Friday, August 31, 2007

Get The Hump

I have repeatedly told people that we are taking risks when we have wierd and wonderful animals at Greenbelt. They don't believe me. Well look at this. The camel lay on top of her. It was considered to possibly even be a "sort of sexual thing". Apparently the camel hadn't been given enough discipline. Although why a male camel would be into suspenders and a whip escapes me.

Tra La La

There are more stories. I don't know exactly how many more, but there are more.

Like the night of the sweep. This brings together some security work with golf buggies. Possibly an incongruous mix.
This year at Greenbelt we had golf buggies working as taxis. Excellent idea to help people get around at a low cost. Let's ignore the tension, that might be someone elses call, but just accept that the theory was good.

Anyway on the second night we wanted to do a sweep of the helicopter field. Not that there was a problem but it was an exercise that we needed to do. So somehow we needed to get 24 stewards up there. We decided that we would borrow some golf buggies. While most of the team were being briefed I took another three stewards as drivers for a quick training on how to drive buggies (relatively easy - accelerator, brake, forward and reverse, left and right). Then we set off to collect the rest of the team. It was impossible to avoid singing the theme tune to the Banana Splits as we went down the hill, 4 buggies in a line, me leading. Then we collected our stewards and set off again, 6 stewards in high viz jackets per buggy. This demanded a change. Of course the Banana Splits was no longer suitable. So we headed towards the helicopter field singing the "Ride of the Valkyries" from "Apocalypse Now". All we needed was speakers on the roof.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Front or Back

It has to be said that some of the team take things more seriously than others. On the last night we had a report of a possible sighting of some locals trying to get in. I drove Zippie, Guilty and McVicar (if you are not a Greenbelt regular then I have to promise you that these are the real names) up to the nearest point (via a rather nice scenic route) then we got out to walk. It was dusk as we started traipsing across the field in a line - McVicar first, then Zippie then Guilty and myself. As they walked ahead of us they lined up so well that McVicar vanished from view, eclipsed by Zippie (more because McVicar is small than Zippie is big).

And I said something along the lines of "they're picking us off one by one". Almost at the same time Guilty and I thought of the same thing, a scene from Red Dwarf, I suspect from "Polymorph" but am ready to be corrected. In it the four "heroes" are hunting, or being hunted by, an alien. As they walk along someone says it is always the person at the front who gets killed first. Rimmer therefore tries to get to the back. But someone else says that it is always the person at the back who gets picked off. This leads to a dilemma for Rimmer as to where in the line he should stand. And I believe that Guilty and I did a very good re-enactment of the scene which entails a certain degree of running around in circles trying to be at both the front and the back at the same time.

I am fairly sure I heard McVicar tutting.

Later correction (before anyone beats me to it): In fact it was "DNA" and the script goes like this:
RIMMER and KRYTEN are about to venture down a darkened corridor. RIMMER pauses, cowardice writ large upon his features, then turns to KRYTEN.
RIMMER: Uh, Kryten, take point. I've seen those movies. It's always the guy in the lead who buys it first. You take the front.
KRYTEN: Well, if it's movies we're talking about, sir, in my experience it's usually the poor fellow who's bringing up the rear that gets picked off first, so the others aren't aware that they're under attack.
RIMMER: You're right, you're right. Can you take the front and the back, so I can go in the middle?
KRYTEN: I'll do my best, sir.They advance down the corridor cautiously.
KRYTEN, in front, shufflesround to the back, then he and RIMMER sidle around one another. They proceed in this fashion down the corridor, KRYTEN alternately taking point and bringing up the rear, whilst RIMMER looks out for any kind of danger.

Getting Wet

As managers of the Support Team for Greenbelt, Zippie and I are really very lucky. We get to bathe in a lot of reflected glory. Our team do an incredibly good job, mainly (I think) because they have bonded so well. We can rely on them to do what is asked of them, whether it be queues, traffic or security. And then people thank Zippie and me for what has been done. But in reality, once you get over the fact that managing the team is much like juggling water, then we don't do much. And juggling water isn't that hard!

Alone In A Crowd

Surrounded by thousands
Yet able to find
One quiet
A Lifetime
Made of that second
That minute
That hour

Stroking your face

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Looking behind
Flames Rising
And I wonder
If I really should
Have burnt that bridge


32000 houses to be built in the South East. But will it really help. Is the problem a lack of housing? I don't think so. Inappropriate housing built in appropriate places is the problem. But, more importantly, these houses get built without a supporting infrastructure. Houses go up but without new doctors, new schools, decent bus services, or even pubs/restaurants.

