I first came across Richard as he bounded into a reception hall at the museum. For he was to be the guide for our trip down the caves under the castle.
“Welcome one and all, I am Tight, and you are a most wonderful audience. Together we will explore some of the lesser known stories of this castle, and we will share these tales, safe in the knowledge that all of whom we will speak are no longer with us! There will be no wicked court cases to stop us from revealing their secrets. So, come and learn, and enjoy the follies of yesteryear!”
With that, this curiously dressed man darted off into another room and we hurried after him. I shan’t bother you with a blow by blow account of the tour, but it involved the Queen of France, tales of a hot poker, and murder and mayhem aplenty.
As for the curious dress, well on a scorching hot summer’s day, Sebastian Tight (for that was his tour guide persona) was wearing a thick waistcoat, a marvellous shirt, french silk neckerchief and a glorious French made tailcoat. Of course he also had gloves and a top hat, and numerous kerchiefs around his wrists to mop the sweat from his brow.
“I don’t know how he does it,” muttered my friendly off duty guide. “He’s like this, even in the staff meetings in the morning! If I could bottle whatever it is that makes him tick then I would make an absolute fortune!”
The tour was magnificent, in fact it was a “tour de force”. An hour and a half after we started we had worked our way around the top of the castle grounds, talked of Lord Byron and some of the more wayward owners of the castle and learned some significant social history, all the while being delighted and enchanted by our guide.
The tour group which included people from Germany, China, America and even as far afield as Australia, could not have wished for a better time. Here clearly was an English Eccentric and he was leading us down the path of his eccentricity whilst we followed willingly.
I learned that Mr Tight and his fellow guides would be closing the gates for the last time on Sunday and so I made a point of coming to see for myself. I was not disappointed, Robin Hood, Friar Tuck and the fabulous Mr Tight all made a marvellous show of slamming the gates shut and then entertaining those who were still inside.
“I feel absolutely liberated now,” he declaimed. “I am free to go and do all manner of things. But first I will visit my two favourite cities of Manchester and Liverpool. From there I will cross to Ireland and make my way right around that fabulous island. I may be back in time for Christmas, but then again I might not!”
“There is nothing more for me here, and so I am the freest of men and so I shall follow my whim and my whimsy, and maybe even find love!” His eyes twinkled. Clearly Mr Tight enjoyed sharing time with members of the fair sex, and with his wonderful ability with language he was not likely to be lonely for too long.
We may even meet up before he sets off on his travels, if so I will try and get in the fifty or more questions I have for him. But if you happen to be travelling in Ireland in the next six months and come across a gentleman in frock coat holding forth to a group of star struck people, then you may well have chanced upon the magnificent Mr Tight. If you do so, then you can look forward to the most entertaining time of your life, I certainly have!