Saturday, 28 November 2015

The Victorian Festival of Christmas 2

victorian festival of christmas portsmouth dockyardOK, so I was deep in the land of Nod and had to be roused, but by 0745 I was ready to party.
I partook of a light breakfast only, knowing that I would porg myself on toast at the dockyard. The girls had promised to bring in sweeties and high-calorie delights for my team of hard-working street urchins so I grabbed a box of Jaffa cakes and hugged Jof and we sped along empty roads and I was at the theatre for 0850, looking forward to a top day of acting, eating and carousing with the prostitutes, with whom I have an understanding.
We dressed up in our thermals (believe me, very important to protect the peanuts against the chill wind of 1862) and had our faces painted but not in the same colours as the whores.
A band of Suffragettes asked for the vote and they had placards with one word on each, so if they lined up it said Free Votes For All Women. But they always lined up wrongly and said All Women For Free which sent out the wrong message. They were suffering in the wind, I say end suffrage for women.
victorian festival of christmas historic dockyard portsmouthChild A was bad again, and poked me in the back with his chimney-sweeping brush all the way to the dockyard and was generally a hyperactive ADHD pain in the butt for everyone. I have a problem with this because I am trying to get in character but my inner personality is not the one to put my fist through his mug although that is what he deserved.
Before one performance Bud and Jof turned up and I had a big cuddle and that sorted it out for me as Child A and his Dad got a big talk from the Sweeper-leader and he was taken away.
We did dances and songs and played games and after each performance we had to go round the grateful audience and shake hands and say happy christmas and people seemed to like that. It was very cold and the snow-blowing machines kept producing tickly snow all day.
street artists victorian festival of christmas portsmouth historic dockyard
I met my Scout helper-lady and we were not the only performance artists there. Other well-known 19th century cosplayers were:
2 angels on segways with hunting-trumpets and built-in loudspeakers, Scrooge in a bath-chair with his own microphone, extra teeth and cheeky interactions, assorted beggars, convicts with ball and chain, old crones with 3 teeth between them and an astonishing array of bubonic plague boils, Prince Albert (the actual Prince, not the body jewellery), a Judge in session who basically found everyone guilty of trumped-up charges including the green Santa of being too jolly, some thin-red-line soldiers in take-the-pith helmets, Queen Victoria, some sailors, some flower-sellers, a Peeler (early Policeman) on stilts and many others. There was a standing rule of the show in that whatever you were doing and whatever character you were playing, if you bumped into Queen Victoria (who toured and paraded throughout, and was played by our wardrobe mistress) you had to stop and bow down.
portsmouth harbour naval ships
Attractions included sausage or burger or ostrich meat stalls, fudge, candy and cheese outlets, handbag or ornament or vintage signpost emporia, liqueur or cider or chip vendors, a maze made of christmas trees, chilli chutney or dried fruit or wooden reindeer purveyors, an inflatable pub, an opportunity to write your name on a grain of rice and have it encased in an item of jewellery, a carousel, Morris dancers and some chimney sweeps, who were the stars of the event.
It kept raining so we did the hopping-in-and-out routine because our normal pitch in front of the christmas tree display was very exposed and I got paid fourpence in real actual money, my first actual earnings from the craft, just you wait until I'm being paid $20 million per movie, I'll treasure those four pennies.
christmas festival chimney sweeps performanceI was a little tired but we got the bus home and laughed so much everyone else on the bus was jealous and I had a bath with a very blue bath fizzer, and sang throughout.
Also purchased during the event was a wooden box called lobsters, some fudge, a christmas tree decoration with my name on, a pencil sharpener, some Kashmiri chutney and some cheese.

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