We have 70 houses being built behind us. Unlike some of our neighbours I really have no problems with the idea of more houses per se. The ground was waste ground anyway. It wasn't attractive, it didn't improve the scenery. I did go to a planning meeting but I was embarrassed by the NIMBY attitude of some of the people living in this road. But what i don't like is that there are no new facilities being built. There is no where to go out near here, the pub up the hill is rough (to say the least). And new houses without facilities will lead to children playing on the road and all the other things that are bad. Yes build houses, but also build the support network that is needed.

Head Up

It should be pointed out however that the artists had strong competition. For one ops meeting it was not a singer who came to entertain us but a meerkat. There was a zoo on site as well as a farm (this is probably the first Greenbelt in over 15 years when I have not been called on for my veterinary knowledge). And someone thought it would be good to have a meerkat brought along for us to see. And to clamber on peoples shoulders.
So for Greenbelters who saw people with radios suddenly all face the sun, stand on anything that would get them higher, and put their hands just under their chins you now know that someone had called a "Meerkat moment" over channel. Oh we know how to have a good time!

Heaven In Ordinary

The theme for Greenbelt this year was "Heaven in Ordinary". I still think it a strange theme, but at least I managed to experience something that lived up to it.

Working as a Steward Manager and part of ops is fun, enjoyable and also sometimes weird. Certainly Greenbelt is very different for the small group of us involved at this level. And it can be very difficult to get to see things. There is now a policy that we should pick at least one thing and make sure we get to it. I failed to see Billy Bragg, who had been my choice, but I also feel that this is a bit fake anyway, setting a "target". I can enjoy Greenbelt without seeing a particular act because, to me, Greenbelt is about meeting with my friends and it is their friendship and us all working together that gives me strength and hope for the year ahead. The fact that a group of people from all kinds of walks of life can give of their time (Greenbelt is almost entirely run by volunteers) and work together to put on a festival for 17000-odd people constantly amazes me and it is wonderful to be part of that.

But, and this is the "Heaven in Ordinary" part, we are also lucky, indeed blessed in ops. Because we have an ops meeting just after lunch every day. And for the last couple of years one of the acts has come in and sung a couple of songs for us. This year we had Iain Archer on one day and Martyn Joseph on another, two singers who were top of my list to hear. I think it is reasonable to describe the ops meetings as "ordinary" (although a lot of the topics that arise aren't) and having a private gig for the 20-30 of us is certainly heaven.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


OK, first things first, whoever you are admit it. I want to know.

I go to Greenbelt to look after the site and make sure everyone is safe, no-one has anything stolen. Then, when I am not looking, some tea-leaf steals three days off me. It's true. I went on Wednesday, I am now back home so it must be Tuesday. There is no way that there have been 5 days in between. So someone must have stolen them off me.

Although, I have an alternative explanation. When I went to Greenbelt the weather ahd been horrible. It is now also overcast. In addition it was the August bank holiday so it must have rained. Yet I now have a tan that I didn't have a week ago. Yes, there really is only one plausible explanation when you examine the facts. I must have been abducted by aliens.

{For those of you still somewhat confused this was a very long winded way of saying Greenbelt flew past in a blink}

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Death Of The Bookworm

There are obviously different levels of sad. And this is sad in the same way as the country being taken over by hooligans etc. But it is still sad to see that one in four people didn't read a book last year. Admittedly that is in America, but I doubt the UK is much different. This is going to be a poor reading year for me because I have to learn a lot of lines as Master of the Lodge, but even so I will have read 6 books this year. Most years I probably read around 20 books, give or take a few. Almost every room in our house has books in it, I can't iagine a world without books.
Reading is so essential. It opens our eyes to other people and their emotions. It shows us different worlds. It lets our imagination go places that we will never be able to see in real life. Reading teaches us, let's us explore, it pushes our preconceptions and helps us realise that there is more. I really do feel sad for those who never pick up a book.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Ambulance Chasers

It amazes me that people get paid for some of the studies that get reported. So the longer your ambulance ride the more likely you are to die. And that is supposed to be surprising is it? Like black cats are more likely to be run over at night.

