Friday, 15 April 2016

Liverpool to Edinburgh and the madness inbetween!  💃

My Week

This blog has turned into a mishmash of three weeks, let me explain what happened. After the Easter break we started up again with a split week performing at the Liverpool Empire and the Edinburgh Playhouse.
So I decided I would write my blog on the four hour train trip Liverpool to Edinburgh. As it turned out my trip was not quite as straightforward as I thought. I hopped on the train in Liverpool and all was well, I had an hour to get to Wigan and so I started to write my blog.
I was very close to finishing the writing part, and I'd started to find the relevant photos etc on my iCloud, however both the phone signal and the wifi were terrible so before reaching Wigan I decided to save everything to my drafts as I usually do and continue once I was on the Edinburgh train in the hope that the connection would be better.
This is where things turn slightly for the worse. I was looking forward to this part of the journey as it meant I could finish my blog, read my book, eat and probably sleep. However as I got to the platform in Wigan I noticed quite a bit of commotion. Lots of people asking the train staff various questions and in return they looked back a little puzzled and slightly helpless, I knew things weren't good. The train to Edinburgh had been cancelled and I would have to get off at Carlisle wait for 1 hr at the station and then get the following train to Edinburgh. Luckily I had left Liverpool in plenty of time so I wasn't worried about being late, I was just frustrated that my journey turned out to be a bit more manic than I had hoped. To make matters a little worse, when I boarded the Carlisle train I thought I'd try carrying on with my blog only to find it was nowhere to be seen !! You can imagine at this point my frustration was growing. I searched high and low in every possible folder on my phone but to no avail. After quite some time of distress I eventually made the executive decision to let it go and leave it for another week. Even if I did try to start again with 4 shows in 3 days I would simply struggle with time. I decide to look at it as a positive, it meant I would have a bit more to write about this time round.

So now I can go back to the Easter break, I had most of the week off apart from the Friday and Saturday where Vincent and flavia I travelled to Dublin to do some PR and Perform on the Ray Darcy show for our week 7th till 11th June at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. We don't often get the chance to perform in Ireland and Dublin is our only venue there on this tour so we hope to see lots of you there.

Because the week off was not a full week off, Jimi and I together with Pablo decided to make the most of our time and go away on a 2 day trip 'doggie friendly' of course. On the Tuesday we drove to a very pleasant oldie worldly hotel called The Powder Mills located just outside of Battle in Hastings. The hotel was set in 3.5 acres of land with its own lake. Luckily the weather was on our side and it was a glorious day so on arrival after a quick bite to eat we decided to explore the lake and beautiful surrounding grounds. As soon as we reached the lake and let Pablo off leash it was like he knew he was on holiday, he flung himself into the lake and decided to swim after 4 ducks who at this point were making a real racket and swimming for their lives. Once he realised he was not a duck and would probably be better off onshore with us he made a swift U turn and climbed back to dry land. During the rest of our walk round the lake the ducks followed us every step of the way, we even tried stopping and going the other was and they still followed, they were obviously protecting their lake from unwanted intruders and slightly nutty dogs.

We were loving the longer days and the signs of Spring, the sun was still shining and we decided to stay out and venture on a 45 min walk into the town of Battle across some beautiful pastures. We eventually got to what is a very pretty historic town with its quaint shops and cafes. We contemplated stopping for a coffee and have a break but by this time the day was getting on so we decided to head back to the hotel so we could all have a well deserved rest before dinner at 8pm.

The next morning we had a half hour drive to Camber Sands and the Gallivant hotel, we'd stayed here in November last year when it was very wet and windy but enjoyed it so much we decided to come back. Our room wasn't ready till 2pm and as we were a little early we decided to continue driving past Camber to the very edge of the map on our sat nav. About half an hour later we arrived in Dugness. I was probably the strangest surroundings we have been in, a little like what I imagine the set of a futuristic film to look like. The vast pebbled coast line was stunning as it was so immense but randomly placed all over the huge area were random looking houses and huts, some ultra modern and well kept next to some that were derelict and deserted. It was a slightly surreal place to be and I can't imagine what it must be like to live there.

After another walk round Dugness we headed back to the Gallivant, checked in and ready for yet another walk on camber sands beach. When the tide is out here it goes back for miles and it's a stunning sight. On top of that there are the most beautiful sand dunes which are such great fun for Pablo and just as much fun for us too. 

Once I returned from our lovely 2 days away I had Thursday to get my things together for the trip to Dublin. Before I knew it I was heading up to Liverpool for our next 5 weeks on tour. I couldn't have asked for a better audience to return to, Liverpool and Edinburgh never dissapoint us they are always so lively and loud just the way we like our audiences to be.
We are currently at the Marlow theatre in Canterbury this week another of my favourite places to visit.

Pablo's World

I just love holiday's, when the next one???

Yes Flavia fell over again ! And as always Me and Jimi were there ready to snap away. It's so much fun watching her trying to get up while we laugh.


