Jaqui's Daily Blog

A Fairy Tale and a Nightmare Journey

It was All About Shrek.


The trouble is, when you get an idea fixed in your head, you can’t let anything get in the way of it. This thought probably crossed the minds of the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and her fella, Dunk’em Dave, on more than one occasion last Wednesday night. Shall I start at the beginning?


It all started when the Really Rather Wonderful Rosalie, who had been due to look after Mr B while I was away on a Jolly Jaunt for a couple of days, sent me a photo of an ominous-looking Covid test. However hard I squinted at the photograph, however many ways I twisted it round for a better view, there was never any doubt - the test was positive and my trip was very definitely off. My disappointment was off the scale. Not just because I would be missing out on an a couple of days of rest and relaxation but, most importantly, I would be missing out on the main reason for my visit - watching grandson Jack on stage at Basingstoke’s Anvil Theatre in the local Amateur Theatrical Society’s production of “Shrek.” You know the story of Shrek, I’m sure - it’s all about an ogre sent by a Vertically Challenged prince to rescue a princess imprisoned in an ivory tower, aided and abetted by an incessantly talkative donkey and a love-starved dragon. Jack had several parts including one of the Three Little Pigs, a Tapping Rat, and a Burnt Knight. No, I didn’t have the faintest idea what a burnt knight was, nor a tapping rat for that matter - all the more reason for needing to see for myself.


The Youngest of the Darling Daughters had a Cunning Plan to remedy matters. Cinderella, she declared, would go to the ball. She obviously had her fairy tales mixed up, Cinderella being notable for her absence in the Shrek cast list, but she had it all worked out, bless her. She and her fella would drive down on Wednesday morning, then she and I would drive back to Basingstoke (a mere 69 miles), while Dunk’em Dave kept Mr B company. The two of us would see the show, then she would drive me home again after which my two Knights in Shining Armour (no, they aren’t in the cast list either) would take to the road again, heading for home. Taking account of added miles between Basingstoke and home, they would be travelling almost 300 miles in the day.


My Little Sister, when I imparted this news to her, assured me, loyally, that she was sure my Remarkable Rescuers would think I was worth it. It may have seemed so, when they worked out Plan B but I’m not so sure, in hindsight, ‘twould be so…


It was dark and rainy on the drive to Basingstoke and my daughter and I were glad to arrive at the restaurant where we maintained tradition by choosing the same main course from an extensive menu and sharing a totally delicious pudding between us. Twas ever so.


The show was brilliant, like the best of pantomimes where they stick to the story and don’t veer off into episodes of slapstick. We all love the experience of a West End show, don’t we, but there’s nothing quite like the joyful exuberance of an amateur performance where everyone gives up their time in endless rehearsals, in order to revel in the fun of just being on that stage. My Recovering Knee wouldn’t quite allow me to get to my feet to join in the standing ovation at the end but my heart was up there, clapping and swaying along.


So to the journey home. Uplifted by a stage door meeting where I gave Jack a congratulatory hug and was able to get in touch with my Inner Donkey (see photo) the Youngest of the Darling Daughters and I were totally unprepared for what lay ahead. Quite literally - it was impossible, in the dark, to see the floods spreading across the roads until the car was plunged into the middle of them. Time and time again we held our breath as my daughter’s trusty Clio struggled through yet another watery menace. To make matters worse, the A 27 was closed and we were taken on a diversion which, in the initial stages, was completely unmarked. “I don’t even know if we are heading in the right direction!” wailed my daughter. I tried my best to be a supportive passenger but even when we came across a village sign, I was less than useless at identifying whether said villages were actually on our way or taking us out into yet another unknown watery wilderness. 


We made it home, frazzled in brain but safe in body. Thank goodness for that! I tried to persuade the gallant ones to stay the night but they both felt, for different reasons, that they would be best to get home. I was glad to receive their message, in the early hours of the morning, saying they were back, safe and sound, despite another nightmare journey.


Best to concentrate on remembering the reason behind those journeys - it was, All About Shrek. A story where good overcomes evil, where fairy tales come true and, most importantly of all, where beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. 


And where living in a flood-ridden swamp is absolutely the place to be….


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Latest comments

23.04 | 20:15

lovely and heartwarming - an inspiration to us all x

09.03 | 12:07

Love this story told as ever beautifully.x

10.11 | 21:31

What a super account of a special event. I loved meeting you last night and seeing your creation come together. I’m so pleased you got so much from the activity

07.09 | 13:17

I have broad shoulders x

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