Monday, August 20, 2007

High Woods

Where the police have failed a group of cubs succeeded. These cubs defeated a drug ring by finding £23k of heroine stashed away in the woods.

I am still trying to work oout which badge this makes them eligible for? "Wood Sniffer" perhaps, "Nosey", "Far out"

I Should Have Guessed

They couldn't even wait. Oh no. It started before I even got there. Some people are already at Greenbelt. Some of us are still working (those of you who are bright can maybe see where this is going). There I am in a meeting this morning. Suddenly my phone rings. Always annoying but I have a few things on at the moment and need the mobile. So I answer. To hear "moooooo..........mooooooooo................mooooooooooo".

But I have 48 hours to plot my revenge.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

What World Is THis?

No jokes, nothing funny to say. This is just very depressing. The police are here to protect us. A mob of 100-odd hooligans attack a police station because an illegal rave was stopped. I have nothing against illegal raves, let everyone have fun. But there is no excuse for attacking the police.

Moo Oink - Oh No

To fully understand why the entries for Friday 17th and Saturday 18th August worry me so much you have to appreciate my experiences at Greenbelt. Don't get me wrong, I am very happy to be a vet, and I am very happy to be involved with Greenbelt. But the two have a habit of colliding in spectacular manner. I have been asked to treat numerous pigeons (and one crow). I was called when someones rabbit was attacked by a fox (and I am still struggling with the concept of taking a rabbit to a festival). I have been asked to examine a cat found on a balcony (bit of a mystery, food and water in bowls, one cat on the fourth floor balcony, no owner). I have had to treat a goat kid, but thankfully not the camel (I have actually helped a camel give birth before now but not at Greenbelt, that's another story). And I receive the radio calls when a pig was spotted wandering around the camp-site (to which, I admit, it gave me great pleasure to be able to respond "I know"). I was also called when someone discovered a wasps nest, conversation going something like -

Control: "Merlin, we have a report of a wasps nest"
Me: "And why exactly are you telling me?"
Control: "You're a vet"
Me "OK, so I will take their pulse but I need someone to help hold the wings open"

I think the sarcasm was lost.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Not Chocolat, Carrots

A greek priest is accused of cutting the brake cables on a car and then later blowing it up. The reason being that he wrongly suspected the grocer of being his wifes illicit lover. Ignoring the fact that this could well be a novel by Joanne Harris there is something even more striking. And that is the response by the Greek Orthodox Church. Rather than condemning the priest, instead they have gone on record as saying what a shame it is that priests have so many problems getting a wife!
I believe in God, and as a believer it consistently amazes me that Christianity is so good at repeatedly shooting itself in the foot (or, in this case, stepping on a Molotov cocktail).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Got To Go

So the Conservatives have announced plans for cutting red tape. Which is all well and good. But what about those poor people who make red tape. There's going to be a lot of redundancies at the factory.

Scary (But Whose Fault)

I was listening to "Thought for the Day" this morning. Not my favourite bit of radio I admit, but it was that or practice my lines for the 2nd degree. Anyway the speaker (Annie somebody?) was commenting on the mystery of Madelaine. And she said that her 4 year old doesn't like to be left alone since Madelaine went missing. And my thought. Well to be honest I thought "what on earth have you done to get a 4 year old that worried". The news really shouldn't be that big an issue for a 4 year old. For one to not even like being left in bed at night then somebody must have been piling it on a bit, because a 4 year old won't have learnt it from the TV.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

High Flyers

Congratulations to all those who got straight "A"s. But are the exams getting easier or are the pupils getting brighter? In fact I don't think that matters too much. What matters is that the exams definitely need to be recalibrated. With one in four getting top grades the distinction has been lost. What the universities and employers need to know is who are the real top performers. With no distinction it is impossible to tell. Everyone is the same. The more students getting the top grade then the less value the marks, even if they indicate a rise in the intelligence level (which I struggle to believe). And it is the students who suffer. Today they may be celebrating, but when they discover that the value of that piece of paper has been undermined then they will not be so pleased.


Your every step
Moving deeper
Drawing in
Drawn in
Away from this

And here
My vampires and werewolves roam
Vampires and werewolves
While your unicorn
Lies bleeding
Red against ivory white
Where no lion stands to roar
No hero has strength
To take a timid step

And your hands may be bound
Maybe cruelly
I'll grant you
But your feet have been free
To chose a path
The path

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Up Up Up And Away

A night to myself was never going to be one of high culture. For my birthday I bought a Wii. Tonight was always going to be one of spending a lot of time playing. One of the games I had bought was Blazing Angels. I hadn't had a chance to try it before tonight. You take the role of a WW2 pilot. And after an hour or so I can honestly say that I bring a new level of incompetance to the whole concept.

