Sunday, 25 April 2010


I honestly don't know what's got into me. I really am normally pretty steady on my pins - but in the last few days, a skittle has nothing on me. Perhaps I've got a little overexcited about my falling abilities onstage, and am subconsciously practising...

Two glorious incidents stand out.

In the first, well as background I'd been desperate to visit my convalescent father, and had finally managed to negotiate a bit of unsold-soul time with the theatre (not as easy as it may sound). Three days before it was due to take off, the flight was cancelled due to the fallout from the Icelandic volcanic ash. I tried my damnedest to find an alternative, including cycling to the station to ask about train possibilities (couldn't be done online; and yes, thank you, they did laugh at me). No dice.

I was offered options involving rebooking or a refund but was basically too dispirited to do anything... thank goodness! Because in the end, my flight was reinstated (no, of course they didn't send an e-mail or anything, I had to cynically check their website for what might just have slithered off their "cancelled" list...) I must say I don't recommend the subsequent scramble an hour before one is due at the theatre for a performance. Still, jolly good warm-up, all that panic!

Anyway, I sang and then met up with a good friend for a much-needed natter. By the time I got home it was after half past twelve, and the bus for the airport leaves from outside the station at three thirty a.m. Of course with my flight having been cancelled, I hadn't even fished a suitcase out, so those hours were spent packing, organising, sending messages, writing a thank-you note to my lovely neighbours for the book they'd left outside my door as a present for my parents... I could sleep, I thought, on the bus. Or waiting for the flight. Or on the flight itself.
None of which actually happened. So I wandered blearily through Stansted airport in the early hours, dealt with car-hire paperwork, and bought a restorative coffee before going to collect the car keys from the portacabin in the airport car park. Having done so, I headed out to the car - only to have the cabin door snap shut on my long skirt, meaning that as I moved forward off the step, I fell forwards like a log.
I was quite proud of the fact that my coffee remained upright and only a few drops leaped out. I was however rather embarrassed that those few drops which did escape landed on the shoes of a passing pilot... He was terribly nice and asked if I were OK, but I was laughing too hard to answer properly. He must have thought he was helping a madwoman to her feet!
My second pratfall came as I crept downstairs in my parents' house early the next morning. My mother worries about me padding around barefoot, and so to please her I had donned the pair of flimsy hotel-type slippers she'd left in my room. Only for them to live up to their name as I negotiated the staircase. As my feet went from underneath me, I had time to think, gosh, this is going to hurt, but I can't yowl because I know my father, niece and nephew will still be asleep.
I have a glorious, multicoloured bruise from that escapade, a slightly strained shoulder and wrist from the previous one, and a rather disgruntled ego. However I can testify to the restorative powers of lawn mowing in the sunshine, good Nuits-Saint-Georges and time spent with my parents. I am now back after an all-too-short break (how lucky I am that this was not literal!) and looking forward to throwing myself back into the rough-and-tumble of the stage.

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