One of the great things about my job is that I get to travel to lots of different places and meet lots of interesting people. Today was no exception. I was performing my Pirate Puppet Show in the restaurant of Barton Grange Garden Centre near Preston. I was all set up and a very substantial audience had gathered, eager to be entertained. An elderly couple were sitting at a table close to the front, ring side seats you could say. The show began and the audience were very enthusiastic joining in at all the appropriate moments. We were really raising the roof ! I noticed that quite a few of the adults were also joining in, not least the couple I have just mentioned. We were all having a great time.
After the show I asked the elderly gentleman if he had enjoyed himself. Very much so he said. He explained to me that his name was Treasure and that he and his wife had found it rather amusing to be sitting watching a puppet show about pirates hunting for treasure.We had a good laugh about that.
It turns out that Mr Treasure, 89 years old, from Preston, was one of the original Desert Rats. As a young man he had joined up right at the beginning of the Second World War and served as a ” tankie ” in the 7th Armoured Division, the famous Desert Rats. He had fought with them throughout the North African Campaign and then in Italy. He said he was one of the lucky ones and that many of his comrades never made it home. He told me he had experienced some terrible things and was always grateful that neither of his two sons had to go through a world war.
He then paused as if in deep thought and out of the blue said ” It’s a terrible thing about Redcar ”
Two things struck me. First, what an odd thing to suddenly come out with when we had been discussing the war . I realised that my new friend was obviously a compassionate man and he must have been thinking about the consequences of the closure of the steelworks at Redcar. Yet why should he care that a community in another part of the country is facing the devastating effects of a major employer closing down?
Second, I wondered how many other people in the country are equally concerned. It certainly bears heavily on my mind ( but I am originally from Redcar so perhaps it has deeper significance for me )
I have had a very satisfactory and enjoyable day today. I have worked hard and my shows have gone down very well. The icing on the cake was meeting Mr and Mrs Treasure. I was proud to have met a Desert Rat. I only wish I could have listened to some of the many interesting stories I’m sure he could tell. I hope I meet him again one day.
Here is what Mr Treasure had to say about my show.
How do you feel about the closure of the steelworks at Redcar? I’d be interested to hear your opinions.
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