Alight Fingers Juggling and Circus Skills Workshops  

Balls To The Baltic - Latvia or Bust



If You’ve Never Burned down a School …

We headed out for the evening show - the sixth and final one of the day after diner and arrived in ample time, carrying on the tradition of being late for everything except the shows. It was a good room, with a stage at one end, and a bar at the other, which was odd considering this was a school hall. The Germans obviously take their beer very seriously and educate their children from an early age to appreciate it.

Kirsten had come down, though unfortunately Clive couldn't make it having recently damaged his knee chasing his kids round the garden. I'd been baiting her all the evening earlier about the fact that we were going to make her get up on the stage and 'volunteer', and she had protested adamantly that she was having no part of it. More fool her then for sitting in the front row.

The hall gradually filled up. Not quite to capacity, but our reputation was spreading and they'd heard about us now. Of course they were going to stay away. Finally it was time to get on with what we were there for and start the show. Two forty minute sessions, with a gap in the middle. We did all the things we'd done previously, only this time we could take our time over them. There was more possibility to chat with the audience, as we had more English speakers, though again, Horsch was there, perched on the edge of the stage to translate where necessary. Once again we balanced, juggled, and fooled our way through. Jonathan managed to pick a volunteer out of the audience who told us he was a policeman. OK, so from then on we were both very careful not to steal the show (sorry), although we did find out later that he was (only) a forestry policeman. Do people really steal forests?

When we came to doing 'the walk of death', we needed volunteers from the audience once more. Kirsten was definitely in for it now. We had four volunteers. We needed one more. Jonathan was laying the ground work. "OK, we need one more beautiful volunteer". I looked at Kirsten. I couldn't quite gauge if she was up for it or not. She wasn't actually volunteering in any way shape or form, but we could possibly get away with it … It was then that I recalled the age old adage ... "never mess with the person who's preparing your food", and certainly not if they’re the sort of person who’s into fermented fish.

Almost two hours later allowing for the intermission and they were all shouting "Zugabe" again. To be honest, I'm not quite sure how we stretched what we had to two hours. What I was aware of was I could think of nothing else that we could do. We had done it all. We'd played with all the toys, we'd told all the jokes. Well, there was the one about the two Dutch nuns, no, that would never be appropriate.... erm .... Jonathan was obviously having the same dilemma I was, and then he saved the day as he turned to me and said one simple word …


If you’ve never seen a school burn down before it really is an amazing sight.

It was an obvious call really. The van was just outside. We could set up in a few minutes. The ones who wanted to stay warm could watch from the big windows, and everyone else could bundle outside and watch us burn ourselves. Always good for a laugh, watching a pair of idiots set fire to themselves. It's ok folks! We're professional idiots!

So that's what we did. OK, we didn’t actually burn the school down. We quickly set up some juggling torches and Jonathan juggled and did a few fire impressions while I set up my staff which takes a little more preparing on the grounds that the wicks are three times the size. We finished the show with the classic twenty five foot fireball, and some fire spinning.

Then all kind of gifts came out of nowhere from our hosts including the classic Pottery Wellingtons - I'll wear them next time I'm out with the dwarves, and a bottle of a local brew called Underberg. More on that later. It’s really quite … special.

We headed back to Clive and Kirstens lovely home where we sat, had a drink and told each other stories while we slowly came back down before retiring for the night. This time, I made sure I'd put my clock forward.

If only I’d known then how pointless that was.



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