Panto Postcard 3, 2021

61.25 hours

My planned escape back to Oleanna was very nearly thwarted. I left the theatre with ten minutes to reach the bus stop I have used on a Saturday night to get to Banbury in the past. I glanced at the time table only to discover that the last bus to Banbury did not stop at my bus stop, it was a fast bus. Two minutes later I saw it pass the end of the street! I called the taxi company that had ferried me back and forth last week and pleaded with them to help me. Thankfully they had one driver who wasn’t booked up all evening and he’d just returned from a break. I was soon back on track but £25 worse off.

What a journey!

The first train to Birmingham New Street was very pleasant and roomy, however the next train was packed with singing shouting Barnsley football fans. Luckily I had a reserved seat, well three in all for my journey up to Doncaster as I’d bought split tickets. I sat wincing every time the next round of songs was shouted around the carriage. I wore my mask hoping it would keep any possible virus at bay, not just for me but also the whole panto cast on my return. Eventually the carriage emptied out and things became quieter.

Mick was at Doncaster station to pick me up in a hire car and whisk me back to Goole so that I could surprise Tilly. She was so pleased to see me that I wasn’t allowed to stop stroking her until it was time for bed.

Sunday. What a horrible morning! We’d been hoping to move Oleanna today, the alarm had been set, but the sideways rain was so not conducive to seven hours or so out side to get her along the New Junction Canal. So instead Tilly got to come and go, using the hire car as shelter and we had a cooked breakfast. Hooray!

I actually needed a quiet day as I was really rather pooped. Mick headed off to buy some Puppy Training Pads whilst I did very very little. It was so nice to be back at home with my two favourites cosy in front of the stove.

Hello Martin and Wendy!

Yesterday Mick had discovered that the boat moored behind us was Martin and Wendy’s Lullabelle, we’d escaped Goole with them back in May. Lullabelle is part way through having a repaint, Martin had spotted Oleanna though. They have spent the summer months pootling about on the Ouse, up to Oxclose Lock which was closed and down to Naburn. They then headed back to Selby, had a trip round Trent Falls on Sea Maiden ( another Escapee) and Lullabelle was one of the first boats to get through Selby Swing Bridge when it was finally removed to be mended.

Monday. Time to pack things, the main one being Tilly. Our original plan had been to return to the house on Sunday, have a day for Tilly to settle down with me being around before I headed back to pantoland. But there had been a misunderstanding with one of our lodgers who’d decided that she was not leaving until today, she’d also said no to Mick dropping in to pick up Tilly’s Cat Caravan. Her show was moving on to Newcastle so she wanted to avoid any unnecessary contact, we respected that but were a touch miffed that she’d been confused at us wanting to return to the house on the Sunday when that is when she’d booked the house til!

I don’t see why I couldn’t have stayed here!

Anyhow, we packed the hire car. Fleur the Company Stage Manager in Scarborough had lent Tilly a Cat Caravan, which she wasn’t too pleased about. Also what was it with those Puppy Training Pads! I’m not a puppy and I certainly don’t need training! Our drive back to Scarborough involved two stops to refresh the puppy pads and after about half an hour Tilly seemed to be calming down a touch, maybe helped by the Pet Remedy, or just that she was getting more queasy. Poor poor Tilly! It was a relief for us all to reach the house.

Once Tilly had been cleaned up I didn’t bother restricting her to a room at a time, so we both checked round the house, Tilly more vocally than me! She definitely knew where she was, Yes, Scarboreugh! Our lodgers through the summer have ranged from being awarded 11 to 5 out of 10 for how they have left the house. A spare clean sheet for our bed would have been nice, but that was soon sorted.

Shoes from down the road has been making himself known to our lodgers and came peering in through the kitchen window only to find that Tilly had returned and that we would not be a push over. Stupid Cross Eyed Cat!

Having people live in your house means you get left with things, the garlic will get used, but I think we now have a touch too much malt vinegar! The rest of the day was spent doing washing, unpacking and making lists. Followed by fish and chips from Cappleman’s.

Sunny day

Tuesday morning and it was time for me to pack my bag again. Mick gave me a lift to the station, Scarborough was wonderful and sunny, such a shame to spend the day on a train. Mick headed back to Oleanna to pick up more things and check in with Martin and Wendy who would be keeping an eye on her for us for a few days.

