Radford Semele to Wharf Lodge Winding Hole to Clements Street Bridge
Radford Semele to Chipping Norton to Clements Street Bridge
Another morning and the alarm was set so that there was time for breakfast before we pushed off. This morning I was due in Chipping Norton for the final design meeting for Panto. I finished packing as we pootled along the canal into Leamington Spa. Here the canal comes very close to the station, so as we approached I got myself ready and was able to hop off just at the closest point where steps lead up towards the trains. Mick headed off in the direction of Warwick to wind and do some shopping whilst I was at work.
My train was on time and 18 minutes later I arrived in Banbury where Will the producer picked me up in his car. General chit chat soon turned to the show and budget. Only yesterday we had heard back that we were still a little over, but some new maths had been done by Will and he’d given the go ahead. Phew! Now all I needed was the thumbs up from the Director.
In the attic rehearsal room of Chippy Theatre I gave my presentation to Director, Producer, Production Manager, Lighting Designer and the two Technicians who morph over panto season into Stage Managers. This is when as a designer you can’t hide behind your design being anonymous, you have to perform as you and your model are centre stage. The calmest of designers get model hand at these moments. Your once steady hand on reaching the boundaries of the model box will immediately shake, making positioning of that final 1:25 scale chair into the scene a nightmare as the whole model turns into an earthquake zone. Years of experience have taught me to glue as much down as you can in such circumstances, you don’t want to be trying to pick up all the chairs and music stands for a brass band in front of a room full! With panto this is hard however, as there are so many scenes and the model will be taken to bits by the workshop and painters soon, so today it was all held together with white tack. My audience was appreciative and living life at 3mph for four years meant that model hand didn’t affect me.
The meeting went well. My many hours work have paid off, when asked for the working drawings to be with the workshop in ten days time, I handed them over. Everyone went away with a full set of plans, and best of all Gemma the Production Manager took 90% of the model with her, meaning I can reclaim my cupboard for my winter wardrobe! Now I have several weeks of only having to do the occasional bit of work before rehearsals start.
Everyone rushed off to other meetings and auditions leaving me to find my own way back home. I had chance for a wander around Chipping Norton before I caught the 488 bus back to Banbury, making note of several shops that will come in handy whilst I’m here.
The bus weaved it’s way through small village after thatched cottage village, cars having to back up roads to let the bus pass. I’ll enjoy this bus ride to work. Stepping off the bus in Banbury I realised I was right next to the canal and a boat was coming up in the lock. Very handy as we plan to have Oleanna in the general area of Banbury whilst I’m in Chipping Norton. Only one problem, the last bus back on an evening is 7:10pm and there are no buses on Sundays! We’d rather be based in Banbury than Oxford which is served by a night bus, we’ll have to see.
The train back to Leamington was easy. Mick had done some shopping at Lidl, been to buy some oil for the next service and as I left Banbury was about to set off to the water tap by the new student block. As I came down the steps to the towpath a Grandad and Grandson were looking at the cruiser moored nearby. The bow of a far more exciting narrowboat came into view so they stopped to watch the boat, as did I. As the bow approached it was aimed towards the towpath and brought to a gentle halt. I stepped onboard, my Waxi (Water taxi) had arrived bang on queue, the little boy was very impressed, so was I especially when I found the front door to be unlocked.
We pootled our way to the new water point and topped up the tank. A chap sat on a nearby bench suggested we shouldn’t use the tap as the water was full of lime, well no more than the locals drink. We did sample it before we filled the tank and it tasted alright. We then pulled up a little bit further along. When we first came through Leamington Spa we didn’t even think of mooring in town, for a place with a grand name the canal was very uninviting unless you wanted to score some drugs.
The area has now been tidied up, flower beds sculptures and some very impressive graffiti has been added to some of the walls. One piece done by Jules Muck an American is exceptional. Later in the evening we found out that the mural of cat and mouse had only just been finished a week ago.
They may think that this outside is good with it’s flowers and grasses, but they don’t taste right. Too many bikes and woofers. They kept going on about this big stunning cat, I couldn’t see one! Anyway I’m the most stunning cat, plenty of people were stopping and taking my photo. There was one cat that I did see, black and white very much like me. It moved slowly as I did the same, just as inquisitive about me as I was about it. I haven’t seen it since, but then I’d rather sit on the back of the boat in this outside.
In the evening we met up with Gemma who used to be a Stage Manager for a drink. Her husband John joined us later on after he’d finished work at the Spa Centre. We headed for a quiet drink to catch up for the first time in several years, ending up in The Old Library. Here was not the quietest of places so we ended up having to add to the noise level to be heard. Gemma and John have lived here right by one of the canal bridges for several years, we’ve not managed to see them in the past, we didn’t stop or I had a broken ankle. So it was good to see them and hear about their recent hire boat holiday on the Oxford and Gemma’s new job at Wool Warehouse, where I order my yarn from. I’ll be paying them a visit whilst we are here as I have a pair of socks to knit for someone and three snakes to make for panto.
0 locks, 3.37 miles, 1 wind, 1 waxi right on time, 2 trains, 1 bus, 2 Chippy men saying Yes, 1 LD from college, 1 happy PM, 0 model to bring home, 1 cupboard empty for jumpers, 2 boxes of workie stuff stowed away, 1 full water tank, 1 upside down paw, 0 snakes, 1 stunning cat, 1 more stunning on our our boat, 3 glasses wine, 2 halves cider, 4 pints, 1 good day.