There is often one event that changes things and this year it was definitely the Shrewsbury Flower Show. It’s the sort of change that is barely noticeable at the time but afterwards the world seems a slightly different place. It was partly the dramatic change in the weather that followed almost immediately at the end of the fireworks on the last night of the Show. I was just finishing my pack down, pausing occasionally to see some of the firework finale. I have spent some time in an earlier life designing and firing big firework displays and even had a firework shop so I know a little about pyrotechnics. I now don’t like them very much, mainly because they upset my dogs so much, but at one time I used to love firing those monster 5inch shells, feeling the thud as they burst from the mortar seconds after I had lit the fuse only a foot or so away. A young man's fancy I fancy!
The rain started almost on the final shell bursts and by morning the remnants of Hurricane Berta (or was it another name?) had inflicted the first taste of autumn on England. That taste hasn’t gone since and it now feels as though the summer is in the past. So Shrewsbury was the last of the high summer events and now we are heading for the back end fairs which start after the August Bank Holiday. Shrewsbury was a great success for Mr Alexander’s show. Big crowds and some wonderful praise during the event from people who came over and said so, loads of business cards distributed and some great emails since. The shows did go well, and mainly I think because the Shrewsbury audiences understood theatre, because they have such a wonderful theatre in the town. I think I will be invited back next year and hopefully it will become an annual one for me. I did the new juggling routine to The Old Umbrella Man without a drop in both last shows both days, and finished the last show on the second day with my favourite rings routine to Mr Bojangles sung by the wonderful Nina Simone. It was a special moment among many over the two days and I was left totally exhausted and slightly anti-climactic for at least two days afterwards.
I discovered some new magic too. A routine with a prop I hadn’t used before but had bought at some time in the past when I was flush. It promises to be a little gem and I keep returning to it like a child with a new toy. No not like a child, I am a child with a new toy.
But the other change was unseen. The fee from Shrewsbury has taken my bank account into the black for the first time this season and I am determined to keep it there from now on. I lived too much of the winter in the red and occasionally dangerously so, as regular readers of this blog will know. It was a difficult winter and I don’t want another like it. I was helped of course by my mystery benefactor’s magnanimity, but I am cautiously optimistic this time as the season changes that I will be able to stumble through to next spring without the knock of poverty. I am still on the wagon and feeling proud of it now. Lost loads of weight as a result and the new trimmer Mr Alexander is fitter in every sense!
On to Hinckley, another of Britain’s dying town centres, and the town management’s attempts to halt the decline with an attraction. Me! The trouble is that it hasn’t been advertised, at least according to two passers-by as I was setting up in the attractive market place yesterday. So how are the people going to know I’m on if there are no fliers or posters? I think it will be one of those where the audience will consist of three old ladies, a street cleaner and the town centre manager.
Ah well, it can’t be Shrewsbury Flower Show every day. Oh and someone told me that how you pronounce 'Shrewsbury' depends on where you come from. Another battle of the Litle Endians vs the Big Endians?
All the best from a road near you,