Panto Postcard 2. 2021

70.75 hours

Cheese and Ham Muffins

Sunday. What a lovely day. Time for a cuppa in bed for me. I didn’t really plan on doing that much as I’d had a busy week and knew that the following week would be even busier! Not having my breakfast chef on hand I put together a treat breakfast. Two toasted muffins with cheese and ham. Very tasty, but not a patch on one of Mick’s breakfasts. I then spent most of the morning trying to catch up with The Great British Bake Off, played on the laptop whilst crocheting and most importantly keeping my legs up.

Crochet and baking

During the last week my knees have taken a battering, an old war wound on my left knee used to be sorted with a good rub. But sadly now the effect only lasts a few minutes. So keeping my feet up was a very important job today, also having the opportunity to do some crochet was good. My blanket is now of a size that Tilly and it cannot live comfortably on my knee at the same time.

Gluten free fish and chips

In the evening I joined Gemma (Production Manager), Chris (Production Carpenter), Ade and Lou (Set Builders) for a drink and some food at the Blue Boar where we could get a table. It was good to see the team again, have a drink and of course have fish and chips (gluten free version available).

Meanwhile in Yorkshire, Mick had been up early to move Oleanna for her rendezvous in the morning in Goole. Thank goodness it wasn’t further! His first hop before Oleanna was over heating got him about half way from Rawcliffe Bridge. Time to let the engine cool down before the next hop just to inside Goole caisson.

The lift mooring

Then the final hop was into Viking Marina, to the boat lift. Oleanna wouldn’t need to come out of the water, but this was a space that was available. Our mooring from last winter now has a boy racer cruiser tied up to it, but we could still claim to be neighbours with Lisa and Al’s boat. The trip of 2.5 miles had taken Mick and Oleanna 6.5 hours.

Meet and greet

Monday. A very busy day for me at Chippy, read through and fit up all rolled into one along with meeting a sixth form work placement student (Imogen) who’d be joining me several times this week. I collected all my model pieces together and using blue tack put it back together as best I could in the time I had before being asked questions by the builders, showing my face at the meet and greet. Blimey that was odd, everyone being masked, trying to talk to each other and be heard, whilst at least 20 other people were trying to do the same thing!

Busy busy busy

I did the model showing, followed by Helen showing the costume designs, then it was the read through, so much better read by the actors than read in my head. Plenty of ‘Chill out Hilda!’

Ade and Lou concentrated on building a platform for Rapunzel to get to her tower, whilst Gemma and Chris busied themselves rigging portals and cloths. I managed to get quite a few things drawn out so that they could all be jigsawed out to the correct shape. Jo (Prop maker) arrived with many goodies in her van, including the giant strawberry.

In Goole Mick and Alastair were being busy. First the antifreeze in the cooling system was drained off. Then pipes and the gear box oil cooler were removed. Lots of rusty crud was blocking these. A pressure washer was then fitted to the system and the whole thing was given a good wash through.

The system was put back together filled with water the engine started up. After about ten, fifteen minutes it became clear that the crud was not the only problem as Oleanna’s temperature started to rise again. Alastair decided that a pressure test would be needed to check if the head gasket had gone! This could only be done when the engine was cool, so it was decided to do that the following morning as it was already late in the afternoon.

Chocolate fuelled drawing out

Tuesday. More drawing up for me today and with the help of Imogen lots of furniture had a base colour applied, Imogen could well be a useful find. Ade and Lou headed home leaving a box of their fresh pressed apple juice for us all to enjoy. Chris and Gemma carried on rigging pieces of scenery with the help from Ash and Gav the two in house technicians.

Base colours on the town flats

By the end of the day I’d managed to get some paint on more pieces of scenery and solutions for the cinema screen to be able to fly in and out had been found. One tower has a hinged door in it the other has a section that can be removed with care, hopefully this won’t need to happen too many times. A good day in Chippy.

Heading back to Viking before she over heats

However in Goole investigations continued. Alistair set about doing a pressure test at 8am. This had to be done first thing as the boat lift was needed today. Thankfully Oleanna passed the test and so the head gasket is good, phew! He was sent over to the visitor moorings whilst the lift was being used. Mick headed off to do some shopping and once the mooring was free again he moved back over for more investigations.

The water pump

The water pump was removed and then taken to bits. Ah Ha! This was the problem, Mick had thought it might be. For those unfamiliar with what the inside of a pump should look like, there should be 6 fins that pump the water through the cooling system, Oleanna’s for some reason only had 1.5, the rest having disappeared into the rusty crud.

It should not look like this!

A phone call was made to RCR as the job could now be passed back onto our breakdown cover. A new water pump was placed on order, but no-one was sure when it would arrive. Oleanna certainly wouldn’t be going anywhere, she was hooked up so Mick and Tilly could have power again. The marina sadly isn’t a suitable place for Tilly to explore so cabin fever was soon to set it.