Silence (Except For Loud Music)

This is going to be a weird night. "A" and "J" away. House to myself. I haven't had a house to myself for, oooooo, I don't know how long.

Monday, August 13, 2007


More and more I think there are some really warped people out there. And they are getting worse. I don't mean the paedophiles and the like, I actually doubt they are on the increase, I just think that they are more talked about because of the power of the media. I am talking more about the people who are basically thugs, who indulge in mindless acts of violence or damage. Those who saw fit to urinate in the bowsers supplied for the people without water in Gloucester. Those who saw fit to poison one of the most beautiful birds in this country. Those who see fit to stick chewing gum on the local slides and then wedge razor blades in them to catch the children playing.
Why? Ten years ago you lefties would have been blaming Maggie. But she has gone. Labour have been in power for long enough. And it is getting worse. Our civilisation, our culture, our community is disintegrating.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Doo Doo Dah

OK, I have to admit it. All in all it took a bit longer than I expected. What am I talking about? Converting all my old albums onto the computer. 6 months since I bought the turntable to do the job. And I have finally finished. I thought it would take a month. My old computer didn't help, sometimes it just couldn't cope with the pressure. But even allowing for that, this was definitely a long haul. Worth while though. I now have more than 8 days worth of music stored on the computer. Just hope I don't get a hard drive failure!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


Today was a weird day. Definitely weird. I have been so used to constantly being on the go. I am working 11 hour days at least. Even on holiday I was driving us everywhere and constantly doing things. And today we did nothing. I mean, don't get me wrong, most of the afternoon was in the kitchen baking shortbread biscuits and making a cake as a friend is coming for lunch tomorrow, but I really did "nothing". And boy did I need it. The only problem being that a day doing nothing is not a 5 year olds idea of fun.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Cider House Rules

I often think people trying to break records have too much time on their hands and should find something better to do. But this takes the biscuit:

Bobbing for ApplesSunday, May 13, 2007 - A model poses inside a pool of 20,000 apples at a hotel in Port Dickson, Malaysia, during an attempt to break the Malaysian record for "most number of apples used in a spa therapy."

Why? I mean, just why? I am working 11 hour days and someone else is having photos taken of them in a spa full of apples. Something wrong somewhere.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Added Flavour

You may have seen the HSBC advert which shows goats grazing in trees. I am sure many think that this is simply computer generated. However I would like to inform you that this is real. In Morocco goats really do climb Argan trees in order to eat the fruit and the leaves. What looks like a fake is in fact real.

The story gets more interesting though. The Argan tree is well known in Morocco for its nut which produces woderful oil, similar to olive oil. The goats eat the fruit, which is digested, but the nut passes through and out the other end. Where it is collected by the farmers, broken into kernels which are then used to produce the oil and, think of this and what it has gone through to get to this point, a thick paste used as a dip for bread at breakfast.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Bottoms Up

"A" became a Rainbow recently. They have to make a promise, which is all about being good. Yesterday I went to to a meeting where I was speaking (bear with me, this will make sense). It all seemed to go well. I was very pleased with myself. Finally I got back to my room. I then discovered the sticker that "A" had been given when she became a Rainbow. I discovered it had been stuck on the seat of my trousers all evening, when I was supposed to be professional, a label on the seat of my trousers which read "I Kept My Promise"

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Chin Chin

This is excellent. If you want a civilised cup of tea then make your way to Brighton. A tea shop that has decided to introduce guidance on etiquette when drinking. In fact "introduced guidance" is too mild, these are strict rules and if you don't stick to them then you will be expected to leave. I can fully understand why mobile phones should be banned (and rather like the idea that someone was so desperate to use his that he banged his head on the table trying to hide the phone when the proprietor walked in). I can also see that a lot of cups being clinked can be irritating so care on stirring has to be essential.
However I have to admit that I am rather partial to a dunked biscuit so I would have some problems and may well risk being evicted.

Gritted Teeth

For those of you who know me you will realise that not talking about what is, probably, the biggest current news story is driving me to distraction. But all in all better for me to keep quiet on this one.

