Spodding my life away.... spodding my life away...
Although if you could see the house you'd know it is by far far cleaner than it was this morning. Cleaning the house wasn't high on my to-do list, but being told at 9.30 this morning that the landlady was coming to pick up her post this afternoon spurred me into action. At least I now feel less guilty about the months I've spent having exams / being on holiday while the rest of my housemates coped without me.
Apart from that, I've moped wistfully. VOLES was wonderful. (I'm sure this post will eventually go on about it lots)
Where was I last? I got home from Moles BBQ, and had a wonderful evening in with M.
Anyway, then it was Monday, and I was off to Wales for VOLES. The nice thing about being in a car is you don't have to worry about packing light, even given this I managed to nearly forget my sleeping bag and inflatable carrymat, and I'd made it as far as Toms before realising I had no plates, cultery, or indeed costume. We sorted that out, but I wouldn't discover my lack of drinking vessels until I made it to Wales...
...which was a Very Long Way. Although the M6 toll road was very shiney, the A5 err, wasn't. And the Welsh B roads lack something, for starters the line down the middle of them... Learning to drive in Cambridge doesn't really set you up to be great at hill starts. But we made it there eventually...
I'm sure any VOLES reading this won't be surprised to learn I'm having difficulty matching the evenings with the days. I can remember what we did every day, and I can remember the different evenings, but I'm having great trouble putting the two together. I was kind of hoping someone else would chronical VOLES first so I could copy, but no. So if it strikes anyone as desultory, or just plain wrong, let me know...
Monday night was pasta, and campfires. Tuesday morning there was a readthrough / rehersal, followed by a trip to the seaside! Except the usual LES organisation had brought us to a small town where there wasn't a beach, but a harbour. The fact that there are a great group of people from Oxford and Cambridge is what makes VOLES, but as both societies get larger the cat herding problems grow exponentially. Eventually after walking round the coast we came to the most perfect cove ever found - sunny, sandy, with rocks to scramble on and blue sea... and I swam in the sea, splashing and floating and playing and lazing, and climbed on the rocks, and explored the crack between the rocks, which was beautiful, with mussels and seaweed and the most perfect view, across the rushing current to the mountains and the sky, and played hopscoach, and helped with the sand castle, and ran across the very squelchy sand up to my calfs, before flopping down and starting a huge mud-sand fight with Paul and David, and then swam back warm and tired, to share a script with Tom for another readthrough, on the top of the rocks with sunny Wales all around us. Then there was fish and chips looking across the esturary.
Anyway, then we went home on another bus (someone phoned up the campsite to compliment us all on how good we were on busses - giving up seats to old people and saying thank you etc) to build another fire and have fun. I have a feeling this was the night that I got Very Drunk TM, and blame it on the fact that I was skint and so only ate chips, when everyone else had a good lining of fish to coat their stomach. Oh, and the toasts. I should have remembered not to drink too much during the toasts. Ah well. It was great - there were marshmallows, (and would have been baked potatoes if we'd remembered to take them out the fire before 1) and singing, and some very random Danish people. I think the evening is summed up best by my quote to the Danish people (about M...) "He's a vet. Err, a vetinary surgeon. Err, that's an Animal Doctor. Shit, am I being patronising?" Eventually I was escorted back to my tent by Matthew (no, not mine, he was in Cambridge still, there's another one from Oxford)
Wednesday would have been a perfect day for walking, except Ruth had the very valid point that we hadn't done anything but block so far and our first show was tomorrow. So instead it was the perfect day for hanging around the campsite (and singing "Birthday" far far too many times). Breakfast took over the entire morning, and Cath spent the early afternoon rehersing the fighters, which looked so good when she'd finished. The rest of us learnt lines, sewed costumes, and played Happy Families (literally, not just as in we all got on.) I even found some time to look over some of M's papers (well, a 1/3 of one of M's papers. It's a start) Eventually we had a run through.
Then Ben wanted to go to the Pub, to celebrate his great age, and although I'm not greatly enamoured of pubs (I prefer cheaper drink in places where only my friends can see me) I don't mind them, so we all trooped off to the pub. Later there was more campfire and drinking and Danish people, although less, as I knew we had a show the next day.
We woke up, and failed to reherse as the drizzle had set in. There was the usual running round making sure I had my costume, and then I realised that as noone else had directions, it might be a good idea to phone the home and ask for some. Turns out it was a very good idea, as the home wasn't expecting us at all. A rather confused conversation ensued "Hi, we're the LES, can you give us directions?" "Err, *who* are you?" "We're the people bringing you the play this afternoon" "Err, what play?" "Err, can I speak to your boss?" "I'm the manager of the home, I'm sitting next to the diary" "oh." Anyway, I managed to persuade them they wanted a play anyway, and got off the phone at 11.30 to try and explain the rather complicated directions to the people who were trying to catch the 11.40 bus. It would have been easier to catch the bus than use the car, or at least to follow it - the home in "Blandau Ffestiniog" was about three miles out of town, and so I drove round in circles, looking for a cemetry, a church, and a town square. You'd be amazed how many of those there are. Anyway, we found them in the end (in a pub next to the home, unsurprisingly!) and we went off to do the show...