My first train was to York where the River Ouse was in flood, right up to the level of the Museum Gardens, so no boats were moored there. I changed trains to a direct one to Banbury which followed parts of the canal network and rivers, the Soar looked really quite full. Back to Chippy on the 488 I stocked up with some food and went straight into the theatre.

The town square almost finished

Final preparations were taking place for publicity photos so we tweaked a few things whilst the Dame tweaked her padding. Lights were focused onto stage and then scenes were run for the photographer. Meanwhile I carried on painting behind the backdrop.

Final adjustments

During the afternoon news came through that one of the Pippins had tested positive on a lateral flow test today. The Pippins had all been in yesterday after school for a couple of hours rehearsing with the adult company. PCR tests were arranged for the company and anyone who’d been in close contact, it looks like I’d chosen a good day to have off!

Things getting nearer to being finished

Wednesday. The theatre was a touch quiet today with the majority of people having gone to Banbury for a test. The test centre where they had been booked into via the NHS had closed three weeks ago! Luckily their appointments were honoured at a drive through test centre not too far away. Doors and windows were kept open and everyone wore a mask all day long.

Socially distanced production meeting

More painting, nearly everything has a coat of paint on it now. Despite rehearsals going on on stage I can beaver away behind the backcloth quite happily. We had a production meeting at lunchtime. We collected in the bar and were joined by other members of the team via zoom. A laptop was pushed around the bar for people to give updates on their progress and bring up any problems. The main problem we have is that The Chipping Norton Theatre sweet chest, which has been in every panto that people can remember has gone missing! If you happen to know of it’s where abouts please let me know in confidence.

Thursday. Back in Scarborough we finally had scaffolders arrive. This is so that a roofer can sort out the roof where we have developed a roof garden which is letting a lot of water into the house and is possibly the reason the kitchen sockets have been tripping for the last few months.

That looks like a good climbing frame!

Mick added two containers worth of our solid deposits into the compost bin in the garden. The garden waste and our deposits from earlier in the year had almost totally composted down, this will be left until next year before it is used somewhere in our garden.

A pouch of plenty!

In Chippy rehearsals continued, the Pippins joined via zoom this evening, Dash (the Director) showing them where he wanted them to be in certain scenes. They also got to meet the Musical Director who joined us, Barney. Some singing was done over zoom too. It’s great that such things can happen keeping everyone involved with the show. By the end of the day everyone’s PCR results were in, only the one Pippin having tested positive, thankfully she hadn’t passed it on to anyone else. We all continue to do daily lateral flow tests.

Second coat of emulsion before the arty stuff goes on

I was called over by Dash for something important, he needed to give me plenty of chocolate to keep me going through the evening. Working for him is a touch like having a fulltime Dame in the room, and today I got most of the sweeties! A fresh coat of paint was added to the floor before we all left for the night.

First frost

Friday. Blimey it was chilly this morning, fitting for it being Bonfire night. Rehearsals continued, eleven out of twelve Pippins returning to the theatre.

I started putting finishing touches to several pieces of scenery and ended up the day drawing out the floor in paint in preparation for painting it over Saturday night into Sunday morning.

In Scarborough the roofer arrived and Mick got chance to see the roof where the problem was. The roofer wanted us to replace the slates with concrete tiles, but that wouldn’t be right for the house. He also wanted to redo the whole of the roof over that part of the house. Mick declined his kind offer, we just needed the roof to be good again and the rest of it seems to still be in good order. Thankfully the timber is just wet and not rotten. The chap will return next week to sort out gutters and reroute down pipes with the hope that the problem will not recur so that everything can dry out. We now need to find a plasterer to redo the kitchen wall, I’m not sure my dabble with plaster last winter makes me qualified enough for the job.

0 locks, 0 miles, 2 windy, 2 wet, 2 nights on board, 1 cat transported to the house, 4 trains, 1 hire car, 0 clean sheets, 5 out of 10, 1 tart, 1 Tilly tree climbed, 3 bottles Sarsons, 1 positive, 2 known neighbours, 1 not too lonely Oleanna.

One thought on “Panto Postcard 3, 2021

Comments are closed.