Trucking Family. 24th May


This morning we had a visit from a friend of Heathers, Sallyann. We got to meet Monty her newly acquired dog. Unfortunately we didn’t have much time to chat as we had trains to catch, hopefully our paths will cross again in the next few weeks.

There’s Oleanna

The magic food bowl came out from storage, the ice block popped in along with a portion of beef gravy cat food, we were likely to be eating beef tonight so it only seemed fair. Tilly was then left in charge of Oleanna as we walked to the station.

In St Stephens

Mick had worked hard a few weeks ago in securing cheap train tickets for us, then I’d hunted out a cheap hotel room for a nights stay in the centre of Hull. We’d been invited to the Guest Night of Teechers Leavers 22 at Hull Truck. John Godber has updated the show which he originally wrote 35 years ago and it was to be part of Hull Trucks 50th anniversary productions. I’ve designed the show twice for the company some years ago.

Our journey north worked out fine, retracing our route across the Middle Level and passing through Goole where we’d been 2 months ago.

It took sometime to find a member of staff to check us in at the hotel, but I think the lady upgraded us, putting us in a room at the top of the hotel which was vast! An old hotel that has had a make over with some fairly awful furniture, but all we were after was a bed or the night, so it was fine.

Burgers from Grilla

We spruced ourselves up and crossed over to HOH which used to be Hammonds department store. Here we were to meet up with Bridget and Storm, we went in to see what the deal was with food and drink. As we ordered ourselves burgers and drinks we started spotting some very familiar faces, actors who’d worked at Hull Truck through the years.

Bridget outside the building we both used to work in

Over at Hull Truck we arrived to join the masses for guest night. Several comments were heard that they’d not seen the place so full for the last ten years, which is when John stepped away from the company. On the guest list were many Truckers from John Godber’s time as Artistic Director. A speech welcoming us was made by Mark Babych the current Artistic Director. As our attention was drawn over to the entrance towards the studio space we all spotted a change of signage. The Studio space had been renamed the Godber Studio a wonderful tribute to the man who managed to rescue the theatre company from the brink of bankruptcy by writing plays that the Hull audiences loved, the first one being Up ‘n Under.

Mark Babych

More and more faces joined the crowded front of house, so many people to say hello to and share the evening with. Our normal careful mask wearing and keeping distances thrown out of the window this evening. Here’s hoping we didn’t pick anything up to take away with us!

The show had been updated with references to the pandemic, tiktok, party gate etc. Plenty of the old show also remained, it’s quite remarkable how much of the script comes back to me, although I’m sure several people in the audience knew it way better than me.

Nikki, TP, Sarah, Sian, Mick and me, just a few members of my Hull Truck family

There was plenty of time to chat to old friends, my Hull Truck family, after the show when eventually the bar was reopened. Another drink would have been nice, but sadly everyone’s hotel bars had closed at 11, we retired back to our cheapo upgraded room. I had had a couple of people making comments about our hotel during the evening and how you could get a room by the hour! I have to say it seemed to be okay and the only mirrors on the ceiling were in reception!

Mirrors on the ceiling, in reception

We slept relatively well, although the curtains could have done with being a touch bigger to keep the light out and traffic below on Anlaby Road did start up quite early. The hunt for breakfast that I could eat without taking out a bank loan eventually found us in Subway which did the job before we climbed on trains to make our way back southwards.

Our giant room!

As our train slowed approaching Ely station we could see that Oleanna was still moored where we’d left her, Tilly had done a good job. Our 48 hours on the Ely moorings was up, it was time to move on.

The Ely giraffe

0 locks, 0 miles, 3 trains there, 3 trains back, £45 hotel room, 1 acre on the third floor, 1 bath with bubbles, 4 burgers, 1 wonderful evening catching up, 2 many people to talk to, 35 years brought up to date, 1 newly named studio, 1 olive branch, 11pm closing time, 0 hotel wine, 50th anniversary celebrated.