Changing Screams

Let me take your nightmares
Hold them in my hands
Enclose them
Enhold them
Build a wall to mould them
And gradually
Change them
Alter and fold them
And return to you

As Promised

Monday, August 06, 2007

Row Row Row Your Boat

Right, I said I would give more details of our holiday, and I am not one to lie. So canoeing...

On the Thursday afternoon weather reports were very good for the Friday. I decided that a bit more activity would be good. I had picked up a leaflet for Tamar Canoeing. I rang them and they had one space left. As they also thought the weather was going to be better (to be honest it couldn't be worse) we booked a place.

Friday dawned and wasn't as sunny as I hoped. But we were committed (or should have been) so we set off to Morwelham Quay, the meeting point. We arrived there and it seemed fairly obvious that at some point it would rain. But we are hardy sorts and decided to rough it (stop sniggering in the back row please). After a shakey start - three groups failed to make it to the start and then the bus also failed to make it - we got to the launch point. We were going to be paddling upstream (whose bright idea was that) but the river didn't look as though it was running too quickly.

One by one people got in their canoes. We were one of the last. I got in the front, "A" in the middle and "J" in the back. It seemed a good idea. Once we set off we rapidly realised that having the power in the front, effectively turning the canoe into front wheel dirve, was not the best choice. Control was a bit wayward. OK, honestly, we basically zigged then zagged our way upstream. On top of the steering problems I discovered that "A"s best attempts lead to a paddling style that had the side effect of splashing forward. By the half way point I was soaked. A fairly random approach to direction meant we were near last at this stage. In fact the only couple doing worse than us were the ones who I had expected would be in charge when they first turned up - you know the sort, in the right gear, basically sporty, looking enthusiastic. We gained a place by dint of the fact that one couple couldn't line up with the jetty but basically this was not a proud moment (topped by me almost falling out of the canoe, not an elegant sight)

We got out and had a rest (a few darted into the pub, but not me, our course already looked as though it was influenced by alcohol). Then we got back in for the second leg. Plan B saw "J" in the front and me in the back. Much better control. At the same time "A" decided to change style and this resulted in the splashing coming backwards, ie over me again. This time we managed to stay in the middle of the pack and in fact were almost in the lead at one point when we were stopped to allow the others to catch up, I never regained momentum. On getting to the finish I did not fall out of the canoe when getting out, but a slight miscalculation did see me going ankle deep into the Tamar with my shoes on.

It is worth noting that we had added a comedy element throughout as "A" had made friends with another girl at the beginning. "A" had then decided that she wanted to share her flapjack with "F" at the end. So the others were treated to a running commentary by a 5 year old trying to keep her flapjack dry for the entire proceedings. "A" was also disappointed by her parents not managing to keep up with her friends boat and that disappointment was often made clear to those within earshot..

{Photos to follow later, there seems to be a download problem at the moment}

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Some pics from Legoland.

Did I mention that "A" got a driving licence. Look, that car isn't on tracks, she is steering and driving it. She was (no lie) really disappointed that I wouldn't then let her drive my car home.

Room With A View

Getting completely out of synch and rapidly heading backwards in time to our holiday in Devon, I think our view from the apartment when we were in Dartmouth has to easily compete with other peoples views on their holidays.

Another Thing

You know, if I was either cynical or a conspiracy theorist I may find it interesting that, since coming to power, Brown has had to deal with all the issues that caused Blair the biggest problems - terrorists, flooding, FMD. Almost a choreographed attempt to show he can deal with these things when Blair couldn't.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Gin Gan Gooly

OK, so my leftie friends can tell me I'm wrong, but waht is going on in this world. How come girls can join the Cubs and Scouts but boys can't be in the Brownies or Guides? It was "Scouting for Boys" when first set up but that is now undermined. It isn't that I mind it being mixed but it seems wrong that Scouts is mixed while Guides are not. Equality goes one way.

And, in addition, I saw someone talking about the activities. He said "it obviously sounds stupid and dangerous but we were thinking of building a bridge over a brook until the leader told us not too because it was too dangerous and contravened health and safety". TOO DANGEROUS. That was entirely what cubs and scouts should be about. Building bridges, testing them, testing yourself.

And no fires because they are dangerous, and no meat because it might offend someone........

Bah, humbug, phwooey, stupid b...y health and safety, PR gone mad ..............................

