We went to the theatre this week to see a musical, a big West End production of the Wizard of Oz. It was great.
I wasn’t the one who booked the tickets, so I didn’t see the list of performers until we were standing outside the theatre, where I could see all the famous names lit up across the big screens on the front of the theatre.
Just look at this all star cast!
I recognised almost all of them straight away, as I bet you did too.
Jason Manford is a stand-up comic who has carved out a successful musical theatre career. His voice is amazing!
Ashley Banjo made his name as part of dance troupe Diversity on Britain’s Got Talent.
Georgina Onuorah is a rising star of the West End, having transferred to this production from a run in Oklahoma! and before that Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella.
Dianne Pilkington has been in one show after another since the late 90s and is a real star of the stage. I last saw her in a production of the 39 Steps at the Criterion.
Louis Gaunt makes his breakthrough performance here, having previously appeared in Bridgerton and The Larkins.
Christina Bianco as you already know has the most amazing voice, so I was thrilled to see her on the cast list.
There’s another bloke listed up there as well but I can’t recall seeing his name anywhere before. Maybe he’s new or something? Anyway, I don’t remember seeing him in the show.
After a week lying about and not doing much in the Lake District, we had to come back and face the reality of everything once again. This happened on Friday and after catching up on chores and putting some food back into the fridge I decided to go back over to Vikki’s house so we could collectively bury our heads in the sand together and pretend Monday wasn’t coming our way.
We opted for a local walk nearby rather than driving somewhere. About ten minutes in we were going past a secondary school when we noticed the shape of an animal shuffling in the distance. At first it looked like a cat but it was too big for that. It was a dog. A car turned around at the end of the street and then drove back in our direction. Once this distraction was out the way the dog looked at us, gave a friendly bark and started lolloping towards us.
What do you do with what appears to be a stray dog? I didn’t know and neither did Vikki so I looked up some websites and they advised to contact the Council. The Council, yeah, the ones that don’t operate on a weekend because they’re closed. They claimed to have a 24 hour line to call but I couldn’t find a number to call. With nothing left to do we gently coaxed the dog to come back with us so we could formulate a plan.
The dog was very domesticated and seemed quite old. She would follow and stop at the side of the road when necessary. She was naturally curious as all dogs are but not to the degree where she would run off to the nearest interesting smell or run into someone’s garden to take a pee. Walking a dog without a lead is risky. Walking an unknown dog without a lead is madness and not something I would recommend to anyone.
After some food, water and a bath, Eloise, a name I gave her, seemed a lot happier. We tried taking her round to Vikki’s parent’s house because they have a bigger garden however they were going away that afternoon so her mum put some photos up on FacePlace in the hope of finding the owner through the local dog pages (see, “locco doggo paggo”). There was nothing much else we could do so I said my goodbyes and headed on my way. As I got in my car I noticed a truck that didn’t look like it belonged to any of the neighbours and saw the man heading round to the front. As I drove past, Vikki’s door was open and the man was talking to her. I knew what was happening so quickly parked and went over.
It would appear as though Eva, for ’twas her real name, a mere thirteen years old, had managed to uncharacteristically escape from the garden and got a bit lost. Their house was down the road from where we had found her. The owner was very pleased to know she was okay after seeing the pictures Vikki’s mum had posted and rushing over as soon as they found out. Eva said goodbye and thus ended the dogventure.
That tingle of anticipation that courses through your body when something is going to happen. Modern life hasn’t given us a lot to be excited about (yes I would like to pay more for my weekly food shop, yes I do love it when trains I’m about to get on are cancelled for no apparent reason, it’s probably for the best there’s a shortage of ‘X’ because I was enjoying it far too much and needed a bit of a break) so you have to grab hold of these moments whenever you can and cling them to your bosom.
Sometimes it doesn’t even take that much to be excited. For me, it was three words in an email and I was sent into a wide-eyed frenzy of sorts. “Lord Winklebottom Investigates” said the email, “coming soon”. That technically is five words but I wasn’t focusing on the last two so much. ‘Lord Winklebottom Investigates’. Beautiful. Simple.
It’s so ridiculous and so ‘me’ that I had to know more. It is a 1920’s murder mystery, point and click adventure (inspired by Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie) featuring a dashing giraffe detective. It has full English voice acting (with everyone probably sounding posher than a Duke with an afternoon tea set shoved up his backside) and an original 1920’s inspired soundtrack. Given that I have an anthropomorphic badger tattooed on my left arm it’s not too surprising that this has tickled my fancy. I have also played a game called ‘Chicken Police’. I am not an adult.
It is already out and available digitally on Steam, PS4, X-Box 1 and Switch so you can all play this now if you wanted to, however I am waiting for the physical version to come out so I can proudly display the game for all to see, possibly next to ‘Chicken Police’. I want Lord Winklebottom on my shelf so people know just how ridiculous one person can be although deep down I expect they are already aware of this.
Last night I stopped off at the station on the way home for a sandwich. I get home late when I’m doing a day shift at work so a quick butty on the train is perfect.
Anyway, I selected my butty and went to the counter. The nice lady rang it up on the till, and then gestured to a stack of gingerbread men all piled up on the countertop. “Would you like one of these, free of charge?” she asked.
Why, yes I bloody would, thank you very much. I would love one of these free of charge.
I cannot help noticing that this gingerbread windfall comes almost three years to the day since my last free gingerbread incident. It cannot be a concidence. I am looking forward to my next free gingerbread man, which I expect to be offered in late March 2026. I’ll put a picture here when it happens.
Surprises, eh? Lovely stuff. They come in all shapes and sizes from a fist in the mouth to a great big cake shaped like Vince Vaughan. What you do for your surprise is up to you, or not as the case may be. If you want a specific surprise you have to be very direct to the person you want the surprise to be… ach, I’m not making much sense. It’s too early for thinking.
When I returned from work earlier on this week I was greeted with a mysterious parcel through my letterbox. I knew three things:
The item was thin (the packaging was super floppy)
The item was from Amazon.
I hadn’t ordered anything recently from Amazon.
I was completely surprised then to know that I was now in the possession of ‘Bedtime for the Burpee Bears’ by thoroughly nice person but also walking charisma vacuum Joe Wicks. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet but as I am about to go on holiday it would make sense to take it with me as a bit of light reading on the plane or in the hotel room. It’s an epic, 12 or 13 pages long, with additional exercise and recipe ideas which are, “perfect for sharing.” If anybody needs these things you know where to find me.
The mystery therefore stems from the question of whom would send me such a thing, who would be generous enough to send such a beautiful thing, and only two groups of people come to mind: my brother and my mischievous nieces, who are the most likely candidates, and Kevin and wor Ted.
I guess we’ll never know. I’m off to make a sunshine smoothie to wash down the banana pancakes.