...which was great. Ok, Phil didn't know his lines, but he had great stage presence (even if Sir Garwain bore a surprising resemblence to Peter Pan at times :-) ) and amused the old folks. And Tom didn't know his lines, which ment the scenes between the two of them lacked, err, something (mainly content) but the plot staggered out in the end, and the green knight costume was hilarious enough to overcome any problems. It was such a lovely script! "I come bearing the green branch of friendship!" "True, but you also come bearing a mighty axe!" and it all hung together quite nicely. The old folks were old folks, but nice ones, and the woman Ben (as Sir Lancelot du Lac) was seducing asked him not to stop! The same woman (who was the daughter of one of the residents) came up to us after the show to congratulate us on having done "such a difficult performance". I went off on my spiel about how we always did old folks homes and special needs schools and were quite used to it, and they'd all been quite lovely, to which she replied "yes, but what with them all speaking welsh" *DOH!!!* Ah well, it now makes one of the best stories of my life :-/
Then I dashed off, still in costume to pick up Rhi (Oh, Joy!) from the station, dashed back to rescue my shoes from the old people, and after failing to find cream teas (they were some combination of closed and unable to cater for 20 people) found ourselves in a pub again. A combination of beer, marker pen, and Cat, Gill and me finally drilled Phil's lines into him, and we amused ourselves composing the 5 P's of light entertainment (punning, pedantry, prompting, "purity", "practising", procrastinating and Gin are the ones I remember, but I don't know what actually made the short list) Then Ruth and I went on a mild tour of potential venues for a public performance, none of which quite came off in the end, but it was good to potter up and down the winding Welsh roads getting to know her better.
Eventually the Voles drifted back to the campsite and faff was generated, wood collected, fire produced, and a very cool new round taught by Chris. By the end of the week we nearly had it working too! Here it is for my own record:
End of the Line:
The girl that I * love
Has given me the * shove
She says I am too * low for her *** station
She says poor men are * fools
Over rich men she * drools
So it's rob a bank or * take up the * pools
Oh I can't sleep life goes on and on
I've started taking Mogadon
Oh love's a sickness doctors can't ** treat
Where does she go? Where does she live?
Her place of work to me she wouldn't ever give
and now I find I miss the love she takes but won't deliver.
Which if you're as clever as Tom (or have it explained to you like me) you'll see sings out "Liver Pools Treat Station" as the last line when you get the whole round going. Probably worked better for the G&S soc. than for us, but was great fun. Eventually Ruth stopped us singing long enough to have a somewhat unfocussed run through, and there was another evening of drunken merriment round the campfire. If a little oppressed by the fact we had a 10am performance the next day :-/
So once again we headed off to Port Madoc on the Number 1 bus, to find another old peoples home, with more welsh old people. In a rather strange set up the lesser old people were being made to watch from the corridor through a glass window, which unsurprisingly didn't help them hear, but given I doubt we were speaking their native language it didn't make much difference. The show was going great, it had bounce and energy and the lines were much slicker than they were before... until I was rescued by Sir Lancelot, who was so bowled over by the charm of the lovely Lady Lyoness that he immediately forgot his Quest, and indeed his lines. In true LES style Ben swiftly found an in character cover-up... and promptly tried to snog me in front of 20 old people and the whole of VOLES! *blush* It was very amusing... maybe I shouldn't have been so swift to point him back on his quest!
Then we drifted round town, aquiring Really Nice Things To Eat (fresh squeezed apple juice, welsh blue cheese, good bread, houmous, roule, pate, etc etc...) and some Rhubarb Wine, which, err, shouldn't have been included on the list of nice things. Back to the trains! to take over a carriage of a steam train of the ffestiniog railway, and there was much picnicing and chattering away. The views were great, the company was good, the food was good, the Rhubarb wine was, err, present (and a source of much merriment), and I was quite cheery by the time we'd ridden up the line and back. To stop, the train, in cases of emergancy...
The evil splitter group (that's me) and other people with no interest in rather naff circuses (circi?) went for a pleasent walk back off the worlds cutist private platform (which the owner somewhat understandably wanted to keep private!) down into the valley by a mountain stream, and back along the top of a dyke. Twas sunny, and good, and I walked along talking to Matthew and Duncan and trying to pretend to Elizabeth I know about beer. Eventually we got to the pub, and I phoned my M to tell him all the great things that had been going on, and went back to camp (via dashing all the way back to Port Madoc in the car to go shopping)
And that was it, my last night on VOLES *sniffle*. So, obviously, faced with a drive to Manchester at 12 the next day (and the sure knowledge I'd wake up as soon as it got light) the best thing to do is to stay up until 4am? Right? It was a great night, there was Bayleys, and Snapps, and far too many nice sweet things to drink, and singing, and the psychiatrists game had poor Phil confused for far far too long (but all kudos to Rosie who just sat there quietly until she'd worked it out) but was very funny. Then there was a game of I Have Never and eventually to bed, and then the next morning to wake up and say goodbye... :'(
Bits that I've forgotten? Somewhere in all the campfires it became the done thing to find the largest logs known to man - we had six men logs by Thursday, and were up to whole trees by friday night... Oh, and we are finally not Varsity-Oxbridge Light Entertainment Society (which was getting a bit daft given we have TCLES, FULES and ALES) and have decided on "Vacation Of Light Entertainment Societies", which is exactly what it is, and cunningly allows us to keep the same acronym.