Cordless animals and breaking legs

On this very bright, sunny Sunday I’ve been whiling away some time looking for a new vacuum cleaner online. In some ways this is an utterly indulgent occupation, since our current vacuum cleaner hasn’t yet given up on the thankless task of coming out every couple of weeks and being expected to make the accumulated cat fur, chocolate digestive crumbs and cobwebs vanish as if by magic in the few minutes I have set aside to use it. I am half-expecting one morning to find it has sucked the front door open and trundled off down the street grumbling to anyone who will listen about how slovenly we all are. Except that its suction no longer seems powerful enough to enable it to fight its way out of a paper bag. This isn’t why I want a replacement either.

It’s because I crave the ‘cordless animal’, a creature that will destroy everything in its path with ease and WILL ONLY LET ME USE IT FOR 20 MINUTES AT A TIME BEFORE ITS BATTERY RUNS OUT. Surely this is the perfect machine for someone as undedicated to housework as I am. Actually 20 minutes would be pushing it. But I’m fairly confident that after a few months its staying power will have dwindled a bit. it takes over 3 hours to re-charge, too, giving me plenty of time to engage in other pursuits such as writing, re-designing book covers and binge-reading on one of my Kindles.

View form the stage

View from the stage of the Festival Theatre

Anyone who has been paying attention may be asking where the broken legs come in. This has nothing to do with vacuum cleaners, except in the very tangential sense that I should theoretically be a lot less likely to get tangled up in the cordless animal and fall down the stairs than I am with my current version which has both a power cable and a tube. In fact the occasions when I’ve fallen down the stairs have mostly been cat-related, with no vacuum cleaners involved.

The broken legs are to do with one of the other things I’ve done this weekend. I’ve been waiting a while to go on a back-stage tour of the Festival Theatre (depicted here) and yesterday was the day. Among other things we learned about where the expression ‘break a leg’ originated. However that wasn’t why I wanted to go on the tour. I was really much more interested in finding out if I could learn anything extra about the history of the Festival theatre and of previous theatres on the same site, for the novella I’ve been writing (in the intervals of other stuff) which is set partly at the Empire Palace of Varieties in 1911. To my delight, not did I get a few glimpses of the actual fabric of the older theatre, but there are framed press cuttings and photographs of the place hanging in quite a few locations around the current building, which of course is interesting in itself and very pleasing architecturally. As well as having the fun of standing on the huge stage and looking out to the auditorium, I was pleased to see how much space there is in the wings and how solid and wide all the staircases are now, unlike these in some other theatres I’ve been in.

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