Friday, 3 October 2014

Rushden Party in the Park

 Helen and Charlie in their playsuits - neither of which burst during the show, unlike mine!

The week after our long road trip of the North of England, we had our closest show of the season.  We were due to perform at Rushden Party in the Park and as it was only about forty miles away, and we weren't performing until the afternoon, we decided to travel that morning rather than the night before. Unfortunately during the week Imie had been rushed to hospital with suspected appendicitis (although she had the appendix removed it turned out to be a case of E coli - much nastier!  She's fine now though, phew!!), so it was a last minute call to Charlie who was thankfully available.  So in the morning we set off with the lorry crammed full; Tinker, Casper, Monty, Helen, Charlie and myself.  It was such a gorgeous hot sunny day that there was no need to set the tent up, just the stables which we did in no time.  As usual, we asked if we were able to turn the horses out into the arena whilst we set up.  The organisers were quite sceptical, and one lady seem convinced the horses would jump out!  I assured her they absolutely wouldn't - the grass was so lush and the arena very large, there was no way they were going anywhere!  It was also fenced with metal barriers, and as neither of mine have ever been taught to jump I knew they'd never attempt it.  She wasn't convinced though and I had to promise my insurance was in place and that I took full responsibility for any 'mishap'.  Needless to say they barely lifted their heads and just ate the entire time they were in there!

The arena itself was a tricky one.  It was on quite a slope and must have been ridge and furrow historically.  As such I knew it was going to make for a difficult time vaulting.  I wasn't wrong and as soon as I went in on Casper it felt like we were on a roller coaster!  I managed the first freestyle with no problems, until the very end.  I did a big flank off and as I pushed off from the roller I heard a rip and felt my costume give way - eeek!  I was wearing the stripey playsuit which has a halterneck.  The halter neck strap had torn from the top of the playsuit on the left side, leaving the whole of my costume precariously positioned with nothing to hold it all up!!  I motioned to Helen that something was wrong, so she talked and talked until I managed to sort something out.  What to do though?!  My mind was racing - we've safety pins in the lorry but Charlie won't know where and pins are painful to vault in.  I couldn't cover it with the cardigan as there still wouldn't be a way to hold the playsuit up.  Then I realised what to do.  I ripped a hole in the top of the costume, poked the strap through and tied a knot in it.  Not ideal as the halter neck was now so tight it not only hurt but was under more strain so may give out on the other side.  Fingers crossed it would be ok though!  I hate costume malfunctions, but it's only the second time it has ever happened, the first time being at Castle Howard last year when the zip on my dress burst!

On with the show!  Next was Casper's dance which he did beautifully.  However, he was an absolute monkey in the games section, and kept doing laps of honour on his own whilst bucking and farting - much to the crowds amusement!  Not mine though, as each time I would have to sprint around the arena to fetch him from wherever he ended up - not ideal on a boiling hot day in a big arena with a precarious costume!  Helen was to do her freestyle next, and given that she'd fallen off the previous two attempts she was pretty nervous.  But she stayed on!  First time ever in a show!!  I was so pleased for her, and the audience gave her a massive round of applause.  Still, however happy she was, I know she was very happy to give Casper back to me and take the microphone back!  I wasn't looking forward to the last freestyle because of my costume, but thankfully it held.  And chatting to people afterwards it would seem nobody even noticed - phew, got away with that one then!!

Tinker put in a near perfect show, as ever (what on earth I would do without him I don't know!), although even he struggled with the arena a bit.  However, I don't think we found the arena as difficult as the motorbike display team that were also performing.  They had to adjust all their ramps, take offs and landings.  Nothing any of us could do about it though other than get on with it!  To be fair the arena was on the flattest part of the whole park, it's just a very wonky old ground which you notice more upside down on a cantering horse or flying over ramps on motorbikes!  We had a great day, although it felt very odd to have the whole thing done and dusted in less than ten hours - it's usually at least twenty-four or more!  Everyone was really friendly and looked after us well, the crowds were brilliant and the weather was amazing - what more can you ask for?!

I didn't get any photos of the day unfortunately other than one of Helen and Charlie and a very sweet one of Monty, both at the top of this post.  Next up is Kings Bromley Show which I'm very much looking forward to as some friends are also there with their act, Big and Little, which I haven't seen before.  I'll let you know how we got on soon!

Love Rosie x

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