The end is nigh!

It looks as though I’m going to make it through!  Grab all the clichés – the light at the end of the tunnel, the silver lining and there’s a welcome in the hillsides.  Three weeks till Llandudno and I’ve done the sums.  Baring any unforeseen disaster I can just make it through to my season financially without having to borrow any more money.  OK I have used the credit cards more than I should and they will have to be repaid and, as you know, my mystery patron has stepped in to support me and the popular performing arts, but the worst winter I’ve ever had is almost over.  Of course it helped to have stopped drinking and Aldi have played their heroic part but I’m vowing never to have another winter like this one.  Somehow I have to store up an emergency fund against these disasters. 

Some were not my fault.  I’ve been screwed by two people in a really horrible way, especially after I’d been so considerate to their predicament.  I don’t want to go into detail but they have cost me over £4000 over the past five months, which is almost exactly my current overdraft.  I need to be tougher and not be led in by sob stories.  And I need to disentangle myself from that business so I’m not vulnerable to them.

On a much more positive note, I have to say the stage is looking especially fine.  New blacks along the front of the stage ( black velvet remnants from Abakhan ( - well worth a visit if you’re in North Wales or Liverpool and are into fabric making) and a new audience groundrow (the thing that stops the audience invading my space, the piece on the ground along the invisible fourth wall).  I thought about renovating it but it suffers from the daily onslaught of urchins on my front row and has therefore been well worn.  I’m going to have a stab at painting it myself, so that should be interesting.  A change of design too I think.  It was originally a piece of scenery from the olden days which ran across the front edge of the old lorry stage (which some may remember preceded the trailer stage I have now) so really it never quite looked right sitting on the ground.  I think the new groundrow should look like the front of a mahogany orchestra pit in miniature, so a wooden scumbled and grained effect.  If you know what scumbling and graining is then you are well informed.  It is (or perhaps one should say was) the art of making cheap wood look like expensive.  Originally developed in Victorian times when people wanted their homes to look posh but couldn’t afford real hardwood panelling so employed the scumbler to create the effect of grained expensive wood using paint.  Next time you see my show you can see scumbling and graining on the back door of the trailer and on the floor of the stage (both achieved by artist and expert grainer and scumbler, Tony Lewery).  He uses the technique as you can see ( on the wonderful barges he decorates with that technique and he writes about it in his books on canal art.

Artist Liz Ellis ( is coming over today to look at my backdrop moon cloth which needs renewing.  I want to keep the full moon theme but change the backing.

I cropped the first rhubarb from my allotment garden yesterday.  Enough to make two mini rhubarb crumbles with an oat crumble as I found I had no flour, but they were delicious.  Spent the weekend in the garden and all the potatoes planted along with leeks and the first of the summer salads.  It’s beginning to look cared for and I regularly have four or five of the resident guys from the Big House helping out.  They insist that I take some magic over for our tea break which is why I’ve been going through the closeup magic box.

And finally, since writing the above, I’ve taken the first real step to extricate myself from the business that has been sapping my energy and funds for the last few years.  There’s no going back now so watch this space and we will see how it all pans out.  Should be interesting.

It's amazing how a few days of sunshine and light can make such a difference to my life.

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander