1:59pm. We're back from lunch, where is everyone? I like rehearsals, I get to help by taking notes. I have two envelope backs full already.
3:46pm. Rehearsal's over already. We got through a lot - Trial is a fairly easy show, even for someone with no musical training and not much ability. The stand-in director is gushing about the chorus's acting - I thought it was just the fun kind of hamming people do at Pot-Lucks. Whether we win prizes or not, it's going to be a show worth doing. I wonder if anyone will ever write a show with a clipboard in it...
7pm. Time to go to the show. Charles Court Opera doing Iolanthe. We have very high standards for Iolanthe in our family.
9pm. The boys are at a loss for words. So am I. The show has exceeded our wildest hopes for an Iolanthe! It's not a ballet, which is a minor loss if at all, and musically it could do with a few of our good Gasvic voices, but dramatically it's one of the best shows I've ever seen - comparable to the DVD of Phantom the boys love so much. Every single word is audible and fully believable. Act 2 is coming right up, just keep it going and don't deliberately ruin it and this will be a show to live in song and story.
11pm. Act 2 was quite in keeping with Act 1. The fairies were like 10-year-olds thoroughly enjoying making the peers act like puppets - what was really touching was the bond between them. These ladies are my beloved sisters - perfect. And the FQ motherly rather than fierce, which worked well with the teamwork between her and the rest of the fairies in Strephon's interest. Timing on the stay of execution of Iolanthe was exquisite, as was the lighting state. We hung around a bit after the show, expecting an adjudication, but apparently CCO count as pros and don't get that.
11:15pm. Festival club time, starting with a sing-through of the chorus bits of Iolanthe. The boys get to open their lungs and memories - great fun, must do it more often. The rest of the cabaret I could take or leave, but the atmosphere is always fun.
12:05am. Home time. How about a Looney Tune or two before bed?
3/8 9am. Luggage arrived - HOORAY!
10:30am. Gunricing time. Hazel Grove today, as we have rehearsal at 4pm. We're on a Super Sprinter set, using one of the tables amidships. Opposite us is a Mactard in uniform - Macbook, white USB modem, iPhone - and he types with two fingers. At about 500ksph. I guess there might be people out there that love macs and use them properly, but then there must be people out there that think Windows is quality software. A few. Maybe.
11:05am. Hazel Grove. Apart from being a junction station with a signal box there's not much different between it and any other station. The wires stop just after the end of the platform - a standard end-of-section arrangement with the wire attached to a pole beside the tracks, but without the next section taking over. The other line seems to be a cross-country to Sheffield, but no trains go there from here, only to Buxton.
11:24am. The Preston train comes in to platform 1. It's the Sprinter set that's been sitting in a siding at the up end of the station. Looks like we have time to go to Preston and back to see why on earth they don't use their EMUs.
12:03pm. Salford Crescent - we're out from under the wires already, they don't go far past Manchester. Considering the number of lines that run through it's surprising there's only two platforms. Now at last the Sprinter gets a chance to stretch its legs - there must be a speed limit on the Buxton line, we haven't seen performance like this before.
12:15pm. Bolton - we're still right on time. Three platforms, I'm sure that could be useful for something.
12:32pm. Alighted Chorley - no point going right to Preston. The last leg was at 75mph - start to stop average speed 53mph! The station itself is quite nice - looked after well including by local art groups. The underpass is quite presentable, and not crime riddled... take note Australia.