Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Drones, Phones and Chaperones

It was with some amusement that I read all about the R&D department at Amazon and their development of a delivery drone.  For those of you who have not had time to catch up on the latest, the idea is that these little flying or travelling robots will deliver small packages with more efficiency than their human counterparts.  I have become quite attached to my Amazon delivery driver – after all, I see him most days leading up to Christmas – and am not sure that I would have the same rapport with a robot (and where would they keep that ridiculous electronic Etcha-Sketch that you attempt to sign with a flourish)? 

However, I can see the opportunities, and in the future can imagine these drones being put to a lot of use – for example, you could have the Home Drone, who picks up the socks off the sofa and deposits them in the washing machine.  The Moan Drone would neatly package up the kids in the morning and drop them off in the school playground without a murmur.  The Bone Drone would of course walk the dog.  And my favourite, the Foam Drone, would run a bath and scrub your back whilst serving up a crisp, cold, glass of Chablis.   However, it seems that there is an awful lot more R &D to do on this and legislation to get over, and frankly I am expecting to see a flying pig before an airborne Amazon Drone.

No flying pigs, but cute little Vietnamese pot bellied pigs and a baby donkey were on show at the school Christmas Fayre this year, courtesy of Millers Ark.  The school had really pulled out all the stops, and on top of the ever popular tombola, where you could win bags of sweets and chocolates, there were some real Grown Up stalls where you could grab Grandma a homemade something, indulge in some wine tasting, buy some tasty cheeses or even an oil painting. The halls were packed, with people trying on vintage clothing, having their nails done, decorating biscuits, drinking mulled wine, or generally mooching about whilst their kids ran up constantly asking for more cash.  

Fairy Bowbells opened proceedings (with Little Man hanging back a little shyly in front of all of his friends who were giggling and pointing), and after a hasty exit into the disabled toilets, re-emerged as Amanda in order to go home without being mobbed by excited little girls.  Glamorous work when you can get it, and was her final appearance in just over 20 school visits – but essential when you are promoting a first time pantomime in a first time venue.  Little Man took off his sparkly Christmas Dick Whittington hat and was soon lost in the crowds, as I chatted to various Mummies on my way round the stalls.  ‘Ooh’, said one, ‘I saw you at the Lights last night’.  This kind of threw me a bit, as it has been so frenetic recently, that one forgets what one has been to, but indeed we had been at a Lights Switch on the night before, which was fairly low key, and at which I had been the Chaperone.  

Highlights of that night had been no means of playing the backing CD (solved by getting a local mum to race back home for her laptop), sitting in a pub round a pool table with 10 kids to warm up before their appearance (and not having a drink…) and the loss of Fairy Bowbells' very important sparkly fairy mobile phone (which she normally tucked into her bra strap).  After flying around in panic for a couple of minutes, she then discovered that it was a costume malfunction rather than a loss of phone, and that it had got lodged in her bodice… all in a day’s work, and I am delighted to say that all kids were accounted for both in and out of the event and so I gave myself a little pat on the back for being such an excellent Chaperone!

The Chaperones meeting took place during rehearsals, where Caz, the Head Chaperone, told us all about our roles on this production, what we would need to wear and where to be.  On some of the shows, the kids have a matter of an hour or so before preparing for the next show, and as they are not allowed to eat in their costumes, they were advised to bring onesies or big t shirts to cover up.   We were told to wear black, and ‘cheap black’ – stuff that could be thrown away at the end of the season as it would be covered in make up, hairspray, maybe even sick.  (You never know with kids…) Little Man and the other Freds (bearing in mind they are the only juvenile boy each show) would have their own changing ‘cupboard’ – and yes, I’m afraid I did make the crack about him coming out of the closet – but would be able to join the girls once they had changed, and would have their own Chaperone. 

And then we sorted out who would cover what technical rehearsals and performances, just as the call came through to collect the kids from rehearsals.   Little Man wandered out – his hair slicked back with gel.  This, I was assured, was how his hair had to be on each performance.  I looked at the girls hair – each child, depending on what role they had (bearing in mind that there is three of each character) had a hairstyle unique to that role.  There was a lot of plaits, and Kirby grips and hairspray going on.  I raised my eyes to heaven and thanked God yet again that mine was a male.

I got a text from G on the way home.
<How did rehearsal go?>  
<Great, on way home> 
<Good stuff.  Cat has eaten frozen chicken.  Assume that was lunch?>

Dear Amazon R&D department, forget the delivery drone, what I need is a Clone Drone…