Wednesday, 12 August 2009


Sadly we are now on the last page of the summer tour schedule. The Coal House wasn’t flooded this year but the rain did it’s best to raise the level of the Severn and so we had a cramped but enjoyable show in the bar. Then two of the village halls that have remained with us over the years and now have a sizeable following. At Bishampton we went outdoors for the first time in a while and at Randwick we were in the packed village hall. We had many nice comments and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. Including us. After that the Haw Bridge, which was cancelled two years ago because it was under water and a van job last year because of the high water levels. This year it was a perfect evening and we performed in the garden to a packed and appreciative house.
With so many easy shows you can sometimes get complacent but Grimley was a wake up call to what pub theatre can be all about. The Camp House at Grimley is an independent republic where scrumpy is god and misrules his subjects with an iron will. It started with a group of teenage lads jumping off our boat into the water having medicated themselves heavily with the amber liquid and some other less legal additives. When I suggested to one that although you could swim in the river, it might be better to do it sober, he replied - “Nah..I’m stronger when I’m drunk”. I thought I was in the opening scene of Casualty for a moment.
I went for a walk up the river but got a text from Rachel – “Gang of lads climbing on boat, would you mind coming back”. In all fairness they obliged politely when asked to keep on the jetty.
The sun was baking and the scrumpy was flowing as we set up in the garden for the show. Politely moving picnic benches crammed with drinkers who had little thought of watching a play about the co-operative movement. By the time we started at 8 o’clock, there was a hen party and two large groups of young people enjoying a noisy evening out sharing the garden with us, a crowd of Mikron supporters, numerous extremely sociable turkeys and the ever raucous peacocks. We battled through the show, shouting above the din and finally reached the end of the play to much applause from our supporters, a crowd of abandoned children and the few who had been won over to our cause from the various parties of hedonists who whooped, screamed, argued and laughed around us.
Best ad lib of the tour in my opinion was from George as he was chased across the ‘stage’ by the largest turkey I have ever seen shouting - “Where’s Bernard Matthews when you need him!”. We were kindly helped to reload all our gear by a gentleman with incredibly hairy arms and who insisted in tottering dangerously with our boxes across the unlit jetty elbowing his way through the equally well oiled night fishermen who were by now making a party of it in front of our boat. He then kindly brought us all a drink and firmly lectured George on the perils of drinking bitter. Supporting himself by leaning with both hands on the end of the picnic table where we were sitting he solemnly declared – “A real man will drink beer....(long pause)...but he prefers to drink cider!” It was a discussion that was never concluded.
By contrast our journey up the river Severn the next day was wonderfully beautiful and serene, the sun shone, the kingfishers sped through the shadows with a glint of bright turquoise and the dense woods fringing the river could have been unchanged since time began. I would not have been surprised to see a herd of brontosaurus grazing in the shallows or a Viking long boat appear round the corner.
A couple of long day’s boating on Sunday and Monday and a damp and cold evening at the Fieldhouse Inn at Wightwick. But big thanks to Mike, the landlord for all his help and kindness in ferrying us and our gear up the hill in his pick-up and feeding us with marvellous pig roast.
Now here we are on the Shroppie at last, moored up at Norbury Junction with three potentially great Mikron venues coming up next week – The Anchor, Gnosall and Norbury Junction. I hope the lovely weather we had most of yesterday will return. Above – a picture of the Waterloo sunset from the decks of HMS President and Tyseley moored at the Haw Bridge on the Severn.


  1. Oh dear, 'fraid it's me again. But I loved reading the latest Blog and catching up with all the news and hate the thought of you thinking that you've gone to all that effort with no response. Mikron has helped me feel better at two of the most difficult times of my life and I feel a bit sad that this year's summer tour is reaching its end. I wish I could get to see you again before it's all over...until next year anyway. I loved the image of George with the turkey BTW :-)

  2. Nice description of a raucous venue Adrian :-)
    The things you have to contend with for your art.
    The blog is great read

  3. All sounds like fun, missing it more and more. Great to see you all though. Jill, don't appologise for your comments, great to see people enjoying the blog!