Wednesday. Covid policy at Chippy Theatre is to do two lateral flow tests a week which have to be photographed and sent in to Annette the Company Stage Manager. There is also a thermometer by the pass door into back stage. Tuesday morning I’d offered up my forehead at which point the unit flashed red, displaying a large L. I tried again, the same thing happened. I removed myself from the building whilst the thermometer instructions were checked. As I thought, my temperature was too low, thankfully that meant I was allowed to enter the building and get on with work. The same happened again today, six times before my icy heart warmed up enough!

This was a delivery to the pub next door, honest!

The theatre has arranged for the theatre bar to be open on an evening for the company to drink in, hopefully reducing the chance of someone picking up Covid by mixing with the general public in a pub. I’d already decided that a bottle of wine back at my digs was preferable to going to the pub, plus I’m unlikely to be doing that anyway as I’ll be at work till late most evenings anyway.

The backdrop was flown out, red bands added to the portals, they still need to go gold, some of them were trimmed to fit better. As I’d designed the tower last January/February I knew getting in and out of it might be quite a tight fit, so I was the one who had to try it for size first. Thankfully I fitted meaning Rapunzel would have quite a bit of spare room as she is half my size.

I spotted a problem with part of the set. A tent that needed to be on wheels. A discussion was had about it. One side saying if they’d have known it was to be a truck (on wheels) then it would have been built completely differently. The other side said it had always been a truck and that the drawings most probably said as much. In fact the drawings had sketches explaining what would happen to the tent truck. A carpenter would be found to amend the tent.

Green wires!

Mick busied himself on Oleanna. There was the green wire to solve from the alternator belt incident. He also took apart our original domestic water pump and gave it a good clean as suggested by Alastair. This worked a treat, so it was put back to work. The new faulty one was also taken to bits and the switch was found to be faulty. Mick managed to mend this whilst Tilly climbed on the ‘Feed me’ shelf at regular intervals throughout the day. Well I had to occupy myself with something if there was no shore leave! Tom got himself a gate key and blatantly chatted to Toms outside, coming and going at will, leaving me to snooze in front of the stove!

My bowl is empty. Feed me!

Thursday. Test day for me and another day of being cold hearted!

Mine is a bit brighter

Today the actors moved into the theatre to rehearse. I moved into the auditorium and spent the day painting the groundrow, which I thought I’d based on a David Hockney painting of the Yorkshire Wolds. However on visiting the Co-op it appears I’ve been influenced by the mural there!

Dash (Director) had quite a few questions and found it quite novel that they could be answered by me within minutes, it’s not often a Designer is in the rehearsal room all day every day. It’s nice for me to hear where ideas are coming from rather than just getting the request on an email at the end of the day.

In Goole Mick waited for the new water pump to arrive. We’d been hoping to have Oleanna back along the New Junction Canal by now, maybe at Bramwith Junction. Extra crew, Bridget and Storm had been enlisted to work the lift bridges for Mick, but by now they had been stood down several times. The pump would be coming from Beta and should be delivered by midday on Friday.

Fusedale alongside the new dry dock at Viking Marina

Fusedale turned up for refuelling at Viking Marina, Laird was expecting it to require 850 to 1000 litres!

Friday. Chris returned for the day, a few hours of his work saved the technicians several days worth and I know things will work now including the tent truck, Hooray! Scenes were rehearsed, a lot of long hair climbing in and out of windows. How to support your long hair and a witch at the same time became a bit of a theme for the day.

The Pippins joined

Then in the late afternoon the Pippins joined the actors. The Pippins are local school kids, in three teams who add to the chorus of panto. Two hours with lots of singing and dancing on stage whilst I hid behind the backdrop working away.

All but the blooms done

By the end of the day the town flats were complete apart from some purple blooms.

Around 11am a delivery arrived in Goole, a water pump! You can now see what damage the old one had very clearly. Alastair fitted the pump, the system was filled with antifreeze mix and the engine started up. Everything seemed fine.

A working gauge to show the water pump working!

The new green wire also did it’s job, the temperature gauge showed a constant 80, this hadn’t shown a reading since the belt incident. Hooray! on two counts. By 2:30pm everything was deemed good to go, only thing was it was far too windy to move Oleanna. Mick would most probably have got her as far as Lisa’s boat and ended up being blown alongside and pinned there. Laird from the marina was fine with Mick staying for another night.

Peeking through the set

Saturday, a slightly later start for me today, just as well as the covid policy at the theatre has changed. Every morning before going into the theatre we all now have to do a lateral flow test. This is so that during rehearsals the actors can all be unmasked, but whilst moving around the theatre masks are to be worn. As I spend my life going from here to there and back again, I wear my mask pretty much all the time. I won’t be changing this even if everyone is testing daily, even though the back of my ears are red roar! I so feel for those who’ve been wearing masks all day every day for the last 18 months.

