Back to the yard
Returning to the yard after a long and very successful summer season is a real pleasure. The place has a feeling of slight neglect with weeds and nettles poking up from corners and a bush of overripe blackberries missed and unpicked. My yoga space created last year in one corner of the workshop has cobwebs and dust and needs a good brush. Everything in the workshop exactly as I had left it but somehow it all seems just that little bit different, as if all the tools had just been caught out in a secret dance hearing my return and hadn’t quite made it back to their original positions.
The leaf colours outside are wonderful and the sounds of crunching as I walk over the fallen ones is especially evocative. The silence of my surroundings accentuate the small sounds inside the lorry. The tinkle of the chandelier as I move around, the strange sad sigh my fridge door makes when I shut it, Mimi snoring on the sofa. All sounds ignored and unnoticed during the hullabaloo of summer fairs.
I love this period of reflection and review, time to think back over the highlights of the summer.
Sales of my DVD have gone well and I have received some great feedback from those who have seen it. It will take a while before I recuperate all the investment in it but if sales continue this shouldn’t be too long. Rhys is still entering the short version into film festivals and I will let you know how it fares. BBC2 are showing some interest in a version of it so I will be following that up over the next few months. I may yet become a TV star. (Be careful what I wish for.)
The show grew nicely this summer. A couple of new venues including South Shields and Wanstead Park. The latter will become an annual event I think. The shows themselves changed in much the same way as they have always. Gradually. I used Maff Potts’ ragtime suite as the accompaniment to a silent third show and had the great joy to work with him live at Wallingford Bunkfest. I included fire again in some shows after a year or so without it. I’m a little ambivalent about fire in the show. I’d love to hear what you think…
I’ve made a few changes to the lorry. Foremost amongst these is a solar battery charging system. Thanks to help and advice from Ralph and Geoff I have now a good quality pure sine wave 2000 watt inverter run from two leisure batteries and a large panel on the lorry roof running the system. I discovered after a pricy mistake that a standard inverter (called a modified sine wave) doesn’t provide enough startup power for the fridge. However the pure sine wave one will and this means I can turn off the generator for long periods and run all the mains items in the lorry, including the fridge. Ralph even found a digital meter which tells me how much power is left in the batteries. I don’t even have to step outside to turn the inverter on as it has an inside remote switch. I am really pleased with it and next year I plan to extend the system and add two more panels and maybe another battery, which on a hot summer day should be enough to completely power the stage and the lorry which will make me even more ecologically friendly.
Other changes too. I’ve just taken delivery of a new mattress to fit the odd space my bed takes up. The company (www.shipshapemattresses.co.uk) specialise in making odd-shaped mattresses and I’m very very pleased with the result. It means I can spread over the whole bed and not have odd bits of foam making up the edges. It's the most comfortable sleep I've ever had. I even lie in bed in the morning occasionally just enjoying it. Not something I am used to doing. Overall the lorry is becoming almost as perfect a small living space as anyone would wish for.
The outside paint job has now taken a huge leap forward. Rob, (who painted my silent DVD salesmen figure) has this week made significant progress with the other side and rear of the lorry. I will wait till it is finished before I add photos, but I am thrilled with it and he is adding a wide range of delicate and wonderfully true-to-life fauna and flora to the picture. His scene-painting experience, skills and expertise are really coming to the fore. It really is superb.
So we’re ready for the winter, and a lot of Cat’s Paw Theatre work in the pipeline. More about that next time.
All the best from a road near you,