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Under Starters Orders

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I'm doing a storytelling show at the Fringe this year and the nature of the show means I don't have much in the way of set or costumes. All I've got are a few small props to illustrate certain aspects of the stories I'll be telling. I've therefore spent the last few weeks feeling relatively sanguine about taking the show up to Edinburgh. After all, I can pretty much fit all the stuff that I need into one small bag - a bit of a boon when lots of companies are having to hire cars or share vans in order to get all their pieces of kit to their venues.

I booked rail tickets from Leeds to Waverly weeks ago and I have to say I've been looking forward to a relaxing journey. That was until my housemate heard me crowing about it the other day and said, "Oh. But you are taking the ugly horse, aren't you? I think you have to cos you mentioned it on that website."

"Grrrrph," I thought as my plans for a stress-free start to the festival collapsed around my ears.

The ugly horse is an ex-toy and current health and safety hazard that I pulled out of a wheelie-bin in Leeds some years ago whilst walking home drunk in the night. It's one of those tipsy take-homes that don't really make a lot of sense in the cold light of day - the mouldering remnant of a child's rocking horse, with the runners missing, two broken legs and what can only be described as an equine comb-over in place of a mane. In short, it's pretty horrible. It also features in one of the stories in my show and having pointed this out on the internet I realised that I was kind of committed to taking it with me.

Now normally, I am very well disposed towards the ugly horse. It spends most of its time on the patio in the front garden, peering wistfully in at us through the French windows and in my mind I like to see it as a kind of genius loci - a protective spirit in Roman mythology - keeping an eye on the house and its inhabitants. My housemates on the other hand have always viewed it as a piece of disreputable tat that makes a mess of the garden and I have to admit that the thought of lugging it all the way to Edinburgh did momentarily make me feel the same way. Not only is it hard to carry but I had a feeling that I might not be allowed to take it on the train.

However, I have never been the sort of man to shy away from a challenge and so I spent the whole of yesterday wrapping it up in pages from the Yorkshire Evening Post in an effort to make it look a bit more salubrious. I'd like to think I did a pretty good job: //bit.ly/o4KwaY


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