Wallingford, Witney, Wimbledon, Widnes and winter

Well it’s the end of another season and it’s flown by.  Of course it’s a cliché but Llandudno Extravaganza seems only yesterday but now it’s getting dark at 4 oclock and my usual 6 am start is lighting the first fire of the day.  The prospect of the coming winter doesn’t thrill me.  I’m bad in the dark and it’s come again so quickly.  So tonight I’ve invested in two bars of anti-depressive chocolate while I review the past season; the ups and downs, highs and lows.

A couple of downs.  My ankle injury at the second event of the season was tough, and there’s some on-going problem with it.  I have to be careful.  I’m also in some considerable pain with my right elbow.  Jugglers’ elbow, otherwise known as tennis elbow, has assaulted me from about half way through the season.  It’s responding to treatment – a pressure bandage just below the elbow and liberal application of Ibuprofen gel, but it’s just wear and tear and I expect it to be with me from now on in.

But mostly it’s been ups.  It has been an enormous joy to have Rhys Edwards filming me through the season.  He now has enough for the short documentary which he is going to enter for film competitions next year and for a longer dvd for sale next year.  I will let all my loyal friends know when they are available.  The dvd is going to include original music by Maff Potts of Wallingford and it reflects my performance style to perfection. I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product.

The weather has been very kind.  Only one event when it rained throughout and another late in the season, and even then it stopped for the last day so I could pack down in the dry.  All the rest have been sunny warm and dry. 

And some great events, many old friends, some lovely new ones, some superb memories and all round a classic season, up on last year in terms of bookings overall.  Favourite amongst the new ones was The Vintage Nostalgia Show near Salisbury at the end of May. Shrewsbury Flower Show was special too as was the Crich Tramway Museum and despite weather issues and a few reservations I came to enjoy Beamish Museum.  The old favourites were as ever old favourites! I will always I love Hollowell Steam Fair, my twentieth year running (at least!), despite having to be towed onto the field this year by Autohome! Both visits to Haven Street were special and it looks as though I will be there again for the Island Steam Show 2015, ‘back by popular demand’!  Wallingford BunkFest always makes me feel so welcome and this year was made even better by such warmth and genuine expressions of affection by many I spoke to.  If I ever retired I could retire there! Not that I will ever retire.  I’m not the retiring kind.

The shows have developed considerably.  The last show of the day has now achieved a synthesis.  I am pleased with the new Tommy Cooper tribute and the Umbrella Man routine has now become (almost) solid.  Nothing is ever completely solid. If you’re into it there’s always room for improvement!  But it’s solid enough to depend on.  I am loving Maff Potts’ Ragtime Suite (which will feature in the dvd) and for which I have recently developed a new silent routine and the few new props for the season have worked well, especially the new unicycle.

The lorry has been dependable; only one breakdown which was not too painful and the new axles on the stage trailer have made me feel a lot more confident about its longterm durability.  I wasn’t able to afford the new trailer mover but there’s always next season!

There’s always next season!

All the best from a road near you,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander