Thursday 13 April 2017

A Thousand Painful Deaths

The fridge as a danger zone - on the left, embargoed 'posh'
paté. On the right the coarse stuff. Fill your boots.
"In the fridge is a glass bowl of finely sieved paté", advised the Lady of the House as she took off for yet another play rehearsal. "Touch that and you will die a thousand painful deaths. Next to that is a china dish containing the 'coarse' one you prefer. Knock yourself out!" This kind of food embargo will be very familiar to most Irish people who have seen all the joke cliché stuff about Irish Mammies keeping the 'good biscuits' for the guests and woe betide any children with 'sticky' fingers who might try to snaffle one. In England we had "FHB" (Family hold back) of course and we all remember being told that if you cut the cake at Grandma's then you choose your slice last.

All the spring time stages of larch - new tufts of needles (green;
larch is deciduous despite being a conifer), female flowers called
"Larch Roses" (pink) and the tiny drab brown male flowers. The
'cones' will form around the fertilized 'rose' flowers. 
Yep. We are looking down the barrel of a mad succession of house guest events and stop-overs. Not long recovered from our visits by Sparks and Kim, followed by our new artist friend (Brian John Spencer) with Senator Frank Feighan and local hero Tom C, and then my outbound trip to the UK, we have lined up three more sets in quick succession and a fourth at longer range. This weekend we have 'the children', cousin Danielle with fiancé Dan, plus Danielle's brother Jake and a possible 4th cousin, Dubliner Keith. They are closely followed by some nights hosting Mum-in-Law (Steak Lady) and she in turn is hotly pursued by UK friends Mazy-Lou and Airy Fox.

Play posters
It will all keep us busy preparing food etc and then doing all the blitz and laundry in between guests when we are already in the thick of the run up to the play. Most of these guests will get involved in the play by default (unless they want to sit here and wait for us!); with the first group coming to see the Dress Rehearsal.

My trailer becomes a 72 seater! Myself and
Director Tom C bring the stacking chairs round
from the school building. 
Director Tom C likes to let a few 'audience' members in for this to give his actors a taster of what to expect. Many actors are novices and take a while to learn the comedy timing thing of stopping talking after a good 'joke' while the audience laughter dies down. These audience members are friends, supports and family members who cannot get away on the actual nights to watch the real thing.

6 stacks 12 high. Roped down well but we still
"take it steady" on the short road journey
It is great fun to see the nervous actors suddenly realise that they are laugh-out-loud funny and that they might actually enjoy performing this play for the village. They get a real boost to their self confidence and the whole show starts to lift and buzz. Of course, it is also their first chance to do it in the costumes which makes them all feel like PROPER actors and Tom can nail down all his techie stuff - sound effects and lighting cues.

Birthday cards with a *significant* number
on them
Somewhere in the middle of all this mad malarkey, of course, I will quietly turn 60. Obviously, with all the play stuff going on, we can't do any of the usual birthday stuff, so it has all been a bit postponed and anyway, I asked for "no fuss" so it'd be my own fault if everybody lets it quietly slide by. I will find out tomorrow and over the next few days, I guess. My prediction is that I won't "get away with it" completely.

Delight for Liz at these first ever lilac flower buds - these
bushes seem to have been keeping us waiting for several
Other than that, not a whole lot is going on - there's no time left for one thing! I have been out to get straw ready for the arrival soon of some non-human guests, our piglets. One of the young ducks has started to quack like a drake so we no longer think we got lucky with a 3/3 female batch. For those who don't know drakes and ducks 'quack' quite differently. It'd be hard to describe phonetically, but a drake tends to do a 'squelch' a bit like if a person tries to make Donald Duck noises just using his cheeks, teeth and tongue ( kind of 'week week week', if you like) with no use of the throat or vocal chords. The females do the real "whack whack whack" hard syllable like a person saying "Quack" with their voice and throat. There's a bit of a guttural grunt in there. Now you know.

There. Next time you take the kiddies to feed the ducks at the local pond... you take a listen and watch who is doing what noise.

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