Sweeps, Live Theatre, cats & mice

I didn’t know that chimney sweeps still existed let alone that there’s one in Ryton. Neither did I consider the possibility that I would ever require their services. Two large falls of soot sending the cats scattering in all directions made us realise that we should take a look in the yellow pages. It sounds glamorous saying you’ve got to have your chimney swept don’t you think? It conjures up a vision of us living in a country seat somewhere. In fact we live in a two up two down but nonetheless I made sure I told everyone why I had to be home for 4pm yesterday, “Because we’ve got the sweep coming you know.” He (or rather they) arrived last night, and in part they lived up to the romantic image in my mind’s eye; mucky faces and sooty clothes. The similarity with Dick Van Dyke ended there unfortunately. I was crestfallen to discover there was no small child in tow to traverse up the flue and emerge at the other end, and none of the traditional brooms and bristles. They didn’t even set foot on the roof let alone sing “Step in Time” up there. In fact they never left the living room, but extracted two sacks of soot with a hoover hose thing. Very nice lads and an efficient job, but I couldn’t help feeling a bit let down.  Ryton Chimney Sweeps 

You will see from earlier links I’ve added that I’ve been having a delightful time blogging for the Live Theatre this month. It’s given me access to rehearsals, made me feel important, and I’ve had the chance to see different plays and sit chewing my pencil. I’d describe the Live as a real community asset. The team working within it are consummate professionals and they provide a platform for creative talent, whether that is acting, writing, directing, or production skills. I’ve had no prior experience of being behind the scenes in a theatre and I’m very grateful to Melanie Rashbrooke of Live who is a director there, for giving me the opportunity. I’m looking forward to being back again this week, and I love the fact that some of the front of house staff know my face now and they remember me. When my stint blogging for Live is over I’ll be going back at least every month. My first assignment to review an actual play was for “Good Timin’” written and performed by Ian McLaughlin. I sat in the audience with my newly purchased notebook. The studious aura I’d wished to exude was somewhat compromised (well ruined actually) by also having to lug a tray of ankitFelix Meaty Chunks around with me.  Just as I’d been about to enter the building I realised that we were down to our last tin and so I had to nip over to Tesco Express. Bloody cats. The thing is though, no one said anything! 

Kind of on the same subject did anyone see that documentary about cats on the telly last week? Scientists attached little GPS trackers and cameras to various felines to monitor where they went and what they did. They shouldn’t have gone to the trouble – they could have just asked me instead. I know what cats do when they leave the house; they go into the hedge and kill things. One owner proudly told the researcher that his cat could catch as many as three mice per week. Heather and I were astounded. Three a week? Our cat Phoebe was a cruelty case living in horrendous circumstances, where she hadn’t even clapped eyes on the sky never mind an English hedgerow. Her life with us now is very different and she’s determined to busy herself with her passion for small game hunting whilst at the same time expressing her gratitude. There were four mice to clear up from the back yard last night; she’d been out for precisely 35 minutes. The mouse population of Greenside must surely be approaching zero. We’ve never had such a prolific killer which poses the problems of what to do with the dead bodies.  As I’ve mentioned before the dustbin men think we’re dabbling in the occult, and the neighbours suspect us of involvement in a weird Halloween ritual. It’s a dilemma. mouse142