Blog Archives

Once More With Feeling

Sunday is usually a day or rest and for once us showman were to enjoy a comparatively restful day.

Our Dolly was parked safely in the Underbank Rugby Club and we had been asked to wait until 11.30 am to collect her. Also we had already conquered the final hill of our Holmfirth adventure so as the saying goes it was all down hill from here and our final performance at The Bridge Hotel that evening would close the curtain on one the finest of vagabonding weeks.

Steve sorted us our with a Sunday fry up and a lift back up to the club and we agreed that we would all catch up with he and Lesley before we set off for home.

We arrived promptly and shunted us Dolly down hill for once into the bright lights of Holmfirth. The road was quite busy and we spent most of the journey in our own company void of many passers by other than fast cars. We spent our time talking about our next journey around lancashire and how we hope to vagabond together again next year.

Heading Holmfirth

Heading Holmfirth

We arrived and set up for the final performance.

A full house, hurrah!

Our show went very well and once more our applause lingered.

We are proud of our production and look forward to performing it for fresh audiences in Lancashire this August.

We were both tired at the end of the show and we packed away and listed the props, costumes and instruments. We slipped briefly into the last night party gig and mamboed a goodbye to our promotors and the organisers of Holmfirth festival.

Shake a leg!

Shake a leg!

Whilst thanking people I do have a list.

We are most grateful to Blaize who have produced this years vagabond show and look forward to plotting and planning next years shunts. Ellen Thorpe and Paula Horton work tirelesly backstage for Blaize researching and and applying for the money that makes the art happen and along with our own Janice Benson share every round of applause we receive out on the road.

http://www.blaize.uk.net

We need to thank Shaun (Blez) Blezard for all his assistance with technology and for his amazing photos that have and will help us promote our show in the future.

http://shaunblezard.net

Also to The Ashton Group in Barrow who very kindly gave us space to rehearse our show free of charge affording us more budget towards our design.

http://www.ashtongroup.co.uk

Jim Woodland who has both written some of the material and directed our show also shares our applause. Thanks Jim. I enjoyed it very much.

http://jimwoodlandsongs.wordpress.com

Holmfirth Festival and Arts Out West our promotors for the last few weeks of vagabonding along with Spot On Lancashire who we look forward to joining in August for more of the same.

http://www.spotonlancashire.co.uk
http://holmfirthartsfestival.co.uk
http://www.arts-out-west.co.uk

Good old Dolly and of course our partner and friend the grand master showman Maxim.

He's a good runner!

He’s a good runner!

A fine gig and joyous experience. Thank You!

Thank you all!

Dolly and me are about to embark on other adventures so please check my own website for the gig list.

http://garybridgens.wordpress.com/diary/

We will see you all in August when we Ramble On some more.

Ta for now.

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On Top Of The World

Us Against Irton Pike

We left our room and made our way to the foot of Irton Pike.

We paid the landlady who was hoovering the detritus from the previous evening’s party. I happened to leave my iPad on the bar as we were saying goodbye and she was kind enough to catch us up to return it even though she was weighed down with a full head of thick curlers.

We breakfasted in a pleasant cafe along the street, guests of the landlord who, with forward vision, had realised he was not going to be able to face cooking it himself.

A good call and we had a lovely fry up, thank you very much.

We were going to need it.

The pike itself is 230 meters high and we were to push our Dolly along the road that skirts the top.

As I mentioned previously this was always going to be the section of the journey where we would need to drive some of the way. That said it was rather peculiar looking up at the tip of the pike knowing that we were discarding a perfectly healthy van at the bottom of it.

The secret to pushing a heavy wheeled theatre up a long steep rise is pace. Always stop before you need to, have plenty of water, hope for a pub at the bottom and careful on those blind bends.

We managed to make the summit with just 17 stops. Not bad at all.

Nearly there. A cheeky glimpse of the summit through the trees.

Nearly there. A cheeky glimpse of the summit through the trees.

Along the way we were treated to stunning views of the pike itself but also the deep woodlands either side which were carpeted with bluebells and wild flowers. We also spotted something you won’t see from a passing car or probably even a whilst cycling.

A small monument dedicated to William Malkinson a local preacher who died suddenly on this very spot February 21st 1886. We doffed our hats to a fallen fellow traveller who wandered around telling his own stories.

A monument to fellow traveling story teller William Malkinson

A monument to fellow traveling story teller William Malkinson

A footnote to the stone carving said “Be Ye Also Ready”, we exercised extreme caution from there to the summit.

Once there we took a moment to enjoy the stunning views of long lush valleys leading to steeper distant mountains, pikes and peaks.

Then slowly down. Taking our time, proud of our achievements and in the hope of a pub and pot of tea. We were rewarded at the base with just that and having spent an hour sipping tea and blogging we pushed on to Eskdale Green and our next appointment. A ride on La’al Ratty.

Ratty is a steam locamotive built in 1876 to ferry iron ore from Boot to the coast at Ravenglass. It is now run as a passenger railway and ferries tourists and local travellers along the same line. We arrived a full hour before our 2.25 departure booking and were lucky enough to check in advance with another driver heading east that our Dolly would indeed fit into her carriage reserved for wheelchair users. We gave a small performance for some fellow travellers and met with Janice who manages Headzup with me and Blez who joined us to capture some photographs for future publicity shots and archiving.

On Our Way To Ravenglass Pic by Shaun Blezard

On Our Way To Ravenglass Pic by Shaun Blezard

Our journey aboard Ratty lasted just half an hour or so and every inch was a joy. The countryside unrolled before us through the steam. The weeks and weeks of rain recently endured has caused the grass to explode into the deepest green and created an abundance of wild flowers of every colour. I doubt the county could ever again look as fine.

What a treat!

We detrained at Ravenglass and thanked our driver and guards before pushing on to our venue, a pretty hall on the promenade of the estuary.

Idyllic.

The local committee presented us with a lovely picnic and we feasted on butties, home made scones and cakes with Janice and Blez.

Later our families arrived, Maxim’s wife Rosie, then George, Alfie, Ah Mam and our friend Boomdang T.

Later still other people joined us for the show. Local folk but also a few people who had received messages from friends who had seen our show previously.

Our performance went well. The begging of the second half stood out for me. In this segment we invite audience members to join us for a Mummers play. We had a particularly spirited group that evening featuring actual Mummers, a story teller and percussionist.

Our show ended as the sun began to set over the estuary through the hall windows and all to soon we were saying goodbye and packing the van at the end of the Cumbrian leg of our journey.

This is not the first time I have Vagabonded Cumbria and I already know it won’t be my last.

A picture from our photo shoot in Ravenglass caaptured by Shaun (Blez) Blezard.

A picture from our photo shoot in Ravenglass caaptured by Shaun (Blez) Blezard.

Thank you to our venues, our promoters and of course audiences. Thank you to everybody who tooted, waved and slowed down for us as we wandered West Cumbria. Finally a massive thank you to Bob and Caroline from Arts Out West.

Maxim and myself will next travel Yorkshire as performing for Holnfirth Festival.

Heres the news.

http://holmfirthartsfestival.co.uk

Come and join us at a gig if you can or please pass news onto your friends if they live local.

From Maxim, Dolly and me Thank You Cumbria