There are times on tour when a series of events occur that make you feel like nobody would believe them if you wrote them down.
Such a series of events begins at the picturesque Courts Garden in Holt where we were shown hospitality by the wonderful Sonya, Peony, Paris and Paul.
As a side note, these are four truly wonderful people that anyone would be lucky to meet. Not only kind, but also hilarious and a little bit bonkers. We love these qualities in people because we feel that we resonate with them. We cannot express our gratitude enough.
But back to the story: At this venue the heavens opened on our rendition of ‘Macbeth’. Everything was soaked. Costumes, tents, audience and actors. To our amazement and joy the 80+ audience stuck everything out and gave us a tremendous applause at the end. There was an added feeling of solidarity at the fact that both audience and actors had braved the storm together and laughed the whole way through the show.
As we scurried around trying to pack down the set and fan our kilts dry, an audience member called Fiona came up to us and asked what our favorite type of cake was.
The answer from the Bards was unanimous: “If you can get it right then nothing beats a proper fruitcake”.
Two days later, when performing ‘The Comedy of Errors’ 40 miles north from the Courts Garden, we were amazed to see Fiona sitting in the front row. She handed us the yummiest fruitcake we had ever tasted. Backstage we consumed a quarter of it there and then.
However, the Gods of Gastromy were not on our side. Having ceremoniously placed the cake on the back on Cheatle Bard’s trailer, we hit a turn at speed down Coopers Hill in Gloucestershire (famed for its annual cheese rolling event in May), and to Moss Bard’s horror, the cake flew from the trailer and split in two as it hit the concrete.
The bikes and trailer were going at such speed, that we could not stop and claim the fruitcake. It is no lie to say we were devastated at the loss, and obviously would not have written about it if the story stops there. However, it doesn’t…
That evening we reached The Fleece Inn in Bretforton. This is a wonderfully historic pub that sells a fabulous local ale called ‘Pigs Ear’ (after having a few we noticed each pint became more delicious then the last and we slept very well that night…).
During our interval here, a lady we had never met walked up to Cheatle Bard and says “I hear you are partial to fruit cake”. She then hands him a bag and walks away. Backstage we open the bag and find not just any old fruitcake, but THE fruitcake, perfectly wrapped in its original foil, its two halves joined back together.
Instantly we started asking who in our group tweeted about the loss of the fruitcake, or facebooked about the loss of the fruitcake, having sworn we would never tell anyone via our social media, as we felt so guilty about it. Slowly we realised that none of us had mentioned the incident to anyone who had been at our shows, and we naturally did the sensible thing; we freaked out!
Let us rewind four hours to the fateful hill where that fruitcake learnt to fly, before proving that gravity works.
A little further down the fill, at the front of the pelaton, Dixon Bard and myself, Brodie Bard, pulled into a layby to wait for our colleagues. As we were waiting, a van pulled up and a man stepped out who, after a small conversation, we found was called David.
He asked what we were doing, and when we let him know, he told us that if we went to Burger Star in Cheltenham we would be given four free drinks to help sustain us on our travels. We thanked him and moved on, but not before Moss Bard and Cheatle Bard had joined us and told us of the fruitcake’s demise.
Burger Star was the perfect place to lift our spirits. A very quirky and fun place. We gratefully accepted our free drinks, and purchased some much needed chips. David had phoned ahead to let the guys know to expect us, and we let them admire our flyer, whilst we admired the photos on the walls. One pictured the Queen visiting the place, which I really hope is real.
Fast-forward again to the Fleece Inn, Bretforton: Freaked out during the interval, we found a letter next to the fruitcake. Scared and confused the HandleBards unfolded it, huddled together and began to read.
It turned out that David, whilst getting in to his van, had overheard Moss Bard’s tale of the loss of the fruitcake. Driving up the hill, he had spotted the cake - one half on the road, the other protruding from a bush. The lady who approached Cheatle Bard with the cake at The Fleece Inn was his wife, Linda, and they knew where to find us because of the flyer we had left at Burger Star.
So Fiona, we are so pleased to announce that the HandleBards, overjoyed to be reunited with their fruitcake, consumed it all. It was delicious, and it is safe to say the cake had a little HandleBard adventure of its own. The kindness of humans is remarkable sometimes!