It’s never as bad as I think
Since I last wrote a lot has happened. The season is now properly underway with Herts County Show an almost distant memory. Once the main season starts the days roll by with such a speed it’s hard to catch up. Herts County was another success with even bigger crowds, great weather and shows which were met with universal approbation.
For a while though it was touch and go. The week before was the normal Mr Alexander rush-around, finishing off props, buying a few new ones, with Rob, my scene painter finishing off what I now know to be called a Sally Ann (the strange contraption folk put their head into for a photograph at the seaside) and which is now in operation alongside the stage. Suddenly I realised on the Monday that Blue was limping badly, not putting any weight on her rear right leg. I hadn’t seen anything happen but this was a real worry. I took her to the vet and Blue made such a fuss while she was trying to examine her that she could only give her some painkillers and anti-inflammatories and me the advice to rest her and monitor it. By the Wednesday with me due to leave for Hertfordshire the following day it seemed even worse so I took her back and she had a sedative jab so the specialist vet could examine her. I was worried it was the ligament in the knee which sometimes snaps on Bichons. Mimi had it happen to her and it had been a nightmare for her. It didn’t bear thinking about if Blue needed that operation. However the specialist said he thought it was a muscular strain of her thigh so rest would be the only thing and more anti-inflammatories. I suspect that it was the jumping in and out of the lorry that may have done it. Blue is such a feisty little dog and is in and out all the time. A big jump for a little dog. Mimi just waits to be lifted in and out and knows her limits.
In the rush-around I rehearsed the Verity V performance and it only now needs the dress. I have a wonderful Commedia style mask (I’m not yet brave enough to dare go out in public with a dress on without most of my face covered) and I have become reasonably adept on the Segway board. For some while I worried about how I was going to carry any props around and my friend Ralph was worried about me catching the edge of the skirt in the wheels of the board. Also I wouldn’t be able to bend over to put anything down especially with a huge crinoline on. It is amazing how sometimes what you are looking for is already there right under your nose. In the corner of my workshop, a relic of the days when the place was used by older people as a woodwork workshop, was a three wheel walker. One wheel was a bit wobbly but with a little adaptation it would serve perfectly as a balance preserver and a prop bag holder for Verity. I found a very old battered leather Gladstone bag that I mended and fitted on across the handlebars. Two challenges solved at one serendipitous stroke. I intend to cover the walker with pink plastic flowers and the bag is a perfect height for props. I have found just the right script for her show and it is to be an early morning World Premiere at Ilfracombe. I’m really excited about it. I have a feeling that Verity is going to be a popular addition to the repertoire.
On the way to Herts County, finally packed and Blue being nursed appropriately, the lorry broke down. A diesel leak from somewhere in the depths of the engine. Another potential nightmare. However the good man from Autohome fixed it in ten minutes and once again I had to learn the sometimes hard lesson that I need to relax. The problem is usually not as bad as it seems.
By the time we arrived and set up next day at Herts County, Blue had stopped limping and looked at me as if to say, ‘What were you worried about, I’m a show dog aren’t I?’ And she is. She has a fluency with and a love of working the crowds, loves roving around the audience making friends, recognises her music for her routine and loves sitting on the stage and coming down on cue from up centre. A real star. Mimi also knows the cue and arrives from her favourite spot under the stage. They make my life a real joy. I bought them each a pink bowtie at the Show from a stall that specialised in bespoke canine couture.
What a funny life, never as bad as you think.
All the best from road near you,