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Blessed silence

Astragal ended a rather wearying week with an assault on the ears from thespian and mountaineer Brian Blessed, who was the guest speaker at the Concrete Society's awards dinner (winning building, Ian Simpson's Beetham Tower). Blessed, who claimed to be one of only two master plasterers in the country, gave the audience a mix of Henry V and Pavarotti, interspersed with much leaping on chairs, mock-wrestling of guests and boasting of his exploits. Astragal, who found half an hour of the man a bit much, is wondering about his next adventure. The 71-year-old has been training in Russia, and has been accepted for a trip to the international space station next year. Blessed, Astragal is convinced, will come out of it fine - but how will his fellow residents weather the onslaught?

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