I love driving back tired and hungry in the lorry after a great gig. Malvern was a great gig. The trip back to my yard had to be made because I had a driving course to do the day after so there was no alternative. Usually I prefer to sleep a final night on the show site with everything packed and ready to go off early but I had to drive straight off so I was particularly tired and particularly hungry coming back to Chester up the M5 and M6, my two well known work companions asleep on the bench beside me.
I haven’t done the Malvern Spring Garden Festival for a few years and the previous was a one-off booking. How lovely then to find it was still a really sweet show. There is something about a well-organised show that stands out from the start, without being too in your face or dictatorial the Show is well laid out, superbly run and maintained and there are some fabulous exhibits, stalls and demonstrations. The setting is to die for.
At one point in the set up I have to climb up onto the trailer stage roof (as those of you who have seen Rhys Edwards’ film will know) and I always take a moment to take stock of my new surroundings from that commanding viewpoint. On Saturday, the glorious vista of the Malvern Hills with the sun setting over them on set up day was breathtaking. The photo is below. I am going to make it a new tradition of the blog to take the photo at every gig. Britain at its very best with all the gardens and planting of the show radiant in the warmth of the spring evening sunshine.
It was disappointing that the following day was rather cold with a cruel wind. However we are British, are we not, and my audience and I braved it out and I believe they were not disappointed. I certainly wasn’t. The early hesitancy at Llandudno had dispelled and the shows had a crispness and clarity which I thoroughly enjoyed. I discovered a new routine with the pompoms prop to the evocatively period version of These Foolish Things by Lew Stone. I will grow to love that routine as much as I love the music for it.
So all these thoughts meandered through my mind as I drove north through Sunday night. I was also curious about the driving course I had elected to do. I needed to make myself fully legal as I had only recently realised, as a result of the weight fiasco, that my ‘grandpa’ license only allowed me a train weight of 8.25 tons, and I needed a test to take that up to 11.5 tons.
So Monday morning found me still aching and tired (I had a particularly bad attack of cramp in the night which often happens at the beginning of the season until my body accustoms to the rigours I put it through). The course was surprisingly engaging. I discovered a few things my original 1968 driving test examiner would have failed me on are now totally expected and several bad habits I’d fallen into. I’m looking forward to the rest of it.
All the best from a road near you,