Hugely enjoyable day today at the National Botanic Garden of Wales helping to entertain some of the four hundred or so Brownies, Guides and Rangers who will be camping out there tonight. My role in the day was telling stories – traditional tales and legends to the Brownies and ghost stories (at their request) to the older girls. It just so happens that Principality House, where the more senior guides will be sleeping, is horribly haunted. So it was only fair to let them know about some of the spooks said to inhabit the building. I do hope they manage to sleep well after that!! Anyway, many congratulations to all the organisers who did a terrific job pulling the whole day together. Why the photo of the Garden’s scarily realistic Black Bull? Sorry but child protection issues meant I couldn’t show pictures of the girls.
Huge congratulations to Jake and Pippa for receiving the enormous honour of having a dressing room named after them. Leicester’s Curve theatre say: As part of our on-going work to ensure our building is as friendly and welcoming to both audiences and artists we are refurbishing our dressing rooms. We have named each one after the wonderful writers who have inspired our audience and have had their work presented at Curve. My boy! So proud!!
Nice to get a mention in The Independent newspaper, and on their website, for the Creepy Carmarthen tour in the past couple of days. When they rang me up saying they were doing a feature on the UK’s more unusual walking tours I thought they were tapping me up to buy advertising space. So it came as a very pleasant surprise to be told the tour had been recommended to them for inclusion and they just wanted to check the details. It’s only a brief listing and they mention the tour “guides” (there’s just litle old me) but even so it is lovely to be recognised by the i.
Let’s face it – January is the bleakest month of the year. So we are doing our best to bring a bit of light into the darkness by offering a ten per cent discount to players of our time Machine escape room to kick off the New Year. Between now and February all players have to do is to enter the codeword “Timeslip” when they make their booking to earn their winter bonus. Free admission to the castle gardens and grounds are included in the price (great for a walk on a frosty morning) plus entry to the Welsh Owl Garden. Sadly Maria’s cafe is closed until the February half-term holiday but you can still get a delicious cup of coffee or hot chocolate (warmly recommended by me!) from the most marvellous machine in the castle shop.
A busy week this week helping to sort out plans for this year’s Llandeilo Literary Festival. We are still a couple of weeks away from revealing the programme so I’ve got to keep my mouth tight shut for a while longer but it promises to be the usual eclectic mix of contributors plus the prospect of using a couple of venues new to the festival which will help us reach out to even more literature lovers in the Carmarthenshire area. More details of the programme to come somewhere around mid-February.
If you are a fan of Netflix “Black Mirror” series then you are going to love a new production coming the Ffwrnes Theatre this month. The Other Room theatre company are bringing their three plays titled The Violence Series to Llanelli, staged over three days in the intimate setting of the studio theatre. American Nightmare, The Story and Hela explore the darker side of humanity and the themes that divide us. The series is set in a dystopian world that is familiar and yet on fire – and the sets look amazing! With only a handful of seats available for each performance the shows are likely to sell out fast. You can find out more at www.theatrausirgar.co.uk.
Ah, ghost stories! And this is just the right time of the year for telling them. Lovely night at Newton House telling terrifying tales in front of a blazing log fire in the cafe. But I nearly croaked!! Not that I was quite near death’s door but I clearly picked up a nasty bug which laid me low and gave me a really horrible sore throat. I was genuinely afraid that I might lose my voice (it was touch and go) but thanks to ibroprufen, salt water gargles and Vocalzone I made it through to the end but performing with a raging temperature, wobbly legs and muggy head meant that the audience didn’t quite get the delivery I had rehearsed. Luckily no one seemed to notice and one lady – clearly a fan – came up at the end and said how much she enjoyed the show. She had seen several of my performances including Strange Tales. “You’re my hero,” she said, which made my night!!
I hope you have had the most amazing Christmas this year. But now that the big day is over those long, long holidays just stretch into the new year. So what to do when you’ve had your fill of computer games and endless repeats on TV? Why not give Picton Castle’s “Time Machine” escape room a go? Perfect for adults and older children with the added bonus of free entry to the Welsh Owl Garden and the castle’s grounds and gardens to blow away the cobwebs. Book now to gaurantee your place at mansionofmystery.com.
We are now into the last few days of our 2019 Magical Family Christmas event at Picton Castle in Pembrokeshire. This is the third year that we have run the event and by far and away the most successful thanks to our new on-line booking system. It is so brilliant to be part of the Xmas experience for so many youngsters from this corner of Wales who just love the fantasy world we have created for them full of elves and pixies, snow and reindeer, and the most wonderful Santa Claus. Oh, and me, of course, as the Toymaker performing dozens of magic shows for the families who visit.
Whoops – there has been the most enormous gap since I last posted. It is not that I have had nothing to report, in fact quite the opposite, but I just got out of the habit. So my blog has missed out on the opening of the Mansion of Mystery escape rooms, Halloween events at Picton Castle and Newton House, our amazing Magical Family Christmas experience and much, much more. It’s not quite 2020 yet but my new resolution is to keep all of this up-to-date.