Peering At The Ghost Ship

Wednesday 18th May

I was whisked to Brockhole a grand building set in beautiful grounds. The attraction boasts a visitors centre very popular with day trippers eager to explore the geology and activities offered by Brockhole itself and the larger lake district.

I had already waved goodbye to Lord Gregg and Damo (P3) and waited patiently for them to arrive. A the weather was once more moist we were invited to set up the show to perform for a varied collection of day trippers and a group of children visiting from Halifax, a perfect mix of ages for our show counting probably 40 children and 30 adults.

The performance went very well and we answered many questions for the excited children. After Lord Gregg and (P3) shunted off to Ambleside leaving me to wait for this afternoons lift from founding father of The Fairly Famous Family Jem.

He arrived promptly and 3.30 in the companies bright yellow van with Paula a pretty French woman visiting the family for a weekend of walking. We had a pot of tea in his vast kitchen with stunning views of Ambleside very nice too!

Jem’s two sons were studying for examinations and as such Paula and myself were to stay with another old friend Flur, who I had not seen for probably 20 years.

Later he whisked me down to Borrens Park for the evening show. The rain howled and our audience thought better of it. The weather for once had beaten us, but thankfully we had already performed to the gathered masses at Brockhole and so our days wasn’t wasted.

Lord Gregg and (P3) shunted off towards their accommodation and I was left forlornly outside a local pub saddened as we were to be separated for the first and hopefully last time.

Thankfully I was soon to be joined by Cambell, his wife and young family for a drinks. Archie his eldest lad later took me to the end of a small wooden pier on the promise of seeing a ghost ship.

We stood looking deep into the dark reflective water in the late evening. Soon enough a ghostly glowing apparition appeared. I quickly pulled out my camera to try and capture the image as it started to melt away. Usually I don,t believe in ghosts, but I saw that ship with my own eyes, and you can make up your own mind from the image.

We arrived later at Flurs house who was as kindly and striking as ever. I enjoyed catching up with her after so long and she cooked a delicious dinner for myself, Cambell and Paula the French lass. I enjoyed talking with Flur. She has a dancing vocabulary and a poetic way with words in general conversation. Once more the wine flowed and a pleasant evening was once more passed.

I slept in a soft warm bed and text messages from Lord Gregg thorough the night revealed that I had drawn the better straw regarding accommodation.

Jem once more collected me after breakfast and deposited me on the pier where we were to collect the ferry courtesy of Lakeland Cruises.

The Swan arrived through the mist. A vast pleasure cruiser built in our hometown of Barrow. The crew helped us drag our Dolly aboard and we were seated and given coffee. We sailed gently down Windermere and we were later invited to the bridge to meet captain Phill. We were allowed to make a public broadcast to the passengers inviting them to our performance at Lakeside and we were even allowed to pilot the vessel whilst in the safety of deep obstruction free waters.

Thanks to captain Phill and manager Jackie for free safe passage for us Vagabonds. The Swan is truly a glorious way to travel and view the lake Windermere and I look forward to sailing again soon with the family.

Thankfully for my old leg It was to be a day featuring interesting and historic modes of transportation. Our next journey to Haverthwaite itself was aboard a iron clad steam train and we puffed through the woodlands to be eventually greeted on the steam filled platform by a party of children from Leavens Valley school.

They excitedly gathered around a picnic table on the platform and we gave a short performance for them and a gathering audience of holidaymakers.

After lunch at the station cafe i felt able to hobble the short walk from the station to the school for the evenings performance. My old friend Hannah Fox has children at the school and as such with her help we had secured a place to perform our evening show.

Very nice too. Recently the building had been renovated and we set up our show in the quadrangle. This was a pretty multifunctional space where the children can play safely. Beautifully designed with a living garden roof carpeted with wild flowers and grasses. Our largest audience to date 90 local folk gathered and at 6.30 we gave our show.

The old leg was well behaved and despite a few twinges i am feeling more mobile. Thanks to all at Leavens School for a perfect venue. A truly organic, inspirational and wonderful place for showmen and students to gather.

Later in the local pub over dinner we counted our hat. Once more bulging we are well fed, dry and financially buoyant to the tune of £63.68. Hannah and her family kindly put us up for the night and i fell asleep like a cat in front of the roaring log fire.

The this morning Hannah drove me to Bouth where I am to meet Lord Gregg and Alison from Lakes Alive who is to be today’s pusher (P4) Bouth is just 3 miles from Sparkbridge and tonight’s show. I look forward to attempting the journey on foot. I feel confident and hope to be once more on the road as intended with my Dolly Lord Gregg and our humble vagabond show.

Our glorious trip down the lake brings more familiar surroundings, as we draw closer the weather is starting to lift we are slowly coming home.


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