"She lives the poetry she cannot write" – Wilde
Fourpenny Circus is going down an absolute storm, with very lively gigs at Tattenhall and (a sell-out again) Great Budworth. The latter was splendidly set up by the village people (not the Village People) with circus posters, props and other jolly trantlements.
After so long planning and rehearsing, the moment of truth comes only when the show hits the road and a live audience can respond to it. They laughed, they cried, they made that little ‘ah, how true’ noise that poetry audiences make. We were elated. So many people said the magic words – ‘I wouldn’t normally go to a poetry event but I will now.…’ That’s what we came for, folks.
Back in Nantwich at my current mooring, a nice man promises to repack my stern gland. This is not an offer one gets every day, and I accept gratefully. In fact, if I don’t push off in a week or so I’ll go native. The Shropshire Union is deep and wide and beautiful, and heaving with moorings. Now that Tinker is out and about in her fine new livery I catch admiring glances (for the boat) and one chap says ‘great name’. My witch flag is flying, and on long light evenings with little company I even do the jobs – scrubbing gunnels, cleaning windows, fixing latches – which I usually avoid.
So it is only with my bottom lip sticking out that I leave the boat on a safe mooring and head to St Ives, for a weekend of walks and workshops with the Poetry School.
The weather was surprisingly dry – as was the weekend’s programme. However, I had taken the precaution of bringing friends Derek and Dolly, Anne Atkinson and Angi Holden so it turned into an orgy of writing and drinking (not in that order).
The summer is filling up with gigs – Larmer Tree Festival, a slot on stage at Ledbury where usually I am in the back room, and a short set at the Big Chill as part of the My Place or Yours crew. Which is nice. But the main project remains Fourpenny Circus – which now takes a short break and returns in June at the Brindley Centre, Runcorn and the Bluecoat, Liverpool. Book now to avoid disappointment. Meanwhile, it’s back to the beach….