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Forging Ahead

Updated: May 16

Bookings that go into my diary often seem to be an age away... and then, suddenly, they are upon me. Having been hired at the beginning of the year to perform at the famous Forge Mill Needle Museum in Redditch, Worcestershire, for their annual 1940s Weekend, today seemed to come around in no time at all (worrying, that!) - and just after 7.00am on this particular Sunday, Dave driving as always, we were on the motorway and heading down to the West Midlands. Early starts are a regular part of this job, but necessary, and a little over two hours later we had arrived at Forge Mill.

Another part of being a singer and entertainer is seeing yourself online, and on posters and leaflets. Occasionally, I find myself, literally larger than life, on banners advertising an event. All the same, it still takes me by surprise to see myself in this way. On the nearby traffic roundabout was a large banner advertising the Forge Mill event, so Dave did a double circuit of the roundabout while I reached for my phone to grab a picture!

The Forge Mill Needle Museum consisted of a courtyard, various outbuildings, and lots of lovely lawns. Immediately, I decided this was the perfect setting for a 1940s event, and spent a moment taking in the many displays also setting up, and the various vintage vehicles. Although we'd arrived early, I wasn't due to perform until 1.00pm. Happily there was no sign of the forecasted rain. In fact, it was sensible to apply a splash of sun cream. I had a wander around and chatted with various folks, and soon enough it was time to take to the stage. As I like to do at these type of settings, my 'stage' was in fact the whole lawn, as I went out into the audience, most of them relaxing on the grass with picnics. Despite the heat, one or two of the re-enactors bravely had a dance, and before I knew it I had completed my three 30-minute sets.

In old black and white films that involve the stage, opening nights, chorus lines, and so on, the characters are always portrayed as waiting for the reviews to come in - usually signalled by an array of spinning newspapers! - but proving that nothing really changes, in this modern age, singers wait for the verdict on their performance to appear on social media. Amongst some flattering Facebook comments was one from Margaret Soden, below, who wrote:

"Fabulous day at Forge Mill... plus wonderful entertainment by the Violettes and especially Lancashire Belle, who was outstanding."

Comments like this go a long way, and are of course always much appreciated. So a great day at a wonderful location, new friends, an appreciative audience... and satisfied clients. Days really don't come much better for a singer and entertainer!

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