The Mummers' performance of ‘Agatha Pissdie's The Pale Ale' duly took place on the final Sunday before Christmas.
The author was slightly concerned that he might have overdone the bawdiness - the script contained a number of what can only be described as trebles entendres, the diciest of which were about as subtle as a brick in the face - but no-one seemed to mind either those or the grotesque slurs on the intelligence, lineage, and breeding of the people of Bisley.
It is possible that this was partly because the cast kept forgetting their lines, including the rude jokes and insults, and partly because for some unknown reason the village was besieged by an astonishing amount of vehicular traffic that day.
We shall probably never know the truth.
We shall also probably never know just how much Benny and Dylan enjoyed dressing up as ladies - it was either ‘a lot' or ‘too much'.
Whatever, it seemed to go off reasonably well, the only serious damage being to the livers of a number of the Players.
Indeed, several people immediately threw their hats into the ring for parts in the 2020 performance, including Mummers past, though admittedly this was after the final performance outside The Stirrup Cup, and ale had been taken.
We shall see if they are as good as their word, or if the resolution leaked out of them along with the ale.
Thanks are due to Dave Partridge (below) for organising the whole thing - insofar as it is possible to organise Bisley Mummers - and to Julian Partridge (some relation) at The Stirrup Cup for sponsoring the merry band and providing a beer or two and some sandwiches for them.
Thanks also for Di MacDonald-Walton and Sam Collins for taking the time to slap some make-up on what we must refer to as the 'actors' on the morning.
Well done to the cast - Dave (Town Crier), Doug (Hercules Parrot), Rob (Father Christmas), Dylan (Blodwyn Bisler), Benny (Gertrude Grisley), Debs (Julian Pheasant), Amber (Agatha Pissdie), Luke (the Director), Luca (the Doctor), Tom (Shameless O'Mummery), and, playing Ruthless Fool himself, Conrad McCroddan.
See you all again in approximately 350 days!
For some months, Steve Cohen has been arranging regular exhibitions of art by local painters in The Stirrup Cup.
There's an informal meet-the-artist(s) evening each time the exhibition changes, and the works stay in place for several weeks thereafter.
Often they are available to buy, usually at very reasonable prices, and it's well worth dropping into The Stirrup to see what's on the walls.
Here are some of the works currently on display (hover over each image for the name of the painting, the painter, the media where given, and the price):
...took place on 17 August 2019
Apologies received from lots of people.
Present: Lesley, Kate, Jenny, Sue, Hazel, Sheila, Caroline W and boys, Gary, Liz, Nadine, and guests Phil, and Robert Bryant (Allotment Warden Eastcombe)
1. Nadine told us about Stroud Valleys Project work on the allotment (was tenanted by the Ronans Trust).
They hold group sessions and are planting a small-scale tree nursery of beeches grown from seed – all germinated – plus various shrubs and currant bushes. Group sessions included planting, weeding, and scything. We visited the SVP plot.
2. We visited the compost loo – nearly complete!
3. Jenny flagged the Eastcombe Show (watch the notice board for date)
4. The Bee Project: Hazel reported that she had now completed bee care training. A hive is planned for 2020 in the very far corner of the allotments, next to her chickens, with the queen and brood supplied by Keith Dickenson.
5. Peter Benn had asked if he could keep ducks on his plot. Everyone agreed (subject to tenancy agreement welfare clause).
6. Stroud Food Bank donations of excess produce: agreement we continue with these each Friday from mid-September (Sue has offered a weekly supply of perennial kale!!). (Lesley adds we will need a ‘rota’ of willing volunteers to take stuff to Stroud on Fridays for 12 noon)
• Jenny & Lesley thought the tree nursery was good for the Parish’s pro-active tree planting policy. How do we take this forward?
• Nadine was challenged to scythe the meadow between the allotments and community orchard…there might be a trial area to begin with!
• We suggested that the compost loo could be decorated by local children with themes on the soil etc. Nadine thought there were several people who might be invited to open it and publicise it.
• Re compost loo, some thought it should be widely publicised as it was so special; others were more cautious in case it might be abused. It has a lock with the allotment code.
• The compost loo ss not quite finished; Lesley will alert everyone when its ready for use. Once the pathway is done then the loo will be wheel chair accessible.
• Kate thought a propagator / group polytunnel for starting off seeds /vulnerable plants would be helpful for a lot of allotment holders.
This was supported. Lesley will explore.
• Discussion about snails, slugs and soil health: there is a decline in thrushes, none seen here. Nadine had seen blackbirds eating snails. Liz thought that mulching continuously over some years without disturbing the soil had some effect on reducing slug numbers; possibly the encouragement of predators such as centipedes on slug eggs. Nadine felt it could be good to research this - perhaps Glos University the Wildlife Trust might be interested in helping identify creatures in the soil. She said glow worm larvae ate slugs but none have ever been seen on the allotments.
• Wildlife on the allotments was discussed. Liz observed there had been an increase in magpies; the edible hedgerow appeared to be supporting more farmland birds; there had been more butterflies, moths and many more orchids this year. There are still slow worms (despite an unwelcome increase in cats) and grass snakes on the allotments. Unfortunately, no one had seen the hedgehogs this year. The wildlife record book is in the allotment hut.
• Lesley flagged a visit to the natural Japanese form of farming without inputs in Wiltshire (Shumei).
Finally, we went on a tour of plots – SVP’s, Kate’s, Sue’s and Caroline’s.
Many thanks to everyone who brought delicious cake!! (These thanks exclude my horrible failure in the cake making department!!)
The village was used again as a filming location in August 2019 - this time for a BBC adaptation of Agatha Christie's The Pale Horse, with The Bear Inn being renamed as the eponymous pub, and the village starring as ‘Much Deeping'.
(A couple of years ago, parts of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy was filmed here, too, as Bisley became ‘Pagford'.)
Here are some photos from this month's shoot:
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