Before I tell you all about last weekends fun, I want to tell you about this up and coming weekend. There’s an amazing bunch of drummers I know called The pentacle drummers, and they have a very special place in my heart. I have a disabled nephew who’s ambition when he grows up was to be both me and darth vader. Then one day he was at an event with us and heard the pentacle drummers drumming. 30 odd men and women with drums and attitude, he loved it. he got talking to one of them (don’t worry Adam, I wont embarrass you by naming you), and Adam let him have a go on his drum. Next time we meet them my nephew has his own drum and ends up joining in with one of their sets. Well to cut a long story short, my nephew is now a member of the pentacle drummers and loves it. It’s done his confidence the world of good, his mum a world of good, and believe it or not, but his actually a surprisingly good drummer, who’s ambition now is to be me, performing children’s birthday party entertainment, darth vader and Adam (I kid thee not).
Well this weekend they are holding their yearly summer solstice gig at langney sports club, Priory Lane, Eastbourne, bn23 7qh. There’s camping on site from Friday evening, loads of music, vikings, belly dancers, and lots more happening, including their stone age games! For more info check out their Facebook page here
Anyway, because they’ve looked after my family, so this year we’re headed down there and I’m performing cheap for them. If you’re in the area and wondering how best to celibate the solstice, then you really cant do better than this gig. We went the other year and had a fantastic time.
Cambridge country fair
Enough about next week. Let me tell you all about the brilliant time we had last weekend at the Cambridge country fair. This is one of my favorite gigs. Partly because its one of Oakleigh fairs larger events, with loads of side shows and entertainment happening all the time, but mainly because its close to home, which means that Jester Dragonfly and Co go home at nights, leaving me to my own devices (or should that read vices).
Amongst the many shows that are there are large steam engines, Sue and her unpredictably funny goat show, loads of farm animals, ponies etc,
medieval re-enactors hitting each other on the head with large heavy weapons in a historical and educational manner and of cause DevilStick Peat, Jester Dragonfly and the star of the show, the one and only Stormageddon, performing our Total Immersion show, complete with medieval encampment, circus skills workshop (the jesters school of……well…..jestering) and myself, DevilStick Peat, performing shows and walk about.
I set the tents up early on Friday morning and, as I headed out of town to pick up Stormageddon, so I was impressed to see that other people had taken photos of our bright, red and yellow tents and were already posting them on Facebook. Anyone would think that they’re not used to seeing medieval tents in the city center. After I’d pick up Stormageddon and delivered him safely to Jester Dragonfly I headed back to Cambridge, arriving there around 6 p.m.
So far all was going to plan and I now had around 3-4 hours of sunlight in which to slowly put the finishing touches to our encampment. No problem, or so I thought.
It was just as I started that Steve turned up on site. Steve is 60 something years old and has only ever had one job in his life, making cider. Not just any old cider, but Norfolk’s finest cider, the best I’ve ever tasted. Well I couldn’t let someone old enough to retire set up camp on his own now could I? So as per normal I offered to lend a hand unloading his wagon, and as per normal his reply was “lets not rush things, have a cider first”. 4 or 5 ciders latter he was set up and ready to open in the morning, so it seemed only fair to help him celibate this fact with, yep, you’ve guessed it, another 4 or 5 ciders.
Now the first time I ever met Steve he made an outrageous claim. He said that if I only drunk his cider all night long I wouldn’t wake up with a hangover. Well obviously I just had to put his theory to the test and was somewhat surprised to discover that it was in fact true, but in the name of science I thought that I’d best repeat the experiment, several times over just to be sure, including this weekend.
For some reason I didn’t get to put the finishing touches to the encampment that night, but I did awake Saturday morning with a clear head, beautiful sunshine and the promise of a fun filled weekend ahead of me. What more could a jester ask for? So by the time that Jester Dragonfly and Stormageddon arrived back on site everything was ready and I was enjoying a hearty breakfast before my first show which, as always with Oakleigh fairs, was booked for 10 30 a.m.
Concerning how early it was I was somewhat surprised by the size of my first audience, indeed all weekend long I had large crowds, but that’s Cambridge for you, they know a good deal when they see one, and that’s just what oakleigh fairs are, a good deal for a fair price.
The highlight of the weekend for myself was the mouthy young man of about 10 years old who, all through my linking ring routine, proudly told everyone in a loud voice that one of the rings has a hole in it. So when it came to the part of the routine where I chose a volunteer to find the hole in the two rings that they have just watched me magically link together, of cause I just had to chose him, didn’t I.
Try as he might he just couldn’t find the hole (mainly because there isn’t one). So when I then proceeded to unlink them again in front of his eyes, the look of shock and surprise on his face was not only Pericles and, I suspect, one of the reasons that several parents asked for my card afterwards, but also a real reminder of the reason I feel so privileged and blessed to be allowed to do what I do.
I suspect that the highlight of the weekend from Stormageddon’s perspective was Stan, the bouncy castle man. We’ve known Stan and his crew for a few years now and meet him at several shows throughout the season. Not only does he have some amazing inflatables, but he also allows Stormageddon on them for free. Stan has even been known to put up a large inflatable in the evenings when the public has gone home, just so that my son can play on it. How cool is that, your very own giant slide.
At this event he had amongst his inflatables a large slide that you dragged a rubber ring up (or in Stormageddon’s case, got one of the crew to drag it up for you). Once at the top of the slide you sat in the ring and whizzed down. This proved to be his favorite ride, the trouble was that, after a few goes, the static electricity built up on the ring, so that every time he sat in it his long blonde hair stood up on end, making him look more like an albino hedgehog than a blonde 4 year old child.
The sight of him screaming with delight as he quickly descended the ride, hair standing up like Toya Wilcox’s isn’t just a memory that I’ll treasure for a very long time to come, but also a reminder of just how blessed I am in my friends. Not just because of what they do for me, but also because of what they do for my family.
I don’t even need to ask jester Dragonfly to know what her highlight of the weekend was. As always she smiled most when, on the Sunday afternoon, she and the site manager played her favorite game. It’s called ” always giving the money to her and never to me, not even when I ask for it”. She then went for a stroll around site, buying whatever she’d spotted over the weekend.
She eventually arrived back at our tents with a large, wooden toadstool and a big, satisfied smile and, as I gazed with love upon her beautiful face, smiling that smile that can melt my heart quicker than a blowtorch melts Cheddar cheese, I couldn’t help but smile as I realized just how truly blessed I am to have a wife how, after disappearing with the weeks wages, not only returns with a wooden toadstool as opposed to a mink coat, but does so happily