Thursday, 8 October 2009

Don't put Mrs B on the stage Mr Donovan....

It was off to the West End last Friday night to surprise my Big Sister for her birthday. The plan had been to arrive at the theatre around 7pm and ambush her in the bar. Mrs B was coming straight from work while I had the joys of driving into London.

Mrs B made it in good time and 'Tom Tom' predicted my arrival, at my parking place of choice, as 6.30pm (just as the parking meters go off duty, excellent), with a 15 minute walk to the theatre it was looking good for the surprise ambush. A crash on the North Circular - not even a road that I was using, had a knock on effect to the M11, which conspired against me and the time started to ebb away. It was only after 7pm and with some distance still to my destination that I could at last manage to make use of the bus lanes and speed past the occupants of stationary cars, who thankfully doggedly refused to use the bus lanes (even after the lanes have knocked off for the evening and no doubt joined the parking meters who are already sozzled in a nearby bar). This also tells you that I had missed the 7pm meeting time and worse still was looking like missing the start of the play at 7:30pm. As I slewed to a halt in Lincolns Inn Fields I had only 7 minutes to make the 15 minute walk.

It was going to be squeaky bum time as I set off at a brisk pace that would have given Usain Bolt a wake up call. At this point I was regretting bringing "the beast" (Nikon D700 with 70-200 lens) as I had already missed capturing the surprise on my sister's face, it sounded like it was a truly classic moment. Our friend Lisa, who had instigated the whole surprise theatre trip, dragged Big Sis into the crowded theatre bar. Mrs B was sitting at a table with four chairs, a bottle of Champagne on ice and four glasses. (Despite the four glasses, she lost count of the number of times people asked if the seats were taken. "No,no, I'm an alcoholic trying to pretend that I've got friends" ). My sister saw what she thought was a free table and rushed over. Seeing the glasses and champagne she looked through Mrs B and said "Oh, damn someone's sitting here!". "Yes" piped up Mrs B " I'm sitting here". Big Sis turned and said "Sorry" to the, she thought, complete stranger and started to walk away, and then suddenly realising who it was, let out a huge scream of excitement (I guess it's a girly thing...) that deafened half the bar.

While this had been taking place I was now involved in a battle through the streets . I thought the traffic on the road had been bad but every tourist from miles around seemed to converge on my route. I ended up dancing through a herd of large, slow moving ladies, hurding Japanese tourists and politely telling anyone else who swayed, rolled or sauntered in my way that "Sorry, I'm in a bit of a hurry and could you clear the Effing way" I tried to be polite as possible. I would like to think, if filmed, it would have been like watching those street runners - jumping off buildings, diving through doorways, back flipping off walls etc...- sadly I suspect it probably came off as more like the Keystone Cops crossed with Benny Hill. As I dashed through theatre security I explained " Yes it is a big camera but there is no way I would be using it in the theatre....!!!. With seconds to spare I got into the auditorium. I probably could have done without running my rucksack over the heads of the row in front, as I made my way to my seat, especially as I came in from the wrong side and managed to get most of them. Fortunately the show started on time and saved me from a lot of grief, I collapsed in my seat and took huge breaths as I started to recover.

The show was fantastic, 'Priscilla Queen of the Desert' starring Jason Donovan and Mrs B.....Yes you heard me. 20 years after her last appearance on stage, Mrs B made her surprise West End debut. Just after the interval the chorus line flocked down from the stage and dragged (quite an appropriate term considering the contents of the show) willing and un-willing volunteers onto the stage. Mrs B's Protests :-

"No, no, no, oh OK, alright then....Do I need make up?"

were short and unconvincing.

Mrs B (far left) circling
a much bigger role...

I'm afraid I broke my promise to theatre security and whipped out the beast, in an attempt to get a couple of clandestine shots of Mrs B ' s big West End opportunity. I wish I had been a bit more composed but trying to get the beast out of the bag and setting it up, all without being caught by the prowling theatre staff was no easy task..... All too soon Mrs B was ushered back into the audience - no doubt at the insistence of Mr Donovan who was probably petrified that he was going to be upstaged after hearing about Mrs B's impressive track record with the Tadworth Local Amateur Dramatic & Luvvies Society. No one who saw her play third goat from the left in Animal Farm or witnessed her being praised for her excellent Welsh accent whilst performing as a Liverpudlian bus conductress, will forget Mrs B's acting career. Her Statue of Liberty performance still brings tears to the eyes.... certainly to the poor guy who was at the back of the stage and got too close to the torch.....

All those wanting autographs please form an orderly queue, Mrs B will be out shortly......No Sir, she does not sign expandable body parts...... you can go to the back of the queue for suggesting such a thing....

It was not as large as her goat role, but
Mrs B was just easing herself back in slowly

Look at that professional bow, if only the
sod in front hadn't stood up. Clearly West
End audiences aren't as sophisticated as
they used to be... Mrs B claims that he is
giving her a standing ovation. While I think
he was nipping off to the loo

Some photos to keep my non-readers happy
Mrs B was on a shopping adventure on Sunday, with her mum and sister, leaving me to my own devices. As no one was about for a cycle ride I went for a swim (just over a mile in 37 minutes) and then took the beast out to try and capture a flavour of Autumn.... Autumn appears to have gone into hiding for the moment, so please expect Autumn Watch style pictures, without the Autumn or Bill Oddie for that matter...

Sunset Bishop's Stortford style

Recently I've been looking at a Blog with
fantastic pictures of Eagles and what do I
get to work with....this nondescript little
fellow. Any twitchers out there know what it
is....? Yes, yes, I know it's a bird but
what type...?

He did his best to act like
a hunter, but I think he was
just washing his feet....

