Set Dressing

I can hear the wind battering the windows outside my room up here. There’s no traffic noise at all. Sweet relief. Earlier this evening I stopped for a moment and looked up as we were changing vans. A canopy of winter stars, so clear in the night sky. A momentary shock of the beauty and the size of the universe. Then back to the mundane.

I’m cocooned in an unfamiliar bed, festooned with cushions. If I open the door then Baggins will come and sleep on me, but I’m barely able to cope with Pickle sleeping on me and she’s as light as a feather. Baggins is bigger, and being a dog he’s more likely to be affectionate. I’m not sure I can handle affectionate when I’m trying to sleep right now, particularly if I’m driving a whacking great van full of fragile things back to London tomorrow.

I’m winding down at Al’s home in Stillington, outside of York. The wind is still howling outside, reminding me how lucky I am to be in bed. Golfo, Phil and Will and I have been breaking down the set for York Gatsby this evening, and driving vans around. The Luton is going in for a service tomorrow morning as I’m going to have responsibility for it until May. We’ll make a show in it. But since Phil’s taking it in, it means I get a lie in before I get picked up. Delight.

Golfo has a cold and smells of TCP. The rest of us just smell. We’ve been painting, scraping, arranging and cleaning, but mostly moving furniture. Endlessly moving furniture down into one room, and some into the van. Sweeping and cleaning and tidying. Carrying “dressing” (as in loads of random material, furniture and items) – it makes sets effortlessly nicer to look at, but the more dressing you have the more heavy stuff you have to carry in and then carry back out again. It’s always worth it but It’s always a hassle.


Most of this stuff doesn’t need to go back into storage until after Vault Festival though, so we have a cornucopia of “dressing” delights to borrow for the van show. I’m glad the job of hauling it fell to me. Especially because I’m also hauling the Christmas Carol stuff, which has been in the garage of the Lord Mayor of York since we finished the run, and now needs to be moved out. Better me, since I loaded it in there. I was worried stuff would get left. This way I can plunder what will be useful, and then make sure it goes back to the right place after the festival, so any further secondary Gatsby’s or Christmas Carol runs have all the stuff they need.

I’m exhausted though. I can barely keep my eyes open. I’m gonna curl up in this cosy bed and dream of carrying furniture and driving vans, and then tomorrow morning I will make that dream into a glorious reality.

I’m glad I’m so tired. The habit of using alcohol to get drowsy has already faded after just a week. I’ll sleep well tonight.

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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