Buddy Can You Spare A Dime

I was talking to "A" about pocket money. I don't know when other children start but I feel it is time she starts trying to put a value on money. So I have told her she can have £1 a week. To which she replied "that's not much" (maybe I don't have to help her learn value after all). I said it was enough. She didn't look convinced and said "how do you know?" I replied well it's£4-5 each month which is about £60 a year. £60 is a lot". Again she hesitated, thought, and finally said "guess so".

Friday, August 03, 2007


We went to Legoland today. I thought it would be a pleasant day wandering around looking at loads of models made from Lego. Oh no. Not with my daughter. Little Miss Adrenalin-junkie. All she wanted to do was go on the rides, the faster the better. Which does mean I can tell you that they have a most excellent log flume. We also went on the "Boating Lesson" ride, where you get to steer the boat. Which "A" insisted on doing. Which would be fair enough if she kept in a straight line. Instead we would veer across from one side to the other and if I tried to help correct our direction I would be sharply reprimanded with "I know what I am doing". And OK, I admit it, under my breath I replied "not the way we keep hitting things, you don't".

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Under Canvas

Greenbelt is rapidly approaching. As one of the biggest UK festivals (around 20k visitors) it is hard to imagine that it is almost entirely organised and run by volunteers. And we all find different ways to cope with the pressure that puts on us. Me, I go for denial, I know I can't fit in everything I have to between now and then so it is easier to pretend it isn't going to be happening. Others try to find different ways.

I started going to Greenbelt 24 years ago. I used to have a tent. About 4 years ago age took the better of me and I hired a caravan. Luxury. But a lot of money to spend for a shower! The hours I work running the Support Team mean that I get little else in the way of benefits from the caravan. And I have felt guilty about how much it cost. This year I am going back to a tent. I bought a new tent, a 4 man job. Tried putting it up in the garden today. When I say tried, the attempt was foiled not because I am no longer capable but because our garden is not big enough. It really is a big tent. I suspect the footprint is the same as the caravan. Slightly worried that if I do put it up then I will end up with squatters.


I am convinced that email is the spawn of the devil. It makes friends argue. It is the birthplace of misunderstanding. People complain about getting too much and then complain about being kept out of the loop when they don't receive it. It doesn't get through when it should. It gets accidentally copied to people it shouldn't. It is used in the hope of saving time but actually devours time because it is constantly replicating. Blink and the in-box is filled. It makes it easy for people to request things without thinking. To delegate anonymously. People on the same corridor will use email rather than pick up a phone or, forbid, walk down to speak face to face.

When the apocalypse comes I am sure one of the horsemen will be replaced by "Email". {Possibly followed by "Blog"}.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


OK, so I am going to get completely out of synch now because I still plan on regaling the rest of the stories from last week. However I am now going to come forward to last night.

Technically I am still on holiday. But there was a meeting in London today that I really needed to attend. So, to keep life simple, I decided on a family trip to London. And we all set off yesterday afternoon. In the morning I had managed to get tickets for the Mary Poppins musical. We got to our hotel about 1500 hrs. Time was already ticking on so we soon set off for Covent Garden. We watched some street entertainers, which I always really enjoy. Then we started walking to the theatre for Mary Poppins. It was going to be a late night so "A" needed to eat. However she kept saying she wasn't hungry. I explaned that we couldn't go to the show if she didn't eat. We offered italian, sandwiches, chinese, everything. But to little avail. I finally had to cave in and offer McFranchise which she happily agreed to (it had been mentioned by accident earlier in the day and I believe was firmly rooted in her mind). I did explain that next time she could starve and I wasn't taking her to a Mc again.

We got to the theatre in time. We were in the Dress Circle (I prefer the stalls but the tickets were sparse). Actually it was quite nice because the Circle bar has a balcony so we could have a drink outside (and with no-one smoking). Then we went in. I was worried that this would go on too long. It was starting at her bed time so it was going to be a long night. About three quarters of the way through the first half "A" did flag a bit and say she was tired but then the music gained momentum again. At the interval "A" wouldn't dream of going so we got to see it all.

The classic moment was when Bert walks up the side of the stage. "A"s mouth dropped. She didn't blink for minutes. She was stunned. Then Bert gets to the top and walks upside down along the top. Even more confounding. Until he stops mid-way. Spot light directly on him. And "A" suddenly says "Oh, ropes". She had spent a long time explaining to me before the show about backstage as she knows all about it from her show so it was good to see that there are still some mysteries.