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Musos Muses Act 1

...House Pets (continued)

Whether the room was to her liking or not, Ivy usually managed to secure a roof over their heads for the period of the stay. In one instance, a single night was too long. George returned home late after the show, by which time the children were asleep. This gave the parents some quality time before eventually turning in themselves, a practice not always as pleasurable as it might have seemed. Beds were often old and lumpy, certainly not conducive to relaxation, and if that wasn't enough to deter guests from extended stays, having to share with other more permanent residents made up for it. Nocturnal, they were, far smaller than Dracula, but just as voracious and caring naught for those they sunk their teeth into. George was, to say the least, miffed. On went the light, out came the shoe from under the offending bed, and whack, whack, whack went George. Following the enraged onslaught, the pattern on the wallpaper had acquired some new images, splattered remnants of bed-bugs which would bite no more, having gone to their maker. The Landlady presented herself next morning, ranting over the change in decor which was obviously not to her taste, and bemoaning the fate of her house-pets, all of which she probably knew by name. George's subsequent comments are unprintable.

Scene 2: Extended Stays

The Chip Butty

Needless to say, that particular boarding house was a one-night stand which would not be re-visited. But, in case the singular experience was too forgettable, there would be many more to come. One in particular was memorable for a very different reason. The stay was extended this time, and a routine was established. George would return in the evening after the show and Ivy was ready at a small gas-ring, generously and unusually provided for the convenience of guests. Occasionally, another member of the band would follow George in. That was okay - Ivy knew them all and got on well with most; and there were always plenty of potatoes. She simply peeled two more while the fryer was heating up. This was to cook their regular late-night supper - plain, common or garden chips, but tasty and definitely sought-after, judging by the number of freeloaders who had a habit of turning up, just on the off chance of a feed.

No doubt, the appetising aroma permeating the room might have drifted out through the door and up to the floor above. It was unlikely, however, to attract any hungry guests in the rooms below. All except for one who relied less on his nose than he did the clock. Ivy was expecting him and waited patiently with a knowing, benevolent smile. In moments, there was a gentle knock at the door. Standing on the threshold was Larry, a young and definitely-struggling actor of no repute whatever, hungry as usual, holding his calling cards, they being two slices of plain bread. I don't doubt that his taste buds would have been running riot as Ivy drained the chips and transformed his simple contribution into a glorious, good ol' chip butty. A meagre repast it may have seemed to many, but from the look in his eyes as he devoured it, Larry was partaking of a feast fit for King Lear.

Although she didn't know it at the time, Ivy had not only helped save yet another entertainer from starvation, but had also done the world in general a big favour. Young Larry, was not only destined to make a name for himself, but was later knighted and eventually became Lord Laurence Olivier.

Musos Muses Act 2 - reminiscences of a professional musician

Musos Muses Intermission - more reminiscences of a professional musician

Musos Muses - stage shows and the summer season

Musos Muses - The Final Curtain

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