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 ( 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,

Mr Alexander
Mr Alexander