Another week, another town another market. This week 'The Last Tango' brings us to Northampton.
I couldn't remember for the life of me whether we'd already performed at the Royal & Derngate theatre with one of our previous shows. I caught the train from London Euston to Northampton on Monday morning, when I got to the train station I decided to walk to the hotel as it was only 12 minutes away.
As I was approaching the hotel I soon remember that I had not only been to Northampton but I'd actually stayed at this particular hotel, after all there are not many places that we've not been to. I also couldn't remember my way to the theatre at all so I used my phone for directions, unfortunately it led me astray, and half an hour later having walked round in a circle several times I finally found the Stage Door, having stopped off for a chicken pie along the way.
Memories came flooding back of us being at this particular theatre with midnight Tango.


I entered the Stage Door, signed In and collected my dressing room key as usual, I was then met by another door leading to the dressing rooms which was covered in photos of various past shows. Take a look at this and see if you can spot us!

On the Tuesday morning I popped into town as I had a parcel to post and other bits and pieces to do.
I came across the market right in the middle of the square, selling mostly fruit and vegetables. It made me think how much more appealing and appetising I find fruit and vegetables when they are presented and laid out in such a lovely fashion. I wanted to buy lots of bowls of various beautifully coloured fruit but instead i came away with just 4 bananas thinking that would be enough to keep me going for a while.

We have obviously now been travelling around the UK for quite some time, and it does make me laugh a little that I come across some of the same buskers everywhere we go? it feels like they are travelling on tour with us following our venues and set themselves up in the various towns and cities for our arrival. Last week in Cardiff I saw the tight rope walking violin playing man who some of you many remember from one of my earlier blogs. This week it's a band that has been to several of the same places as us, I think they are really good, their music always brings a smile to my face and has a lively vibe. So here's a short video of them, and yes, I was trying to look inconspicuous hiding behind a wall !!

Last year we were lucky enough to have a couple of short trips away. One of them was to Barcelona, I had never been to Spain previously and seeing as I'm Italian i have always been fascinated to see how similar these countries actually are. In my head I always imagined them to be very similar in both culture and lifestyle. We had a fantastic time and one of the things I was quite amazed at was how useful my Italian was. I found myself talking to many people on many occasions in Italian, they were able to understand me, reply in Spanish and I could pretty much understand them, It was fascinating. I came away thinking I would make it my challenge the following year to learn Spanish. Not long after we got back I came across an offer online of Rosetta Stone, and before I knew it i had snapped it up. It was only a week or so ago I actually managed to start lesson 1. It's very early days so I'm not sure how well I'll do or how much I will actually learn by the end, at the moment I feel a long way away from being able to have a conversation in Spanish with someone but time will tell. What I found interesting was as I started doing the first lesson on my iPad, with my earphones, using a touch screen to choose the correct answers I had flashbacks of when I was 5yrs old and learning English. It was very odd as I remember very little of that time but one of the things I do recall is being in front of a screen with big ear phones probably bigger than me, and having lots of pictures in front of me which I needed to tap on with a pen. I remember things like 'yellow bananas' and 'blue balloons'. I recall feeling anxious and worried about getting wrong answers as a big red X would appear and sometimes I'd cry. My first words in English were, paper, toilet and drink. I had a lovely teacher who was called Mrs Johnson and remember her taking me out of school and into town to walk around the shops. It's quite strange the things we choose to remember and the things we blank out. Unfortunately I have no memory of how it all came together, I only recall the initial struggle and then being able to speak quite easily. I'm so lucky that at home i continued to speak Italian with my family as it would have been such a shame to loose my first language. I'll keep you posted on my Spanish progress..

Our busy month of birthdays is over till next year, on Sunday it was Jimi's turn and we had a lovely walk with Pablo by the river and a very nice meal at one of our favourite Italian restaurants in Guildford called Positano. It was a delicious meal once again, up until Jimi decided that the sweetners for the coffee were actually mints and ate several of them in one go !!! I must say this was after a very nice bottle of wine. Looking at the expression on his face and for quite some time afterwards I would definitely not recommend trying that. It took a long while for us to stop laughing, the poor taxi driver must have thought we'd had 3 bottles of wine rather than 1..

I was missing Pablo terribly this week, but managed to get a cuddle with 2 friends, meet Merlin a 4 month old puppy, he could fit in my handbag and no one would know.

And Reily, who works with Bernie Keith everyday at BBC Radio Northampton. I've always had a soft spot for miniature Schnauzers.

Pablo's World

So excited this week, I've been on holiday at Dog Trouble. I love it there, get to see all my friends and go on bike rides, walks, we play fetch and they've even got a swimming pool for us. It's brilliant!! Looking forward to next week too as Flavia and Jimi have a week off and they are taking me to the beach so I can get covered in sand and run around all I like. Yipeeeee I'm so lucky.

Not long ago Flavia was choosing some costumes for a show and she asked me for some help, I couldn't choose between the yellow or peach !!


Then she was sewing and doing all sorts of things, by the end I was absolutely exhausted and had a good snooze, accidentally on one of her costumes.. Oops !