None Shall Pass
22nd June Holmfirth Festival
I received a tweet from Maxim that Lesley was cooking eggs.
I had quite a restless night and despite a few pints found it difficult to get off to kip. This was simply because I was still buzzing from our show in Hepworth. I lay awake assessing what had gone well and how we might tweak the show to make it better. We have settled into the show and can afford to play with it now that it fits us like comfortable slippers.
We had bacon and scrambles eggs with crunchy toast, butter and tea. I am a convert to good bread.
After breakfast we took a stroll into town to buy a bunch of daffs for Lesley and Steve our hosts, I also had a sudden lust for a Marathon bar.
Through a gap in the buildings and up a small rise to a park we could see brightly coloured flags and the tip of a big top. We took a turn and made our way up the steep steps to see what all the fuss was about.
There stood Tacko in his bright red ringmasters costume, proudly barking in front of his Imaginarium. Shortly we were lodged inside a full house as the overture played on his gramophone. Soon enough we were treated to the flea circus and watched in awe as his company of fleas gave their performance. Herkufleas pulling a giant chariot around the central ring, Madam Flea Flea swinging on her trapeze and the death defying Evil Ca Fleavel being shot from his cannon.
A fine show indeed.
I left with two bites of my very own. One small lump on my right arm and another on the side of my left wrist. Some of the cast were obviously playing truant from Tacko’s sharp moustache. I recognised the swelling as I have been bitten by Tacko’s Fleas many times before in countless tents, booths and dressing rooms.
I also bumped into an old friend Nadgam who is a fine tabla player from Bradford. He was dressed as a Mexican.
Funny old world.
After the show we picked up a bunch of flowers and left them in the sink as a thank you for Lesley and Steve.
Steve is also a fellow showman and was off to perform at another festival with his band The Northern Lights. As such we were a bit stuck for a lift to Hepworth to collect us Dolly. We decided the best thing would be to jump a taxi. We walked back into town and asked a bloke where we might find the rank?
Colin is the bloke who runs the Last Of The Summer Wine Charabanc, driving visitors and fans around the valley showing the famous locations from the program. He invited us aboard and agreed to drop us at Hepworth as it was a part of the tour. We were to jump off at the top of the very hill that we had sweated so much to climb the previous day. We learned many things about the show along the way and as we approached we were informed that this was indeed the hill where many of the stunt routines were filmed, Compo would often be found shooting down this hill in a tin bath or similar misguided mode of transport. The steep gradient lent itself very well to comedy as we well knew.
What could possibly go wrong?
I’ll tell you!
A bus was stuck at the top blocking the road ahead. Somehow the driver had managed to skew-whiff his double decker blocking the road to all traffic including Colin, us and his passengers.
You’ll best leap out ear lads. Can’t turn is thing around!
We left skirted the bus and managed to make it to the village hall to be reunited with Dolly just fifteen minuets late. Problem was we now had to push back down for a gig in Underbank.
The journey to Underbank was of course back the way we had came so we had another opportunity for a work out down and Upppppppp the roller-coaster to Scholes.
We also needed a bus pass.
We didn’t fit between the bus and the small stone wall to the left. It all got a bit Barnard Cribbins. Firstly off came the side pannier boxes that hold the tool kit and one of our roadside routines.
Off came the horns.
Right then we will have to lift her over the wall. So Maxim myself and driver managed to 1.2.3 Liffft our theatre over the stone wall leaving just the faintest scrape down the side of the bus.
Dolly remains unscathed.
The remainder of journey was relatively simple. Even the push back up the mighty hill passed quickly. We rested at the top and enjoyed watching a few overs at the local cricket pitch. Scholes V Sheldon. We heard later Scholes lost badly.
We did however have the faintest pat of rain and sheltered under a tree watching the local rush hour. A local farmer herding his dairy flock.
We arrived a full hour before our expected time and rested up. Maxim had a nap under a tree as I kicked my heels up and down the local roads trying to find a cafe or pub. I also received a toot from Colin and his punters who was obviously finding alternative routes for his tour.
We set up for our show in the Underbank Rangers Rugby Club. An hour before the show Lesley arrives with Steve and a stunning curry for us tea.
Having scoffed our audience arrive and we show for the penultimate time. Once again our show is well received and at the end an audience member asks how long we have been doing the show. This is show number eight.
Eight? Looks like you have been doing it for years!
Later in Holmfirth we meet up with Tacko and his team fresh from their own day of showing. In another life I perform with a band of white face clowns Smiley Smacko our guitarist and Uke player has arrived so for the first time in ages half of the band are in the same room. Smacko, Tacko and Gacko.
Maxim and me have a malt raise a glass and slide home to rest up before the mornings descent.
Another perfect day