Santa’s Magical Farm
There are times when I wonder what I am doing in this business. Perhaps it happens to everyone. A seminal moment - you look around, shake your head and say.’ What on earth am I doing here?’
I am in a small petting zoo just outside Hawarden in Flintshire. It is bitterly cold and I have just set up the show in a corner of a marquee which I am sharing with a vintage fire engine. It is slightly surreal. There is no-one here except a very occasional toddler in a push chair on their way to Santa’s grotto. I have a friend who is down to do a circus workshop in the marquee next door. We take it in turns to return to the caravan to warm up. But at least we do have a place to warm up. There are a number of stallholders who are behind trestle table in other marquees with no heating and no-one to sell to. They have probably paid to be here on the promise of the footfall of thousands. So really there’s nothing to complain about. The time will pass. I will be paid. I have a caravan to warm up in and a kettle for tea.
Well the above is now firmly in the pre-Christmas past and a dull memory to be filed in the folder “Gigs I’d rather not remember’. And that folder is thankfully not very full. Most of my gigs are wonderful, and some are spectacular. There’s a welsh word which means more than glorious – ‘bendigedig’ - just saying it makes you feel good, especially if you smile at the same time. So I always have a few bendigedig gigs, though as adjectives follow nouns in welsh it ought to be gigs bendigedig. Anyway enough of that.
I drove down to Burgundy for Christmas to spend a week with my sister who now lives in isolated splendour in Southeastern France. I ate and drank far more than anyone should and whiled away the hours with twelve others, including four children, the sons and daughters of my sister’s children. I think that makes me a great uncle, though I can’t be sure. It was a good opportunity to practise some closeup magic. It was fun.
And the new website has now launched. I did it myself on Squarespace and quite enjoyed the process. The front page photo was taken at Widnes in October and makes the set and the lorry look splendid in the late September sunshine.
And we are now in the down time. For me this year and almost for the first time I’m not feeling too down. Partly because I’ve cleared up a few debts this year and therefore have fewer financial worries. Partly as summer 2019 is already looking very full and with some new shows, including a long boat trip down to sunny Guernsey in August for the West Show. A slow boat but I love boat trips and an overnight cabin on the way back. I’m really looking forward to that.
Martin is making a very welcome return this summer. He will be with me from June to August and will be accompanying all the shows. He has made a compete recovery from everything he was suffering from and we are planning some new routines integrating him even more fully into the shows.
All in all, it is looking good. So after the pre-Christmas tale above of ‘What am I doing here?’ it is now clear. In my seventieth year I shall continue to present shows at all my favourite events and any new ones who would care to book me. And continue to develop new ideas and routines for them. And I look forward very much to meeting with you all again later in the year.
All the best from a road near you,