Last night, at 7pm, we sat watching a horse (called Madeleine) quietly munching around the ring as we waited just a few minutes more with the capacity audience in the new, more comfortable big top. We giggled a little, thinking of the tagline "wilder and more magical than ever", looking at the peaceful scene in front of us. But Nell's appearance with sons Red and Cecil soon hinted that things behind the scenes last night might well have been wilder than ever - she was about to announce that Tweedy the Clown was unwell and unable to perform.
The show must go on of course, and with circus people being multi-talented and adaptable as they are, in no time at all we were enjoying the show as always.
Even in Tweedy's absence, there was a great deal of silliness but there were also some breathtaking acrobatic performances including those from the Dias family. It's hard to imagine how on earth such moves are possible at all, let alone up there high above the audience at the top of a ladder. Oh, and when that ladder happens to be balanced on the feet of another sister, laid on her back with her feet in the air.
Highlights also included Nell's "pocket ponies" who galloped around the ring obediently save for one naughty member of the troupe, who somehow avoided all the obstacles, much to the amusement of the audience. Dian's dachshunds had learned a little from those ponies too, for they could charm the audience with a sneaky move or two as well. Yes, the "awww" factor was a common theme!
Even Myrtle the bear won a chorus of sympathy having been told to leave the stage...
Though the show ran smoothly and everyone pitched in, there were times when we did indeed miss Tweedy and his antics. Returning to our seats after the interval to see his caravan there, centre stage was a reminder of what might have been supposed to happen here...
A poor photo - sorry - but I needed a reminder of Nancy's wonderful talking turkey...
Suddenly - all too soon - it was the finale. We won't know what we missed as far as our favourite silly clown is concerned, but it was all good fun anyway.
The show was over for another year. Except it wasn't really, was it? We were feeling hungry!
Just as well, for the menu included smoked haddock and saffron croquettes with hollandaise sauce, stuffed field mushrooms with ricotta and truffle, a glorious shepherds pie and local lamb chops rounded off with tiramisu, all served with the usual Circus Sauce fun and entertainment by the Kitchenettes.
And that really was that. It was past 10.30pm and the common was quiet. With the moon and Mars shining brightly in the dark sky, we said our goodnights and made our way home.
We do so love our nights at the Circus!