A remote-control parrot

It’s not often I get to talk about a remote-control parrot, so it seemed a good title for this week’s blog. The parrot featured heavily in the week’s activities…

…which started as usual on Monday with lots of prep and write-ups, together with a long phone call from my eccentric aunt. On Tuesday I was back at the school in Oxford. Gosh, it was hard work. I feel really sorry for the kids who just want to learn and have fun. A couple of the kids are totally disengaged, and they have a strong influence on a handful of others; together, they cause so much disruption that it’s really difficult to get anything done. And a lot of them are lacking in resilience, and get upset or sulk or rise to the bait if one of the others tries to wind them up. Anyway, we did manage to get some things done, but it wasn’t easy.

In the evening I went with the bloke to see Paul; this was a little slow starting, but was great fun when it got going. I can see myself quoting some lines from it for a while to come.

Wednesday was more preps and write-ups, and some drive clearing and gravel-spreading. I’m now nearly at the end of second bag of gravel – nearly two tons spread – and it’s looking good, although the bit of drive I’m working on at the moment is covered in weeds and dead leaves so needs a lot of preparation.

In the evening we had the final rehearsal for the TADS production. This has not been an easy production, and I still find myself trying to calm down some heated emotions. But the rehearsal went well.

On Thursday I was helping to run a course in Birmingham for library staff. They were an excellent bunch, very positive and full of good ideas, and they made it a really good day. Friday was good too, with the first meeting of the new phase of Poetry on Loan; almost everybody had come to the meeting with ideas about what they wanted to do, and we will soon be off to a flying start. Hooray!

But the evenings – ah, the evenings were taken up with treading the boards. Not that I was acting, but I stage-managed two of the three short plays that TADS presented in The Roses Theatre in Tewkesbury. It’s a lovely theatre to work in, and we are very lucky to have it still. The audiences were small – 37 the first night, 80 the second, 23 for the Saturday matinee, but 125 for the Saturday evening; people must have told their friends that it was all worth seeing. The casts did brilliantly, putting on excellent shows every time, and getting better and better throughout the short run. I still think the best thing was the parrot, though. The Bloke, who has some amazing skills, had made a remote-control parrot, and in two of the scenes in Treasure Island he sat on a platform and flapped his wings and moved his head and opened his beak. He was amazing and everyone loved him.

And of course on Sunday, after all this thespian activity, everything seemed a bit flat. Ah well. Today I will check on the availability of rehearsal rooms, and in a few weeks we’ll start rehearsing Terry Doyle, my next one-act play.

But I am feeling a bit low. I need to book a holiday, I think, so I have something definite to look forward to. Meanwhile, the parrot is sitting in The Bloke’s house, saying nothing.

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