Sunday, 27 November 2016

Abandon Rope all ye who enter here

portsmouth historic naval dockyard museumHooray! The final day of the Festival of christmas at Ye Olde Dockyard, scourge of nations, iron fist of the Monarch, and place of big guns on ships. So here is a picture looking down the barrel of the forward 6 inch gun on HMS M33 Monitor boat from the first World War: she saw action off Gallipoli and currently this gun is pointed at HMS Victory.
While I enjoy acting and any chance to flaunt my prowess upon the concrete stage, these 10-hour working days are quite knackering and take up the whole weekend.
portsmouth historic naval dockyard museumSo this time I got myself up and made breakfast and got completely ready all on my very own but did get a random bonus cuddle from Jof before I left. I am Actor #1 in 'The Factory Kids' which is a story of harsh working conditions in a rope-making factory employing child labour to achieve its ropey ambitions.
So here is yet another picture of some authentic rope to lend some true hemp fibre to this Land of Rope and Glory, proving that there is indeed a noose loose aboot this hoose (or knot).
Portsmouth historic dockyard festival of christmas actorsWe performed our piece many times, alternating with the Seaweed Song which is an interminable ditty about married life in the over-50s, in the 1850s. During later performances, we had to compete with the Roving Sea Shanty Singers who positioned themselves a little further down the lane and shantied boisterously, so we had to shout even louder to compensate and keep hold of our audiences.
Once they'd gone, we stole their wooden bench and barrel to discourage them from returning.
One of our sidelines is begging. This dubious activity started with me last year holding out my cap and saying how I hadn't eaten in 3 days etc, and gradually we improved, adding new things with advice from the seaweed man, Dudley. In the end, 3 or 4 of us lay on the ground by our hats while Sydney mothered the littlest little beggar and the girls put on their best hungry eyes.
Portsmouth historic dockyard festival of christmas actorsRound the corner on Snowy Street, there was an adult beggar, a down-and-out probably, who lies there asking for a handout with his pewter tankard of mead and his begging bowl. Calls himself destitute, but I notice he can afford the latest model iBowl, not like us poor paupers. By the end of the 3-day run, we had jointly amassed (definitely a team effort) a massive £30.94 and one Eurocent, which we ditched. Not bad for some deadbeat Victorian waifs!
Anyway, we did our set piece (just under 5 minutes long) like true professionals and maybe next year we'll get onto the wooden stage next to the Undertaker or the Judge. Got home tired but happy, what a funny way to spend your weekend. Was yours any better? Sang myself to sleep with a medley of Silent Night, What shall we do with the Drunken Sailor and other Cockney hits of the 1880s.

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