Not bad for a water run off area
at the end of our development.

"It's time for bed" said Zebedee, "Sod that!"
said Dougal,"I'm enjoying the sunset."

What all the best dressed moons are
wearing this season, a slightly
mottled effect.


  1. Squeaky bum Can I just say I imagine you in your stories wearing your cowboy getup in your profile picture. So there you are in your cowboy getup wading through a group of japanese tourists. Mrs. B must be embarassed taking you into public places in that costume all the time.

  2. Nikki did you ever get a children’s TV character called Mr Benn in the States. Each week he would go to a fancy dress shop, owned by the rather imaginatively names "The Shopkeeper". He would go into the changing room, put on a costume and suddenly find himself in the middle of an adventure. I bring this up because, fashion god I might not be, I do have more than one set of clothes. By all means think of me as a cowboy, if that is your thing but once you tire of my cowboy persona feel free to mentally dress me* as a pirate, army officer, fireman or whatever. The possibilities are endless and just think you can replay each of my adventures with a different costume. Just think you will no longer be held back by my poor writing skills as your imagination runs wild. I will, however, require repeat fees, although you will get a substantial discount for 5 or more costume changes per adventure….. I recently discovered that ‘The Shopkeeper’ was in fact a drug dealer and Mr. Benn’s pimp. As children we never did get to see Mr. Benn dress up as a pole dancer or drag queen but I’m sure that one day the footage of these and the XX rated cuts of his shown adventure will surface….

    * Much better than the alternative. I might be aging well but I’m still aging….

    As for Mrs B she is far too busy dealing with her publicists and fending off the autograph hunters to be embarrassed by little old me….

  3. Mrs. B looks like a natural. I'm sure her role as a goat was inspiring. Also, what's wrong with girly screams? I think I might be guilty of this affliction. Especially after a few drinks... ;)

    I love your photos. That moon is awesome.

  4. First of all, huge kudos to Mrs. B for her sure-to-be-reprized role in the theater...she looks very comfortable up there....

    The bird?
    A Jewish, American-born, vegetarian Seagull!
    An angry, misunderstood, German pelican?
    A curt, no-nonsense, get-the-eff-outta-my-way New York pigeon?

    ....I'm out.

  5. Brooke I can report Mrs B's goat performance was legendary

    Nothing wrong with girly screams, as long as I am at least two streets away...

    Thank you regarding the photo's, having enjoyed the ones on your blog that means a lot...

  6. Kathryn as I write Rodgers and Hammerstein* are working on Mrs B's life story "From BlackLOG to Broadway...."**

    * Unfortunately not 'The' Rodgers and Hammerstein** but a local firm of Estate Agents who are going through bad times....

    ** Ok, the picky amongst you may note that Mrs B has not made it to Broadway. What can I say, how many Estate Agents do you know who are renowned for accuracy....

    A game effort on the bird front and my only online entry. As ever you come up trumps, you were close but sadly no cigar - which is probably good news, as you would only have to clean up afterwards...

    I can report that I happen to run into some bird experts this weekend. One a renowned bird publisher (no not Penguin or Puffin) and the second a BBC producer of Natural History programs. I will announce the correct answer in the next BlackLOG

  7. I'm a newcomer to your blog and loved it. I'm a sucker for pictures, especially good ones. So now you've got me long as you keep taking good pictures. ;)

  8. book*addict welcome and thanks for dropping in, I'm really glad you like the blog and promice. I will try my best to keep you interested and supply a weekly picture fix. So no pressure on me then....If you like pictures I can highly recommed that you drop in on Picture Imperfect....

  9. Way to go Mrs. B! You're Smokin! (Isn't that italicized text clever? Your hubby taught me how to do that) ;o)

    This blog is great! I LOVED the pics in this post - first of all Mrs. B's lovely stage presence and then you KNOW I go for the nature/scenery shots. The reflection shot is great - don't you love playing with clouds and water? Love the seagull also - they are so funny trying to be hunters with their webbed feet, aren't they?

    Looking forward to seeing more - and I hope to hear more about the BBC producer sometime soon!

    PS - THANK YOU for the shoutout there. What a sweetie you are.

  10. Picture Imperfect Hi, good to see you on home turf and thanks for making the trip across the Atlantic. Have a look around, take a few pictures and enjoy yourself and most importantly you are welcome to drop in anytime, I'll leave a key in the door....

    Glad you like the pics, afraid the wild life shots aren't as exciting as yours. All that on your door step, what are you doing here, get out there and take more photo's.

    P.S. glad you are using everything that I've got to such good affect.

  11. Bahahahah! Fireman it is. One would think a fireman might have saved that small dog from the water, but perhaps you were in your cowboy get up at the time. No Mr. Benn for us. Strictly Seasame Street and Care Bears. But I did get plenty of Marsupilami and Tin Tin on our Suisse vacations. Sounds like Scooby Doo is universal.

  12. Nikki in an attempt to get into the spirit of the place I was in full Elizabethan dress. You know how those ruffs go when they get wet, they never dry out properly again (the shop assistant can get very rude if I return damaged goods). It is also an arrest able offence for a man to walk around Stratford, in October in baggie dripping hose. I don’t want to even think about a codpiece full of icy water – especially with a rampant swan on patrol. He was only pretending to be asleep.

    Future costume events, we are going to see a production of Rocky Horror I’m trying to work out if the world is ready for my Frank N Furter or do I wimp out and go as Riff-Raff…..My dilemma as the BlackLOG is a journal of our lives I would be duty bound to publish any photo’s. I’m already losing readership as it is…..

  13. If that's the water run-off in St M's Mead Park then you've made it look massive!!!!

  14. IMO I had to run the hose for about 3 days solid beforehand...


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