Ready to go on

Friday, 18 February 2011


Have you ever been to Ilkley? No!? I have. I went today.
This was a company trip, organised by yours reasonably truthful. We met up at Leeds Station at 12.45 (actors on tour always start the day late - I had been up since 9.00 but I still had to rush in the end - and boarded the 12.02 to Ilkley, £4.90 return. Enough with the detail. 
It was a great day, eight of us in all including two small children. Children are good on a trip. They stop people from being too serious and make it impossible for actors to become too obsessed with themselves, a tendency we all share, sadly. Our journey on the train was consequently full of cries of "Look, a cow!" and "Weee, were going through a tunnel". 
Simon Williams (Sam from hereon) turns out to be even more of a clown with children present than I am, and that's saying something. He had bought them little presents and had pockets of balloons that magically appeared in children's pocket and their coat hoods throughout the day. Brilliant!
On arriving in Ilkley we popped in to the Tourist Centre and got a map that showed the direction to the moor and, most importantly, the whereabouts of the famous Cow and Calf Pub, our primary destination. It was a brisk one and a half mile walk up steep hills, mostly with a child on the shoulders, and excused the 2 pints of Timothy Taylors Gold Best and Lancashire Hotpot. I thought I would be driven out of a Yorkshire pub for ordering Lancashire Hotpot but, as with most things in Yorkshire, my choice created no animosity.
Lunch over we headed up the hill to the top of the moor and a traipse through bogs and across rocks. I stepped in to a stream at one point and when we got back to the station Sam disappeared for five minutes and returned with a fresh pair of rather classy socks for me. Sweet man.
Train back to Leeds and a couple of hours spare before we have to do the show.
The phrase, "We are lucky people to be doing this job" was uttered on several occasions. Damn right.
The only downside to days like this is the fact that you would really love to be doing it with your family. But it was fun to be with my new theatrical family and especially their children.
By the by, it was brought home to me today that we are very impatient, we Southerners. When we arrived at the station we asked a bus driver if there was a taxi rank where we could get taxis to take us to the pub. He told is it was a lovely stroll, even with kids and somewhat misty weather. "Or", he said, "You could cathc a bus? There will be one going that way in about 25 minutes. You could go and have a cup of tea and then catch that?". 25 minutes! We didn't even consider the option. Sad really. Then again it left us with the option of walking which was grand. Grand? Ark at me? Reet Northern!

we make our way up the hill to lunch

The Cow and her Calf - the rocks the pub is named after

Lunch is here

Sam demonstrates Angry Birds

The Cow and Calf pub

The Cow & Calf is not what you'd call a 'local'

Edwardian graffitti vandals

Sam shows us his large gap

I've just stepped in a stream

a wet foot

 So that was today. I'm ready to post now that I am back in wifi land. We have since done our evening performance which was fun. Bill delivered a speech during my scene that was mostly gibberish. I resisted the temptation to improvise - it took all my effort to resist. I don't trust myself to keep it up! We shall see? xx


  1. That is wonderful! Thank you for the smile on my face. Encore! Encore! :)

  2. What a treat to read at the end of a particularly grim day. Lovely stuff - thanks Mike!