Saturday, 27 July 2013

Byfleet Parish Day and Hampsthwaite Feast

The team at Byfleet Parish Day

Friday afternoon found us heading out on the road again, this time southwards!  We were on our way to Byfleet Parish Day, where we were due to perform our double act show.  As well as Helen, Tinker, Casper and myself, we had a new girl join us for the weekend called Courtney.  Poor Courtney was being thrown in at the deep end, as she had never even seen one of our shows before, so to do the double act straight off was a big ask!  We were planning on talking through the show a few times once we were set up and settled, but that plan went out the window as soon as we arrived!

Having finally found the (very small!) gate onto the recreation ground, there was unfortunately nobody there to meet us.  We then found out that the gate was padlocked, so we couldn't get in.  As we'd been travelling for about six and a half hours we dropped the ramp and got the boys off, much to the dismay of some local residents - I doubt they'd seen horses unload in the middle of the road before!  Luckily there was a pedestrian entrance onto the field, so Helen and Courtney took the horses in whilst I waited with the lorry.  It was quite comical really, as although many of the committee members turned up, the one person with the key couldn't be found.  In the end they ended up cutting the padlock to open the gate, so after nearly an hour I managed to join the horses!

That was the only mishap for the weekend though.  We had a really good rehearsal in the morning, and we ran through with Courtney what she'd be doing in the show.  I had a little vault on Tinker, just to ensure he didn't anticipate any dismounts - I didn't want a repeat of Crosby Carnival!  I also vaulted on Casper, ran through both their dances and played all Casper's games with him as well as practising his rear.  Both of them were very very keen for the tricks, and I'm pretty sure it was down to the fact that I had a good selection of apples as opposed to the carrots I normally use - sometimes it helps to work part time in a Greengrocers!  My favourite part of the practise was the Roman riding - especially the jumping where I definitely got some height, as you can see in the photo below!

I was slightly nervous about the show given how naughty Casper had been the week before, but I needn't have worried.  Both the boys were absolutely superb, and it was definitely our best double act to date!  We had loads of fun, the only slightly difficult thing was that Helen and I only had one mic between the two of us.  Bit of a challenge, especially as it was a head mic, but Helen managed to race towards me every time it was my turn to talk, so other than a few pregnant pauses the show was almost perfect!

Next stop was Hampsthwaite Feast back up in Yorkshire, so having packed up and said our goodbyes to Byfleet it was back up the M1 for us.  It was quite a drive and we didn't get to Hampsthwaite until about 11pm.  Luckily the organiser, Geoff, was there to meet us, and showed us the (thankfully open!) gate into the field.  However, there were to be problems with this gate too, as the angle it was on was tight and there was only a very small space to try and manoeuvre the lorry through it.  The lorry is just over ten meters long and is quite wide as well, so getting through small gates in the dark at the end of a long day is no small feat!  We managed it relatively easily though, and our aim of being all set up and in bed by midnight was only missed by about five minutes.  Needless to say we all slept like logs, and it wasn't until everybody arrived on site in the morning and started putting up stalls and arenas and such like that we woke up!

We didn't have much space for warm up, so I was slightly concerned that Casper hadn't been able to have his bucks and farts.  I needn't have worried though, as he did his best show to date!  He was absolutely perfect, doing all his dancing, games and tricks beautifully, and was a pleasure to vault on - what a change from last weekend!  Tinker was also lovely, and even managed not to stop at any inappropriate times - no tumbles for me!  I was so happy with  how the displays went, they were possibly my favourite of the season so far.

It's funny how things happen in pairs though, not only had we had trouble with the gates at the entrance to both sites over the weekend but at Hampsthwaite, just as at Byfleet, once again Helen and I only had one mic between the two of us.  We managed again though, and even did a couple of microphone baton changes with me cantering past and handing the mic to Helen as I went!  It was a good job we'd had some practise the day before with just the one mic!

We didn't manage to get any photos from Hampsthwaite unfortunately, but you can see a few from Byfleet here.  Next weekend we're going to be at Tunstall Carnival on Sunday, so I'll let you know how we get on!

Love Rosie x

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