Happy Birthday Alfie

Friday 13th May

Waving goodbye to the bright lights of Kendal we pushed up the busy high street towards the mountains of the lakes. On our way out of town we met many people who “saw you lads on the telly” and stopping for a coffee we happened to bump into Shelly a friend of Boomdang Ts who is kindly letting us camp in her garden tonight. We also met David and Lisa from Natland which allowed us to say thank you once more before we pushed off again this time northward.

I was pleased to be back in my Vagabond uniform wheeling our Dolly proudly along.

Leaving town we turned towards the Windermere road as the dark clouds once again started to gather above us. I have always believed May offered the driest and most reliable weather for us showmen yet this year we have had our share of drizzle sometimes storms. None the less we are becoming quite adept and finding hiding places for us and our theatre.

The only shelter visible was the vestibule of a courthouse and looking over from the opposite pavement we noticed that is was void of any gathering accused or accusers. We pushed our Dolly across and waited. Obviously there is little crime in Kendal as the staff were redundant of proceedings and shortly we were joined by the courthouse guard enquiring “Whats all this then?” I explained we were a touring show avoiding the rain and we were told we were welcome to loiter with intent to stay dry.

Shortly a barrister nipped out for a look and even the judge in his robe came outside to view our curious carriage. I enquired about the whereabouts of his funny wig and was told in no uncertain terms that they are no longer worn at this level of judgement.

Pushing off we shunted along and soon the brickwork and houses disappeared in favour of green countryside once more. We stopped briefly to watch a show of our own as two fighter jets manoeuvred against each other in the sky’s above rehearsing no doubt for the theatre of war.

Another encounter with the law was to follow as a passing patrol officer slowed to enquire what was afoot. I leaned into his window and told him briefly of our adventure so far and he pulled off saying it was his night off and he might join us later for the show and a pint.

Pushing into Burneside our luck was in. Heavy rain fell suddenly as we were right outside the church so slid under the gable to see out the downpour. The little path through the gate was very active for a Friday morning i thought but on inspection the local post office had annexed one side of the building.

Further along we passed a school and the children were in the middle of playtime. Seeing us showman and our Dolly they ran over and asked for a show. We are no strangers to working in schools as our company along with our new Vagabonding credentials specialises in delivering educative and entertaining projects within academia * as such and knowing to be cautious without advanced agreement we waited patiently for the approaching teachers to give permission. That done we set up by the roadside and performed for the 30 children and staff.

Today is my sons birthday and i had picked up a present to give him tonight when he comes over to see the show and celebrate his 5th birthday. Noticing me struggling to pack the gift inside the already stuffed Dolly a kindly teacher offered to take the present and deliver it to the pub this evening to save me crushing it. Not only that she promised to wrap it for me as i was still hunting for a shop that might sell me some paper and tape.

Once more pushing forward we crossed a railway line and shortly after a pleasant mile or so and some steep hills we were arriving in Stavely. A picturesque and interesting village with a vibrant interest in the arts. A brief stroll around revealed posters for two local choirs and the town even had a tiny theatre. Stavely boasts a famous local carnival that parades bi -annually.

We perform tonight in the beer garden of a good old looking boozer with a varied menu of food and real ale.

The Eagle and Child.

Hope to see you there!

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