that I could re-live the whole day again was sorely tempting….. very sorely tempting.

Thank you to everybody who was there…… a day I shall remember until its time for me to cross over to another time, another place maybe???


David

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