Panto Postcard 6, 2021

46.75 hours

Sunday. What a lovely day off spent with family. Finn the feline version of a silver back was first to say good morning to me, I was honoured as he rarely makes his way upstairs. Then Ziggy made sure I had enough feline attention by sitting on me and demanding I leave the crochet blanket alone to give her plenty of chin rubs.


The day was spent chatting with Andrew and Jac followed by an early lunch. A joint of lamb with plenty of vegetables and masses of cauliflower cheese. All was very very yummy and just what was needed to refuel me for the journey back to Chippy. I even got to take a generous doggy bag back with me!

Google had been good on the way to Hackney with it’s timings, I aimed for an earlier bus than suggested, just missing it. Then with the volume of people at Paddington it was slow going getting up into the station, I was there a minute before my train departed, but there was no mention of which platform, so I missed it! A change of route however got me back to Oxford in time for a bus back to Chippy before they became hourly.

Just a bit of prop veg

Monday. Jo returned with a mass of giant prop veg. Those turnips nearly looked good enough to eat and her leeks made from yoga mats were a triumph! We were joined by Tim for a second day helping to work the way through the remainder of the prop makes.

The Cotswold Thunderbolt

The local BBC reporters came to film us getting ready to open the show. A few interviews were recorded and then Ash and Gav got to wheel the cannons across stage at speed, which of course was the bit that was used.

I know how to live!

The dress rehearsal from Saturday was finished off, followed by a full dress with another set of Pippins. This then left the evening to do work. I decamped into the bar and spent several hours sewing velcro onto ribbons, sadly the bar wasn’t open!

Tuesday. More fairy lights went up in the auditorium and we were joined by the ushers for the final dress rehearsal when photos were taken. There were still notes to work on and the show was running a touch too long for days with two school shows. Whilst cuts were discussed long into the evening glittering happened in the auditorium, adding that bit of eco sparkle to the show.

Drying leaves

Wednesday. I spent all morning in the land of latex glue. The auditorium needed a good leafing. I got into my stride with three plastic bags where leaves could be glued and left to dry as I stuck the driest onto the balcony fronts. The morning soon disappeared and it was time to clear everything away as we had two previews.


The first preview was filled with a school and a group of about 30 adults. Sadly after a couple of songs a fault developed with the sound so the show had to be stopped as nobody could hear the music. People ran round to find the fault and ended up replacing a faulty cable which seemed to do the trick. But by the time we were ready to start again there was a very long line of kids waiting for the toilet! The delay of around twenty minutes meant that the schools bus would arrive before the end of the show, so it was decided to get to the song sheet and then say farewell to the kids, the adults then more than made up for the lack of bums on seats whilst the show finished.

Rudi and Rapunzel with the portrait

The second preview went much better, even the cannons did their best to impress and soak! The old Producer Will was in to watch, which was lovely as he put together the team and contracted us all before he left to go freelance.

Still my favourite set

During the show I realised what was missing from one of my sets. The interior of the tower had been bothering me, it was because it didn’t have any panto shadows. So the set was put on stage ready for some attention first thing in the morning.

Almost finished England on the Wold

Thursday, I was just about first in. Shadows painted before the cast arrived to work through the cuts that would be put in today. I had a few more notes to do before having a really good tidy up. Paints were labelled and stored back in the shed. The model was removed from the model box of the theatre, I keep a few bits as mementos but the rest has served its purpose so just ends up in the bin. All my possessions were collected together and piled up in the shower, the only place left in the building with space!

Just a few more leaves were added and the very last one recorded for posterity. I used a few leaves and added strawberries for my first night cards, the remaining ones were all packed up and put in the attic for someone to find in years to come. Out of the 3588 leaves I’d cut for the show I think I had about 900 left and if I’d had one more day I’d have used them all up.

In fact it’s loads of scaf clamps

At bang on 4pm I got a message, Mick had arrived in Chippy! A hire car had been picked up this morning in Scarborough. The car was loaded and the shower made available to the cast again.


The evenings performance was a socially distanced one, only 65 in the audience, but they all seemed to enjoy it. Maybe it was because there were lots of the team in as it was our last evening. Mick enjoyed the show and I was especially pleased that the Pippin team on tonight included my favourite, she tends to steal the show when she’s on stage.

Time to say Goodbye to panto

After the show I joined the rest of the team in the stalls for notes. This actually was more of a goodbye to many of us who’d be leaving tomorrow. Tiredness and emotion took over a touch for me. After spending almost 18 months talking about the show and the design having been worked on for a year, there it was on the stage in front of an audience. We were all back doing what we love and sharing it with an audience. I’d avoided going to the pub for four weeks and kept my distance, worn my mask for eleven hours a day (sometimes more) but now hugs could not be refused.