Gav down the trap

Time to draw up the tents and when the acting company had left for the day the scaffolding tower was erected so that I could reach Rapunzels tower to touch up the paintwork and finish bits that couldn’t be done before. The technicians dug out old equipment to see if it worked from under the stage and then Gav did a very good job of being ballast at the bottom of a ladder for me whilst I painted a coat of gold on the arches. At 6:15 an alarm went off on my phone, time to wash up, pack up, get changed and run away for the weekend!

In the afternoon Mick returned the key fob for the gates to Laird, thanked him and then moved Oleanna out from the marina. The doors were opened up and Tilly was set free to explore once more.

0 locks, 3.1miles ish, 1 new water pump, 2 mended domestic waters pumps, 1 big flush through, 1 pressure test passed, 0 blown head gasket, 34 litres antifreeze mix, 3 lateral flows, 1 theatre with doors open, 19 cast, 3 carpenters, 5 long days, 1 normal day, 2 soups, 1 brolly, 3.5 meters of hair, 1 new leaking roof, 1 tent on wheels, 4 panto masks,12 hours a day, 1 weekend off, WOOHOOO!

6 thoughts on “Panto Postcard 2. 2021

  1. joamungoanddog

    My friend wears a hearing aid and when I was making masks, I made her one of the ‘connectors’. Piece of fabric (or crochet) about 3″ long with a button at each end. It sits at the back of your head and the elastic loops of the mask connect on via the buttons and leave your ears free!

    1. Pip Post author

      I’d been thinking about making one of these, but not had the time as yet. In the latter part of the week I did discover that most of the time whilst painting I was actually looking over my glasses, so I could actually remove my glasses for much of the day. They were getting in behind my mask and pushing it away therefore increasing tension on the elastic and rubbing my ears even more! I’m going to dig out my glasses lanyard (don’t know the proper name) so that I take them off but still have them with me.

  2. Dave (Scouts)

    Hi Pip

    Glad you’ve found the source of the overheating and all the rust/crud. Looks to me that not enough antifreeze (or none) was used so allowing the dissimilar metals in the engine, head etc to start to corrode. Thankfully you found it before serious damage occurred as its possible the pump could have seized up. In fact just a thought, is it driven off the alternator belt? maybe it was starting to seize up and the extra strain wore out and snapped the belt.

    At least its not like a lot of car engines where its cambelt driven and a seized pump snaps the belt and wrecks the whole engine or in my case the auxilllary belt – fan belt – snapped and took out the cambelt as well.

    The wind was a right PITA last week. We managed a midweek break from Willow Wren at Rugby, along Oxford & GU to Braunston, through tunnel and then up Leicester arm to bottom of Watford flight and return. Ran out of gas first night as bottles hadn’t been changed and followed a very inexperienced crew through the tunnel who went through at tickover and panicked when a boat approached them

    Coming back from Braunston to Rugby we ended up having to push off the bank a couple of times and got stuck on the offside passing a line of moored boats with an oncoming boat.

    To top it off, winding outside the arm at willow wren i managed to knock the rudder out of the skeg cup even though i was clear of the Armco edging. Willow wren were good about it though and reseated it (no damage). Apparently when the new Armco was put in the old concrete edging was left in the canal ready to catch out those using the winding hole 🙁

    In all though a good break and glad to be back out and about and boating again.

    1. Pip Post author

      Dave, there is a thought that at some point there was not the correct amount of antifreeze in the system which caused the rusty crud to occur. This first happened two years ago on the Thames as Mick was fighting his way upstream with flood water about. The system wasn’t flushed through at the time to clear it out, then new antifreeze was used. The belt that went was on the domestic side not the water pump and starter battery, so it’s unlikely to have been the cause of the belt going.
      Glad you managed to get your boating holiday after such a long time, even if the wind was a pain. It certainly was very blustery last night. Glad Willow Wren got the rudder back in the cup, we had that on Lillian, luckily a chap came out with a dry suit, jumped in and adjusted everything back to normal.

      1. Dave (Scouts)

        Hi Pip

        Yeah we were lucky, it happened on the last turn so we managed to get into their arm and moored up. One of their engineers walked up and between us we lifted the rudder up and tried to reseat it but it wouldn’t play ball. He then took us and the boat back down to their moorings still trying to reseat the rudder and as we were pootling along. Just before we got to their winding hole it just dropped back into place.

        I’ve looked on streetview and you can clearly see the shelf/concrete before the piling/Armco was put in. CRT really need to sort it out as the engineer reckons it happens quite often, often enough for him to know exactly what we had done and why.

  3. Ade

    Great post Pip. A lot in there well done on those long shifts and the results are looking good.
    Hope you really enjoyed your weekend off.
    Im hoping Oleanna is better now?

Comments are closed.