Time to eat. Only one thing I could eat, and that was fish and chips at the Blue Boar.

Chipping Norton is where Bagpuss resides of course

Friday. No time to sleep in, there was more to pack in the car and time to say goodbye to Suzanne. Thank you once again for my Chippy Panto home.

Festive breakfast/lunch

Then we were on our way heading northwards. We paused to pick up some breakfast at Leicester Forest East Services. Last time we’d stopped here was when we moved NB Winding Down from Elton Moss, on that occasion we’d had three weeks of boat life and were deafened by the chairs in the dining area being scraped on the floor. Sandwiches would do us today.

There she is!

We turned off the M18 at junction 6 and wove our way through Thorne to reach Blue Water Marina. There sat Oleanna tucked in with her new friends, a few with familiar names about the place.

It’s been strange not being able to go home to the boat whilst working on panto this year, my life having developed a north south divide! So it was good to see her in her winter home. Time to collect a few things I would want before it was time to say Toodle Pip to her for the time being.


The rest of our journey back to the house was filled with autumnal scenes up over the Wolds. Drax the only power station in the area still with it’s full compliment of cooling towers was busy working hard.

Yes it is me, I’m home now!

Sat in the bay window on our return was Tilly. I got a bit of a telling off to start off with but she soon remembered that I give better head nudges than Mick. Well first you’d gone and left me, then Tom did too! He’d even left me with the magic food bowl which had only popped once! I’d got bored of waiting for it to pop again. I was soon pinned down to the sofa by Tilly, Mick gave me a glass of wine and I caught up on Bake Off again.

Pinned down

Three weeks ago on the day we moved Tilly back to Scarborough, we were contacted by the SJT regarding a lodger for 6 weeks next spring, hopefully our first of several. So this year we know when we’ll be back on Oleanna, well hopefully if the plague doesn’t get out of control!

Protecting the bench

This does now mean that unless there is something boaty to write about, the blog will be going into hibernation again, hopefully not for as long as last winter as we’ll be back on board before C&RT’s winter maintenance is finished. In the meantime we’re working on a few new things to be included on the blog.

Now where’s that stoppage list gone?

for now

0 locks, 0 miles, 1 missed train, 1 huge leg of lamb, 2 feline cuddles, 4 last days, 2667 leaves stuck, 21 leaf cards, 6 ribbons, 1 last night visit to the pub, 1 Oleanna visit, 1 ikea bag of stuff, 1 shouting cat, 1 warm lap, 1 designer pinned to the sofa, 1 panto opened, 1 Pip taking it easy for a while.

14 thoughts on “Panto Postcard 6, 2021

  1. Karen

    Thanks for the trip, Pip. Enjoyed seeing your travels and the Panto. Best wishes for a healthy winter.

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you for travelling with us Karen. There will be posts but only as and when. Best wishes to you too.

  2. Anonymous

    Grand result from your efforts at Chippy well done on that. Glad it all went well.
    Good to see the year of planning coming to fruition.
    Home sweet home now currently watching Scarborough on Channel 4 looks a wonderful seaside location!
    Looking forward to those updates when they appear.

    1. Pip Post author

      Thanks Ade. Scarborough has been quite a blustery place today.
      Don’t worry I’ll post a break photo or two I’m sure over the next few months.

  3. Debby

    Scarborough was mentioned on the news yesterday as somewhere being battered by the storm,with roof tiles flying about! hope your roof survived in one piece.
    All the best

    1. Pip Post author

      We managed to survive in one piece. Our road was closed due to a tree unable to make its mind up whether to stay standing or fall doing damage to houses!
      The winds did mean we noticed some of our new guttering hasn’t been attached very well!
      Hope all is good with you chaps. Pipx

  4. Anonymous

    Love your blog I shall miss you but I’m looking forward to seeing/and reading your adventures in Scarborough. Staff safe and enjoy the lovely crisp walks round the bay. Barbara xx

    1. Pip Post author

      Thank you. We’ve missed our walk today, it would have been quite snowy! Keep safe and see you put and about next year somewhere. Pip x

  5. Dave (Scouts)

    Will miss the regular boating blogs, but hope to visiy the Panto over xmas and maybe you could hand over the keyboard to Tilly so she can update her blog. I’m sure she have something to say about Scarbleugh !!

    1. Pip Post author

      Hope you enjoy the panto if you get to Chippy.
      Tilly has a lot of catching up to do! Somehow her blog got lost, but we’ve found it again.

  6. joamungoanddog

    Don’t blame you for getting emotional at the end of that – sounds like a ton of great work by you all and I wish I lived closer so I could go and watch it!
    Enjoy Christmas and NY .. I’m going to send you some kitten porn!

  7. christine geraghty

    Thank you Pip for such a great account of the day-to-day work of getting a show on the road. Looked brilliant by the end!

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