Welcome back to another exciting episode of Simon Blog!

I wish it was that exciting, there's some interesting stuff going on in this entry but far from the exciting issues still to come ;)

After leaving Spain, Morwen and I moved to Newcastle Upon Tyne, near the Scottish border in England. We had a little work lined up when we arrived thanks to Steve Cousins and Helen Averley who run Let's Circus, a small circus company putting on loads of events around the UK. Our first foray with them was to set up their big top (the Magpie) for a university event it had been hired for. The Magpie is only a little tent compared to some of the others I've built, all told I think we had it up in less than 3 hours, the floor boards on the other hand...
Newcastle also has a circus school and youth circus which are located at Circus Central, about a 10 minute walk from the city centre. Steve and Helen were running CC when we arrived but shortly after handed it over to Claire Harvey, who was running the school and youth circus programmes at the time, Claire has stepped up in a big way and is growing the company into something bigger and better as time goes on.

Morwen was enrolled in the BTEC course CC offered before we moved here and thankfully I got a job as their juggling coach and one of the acrobatics coaches. We had a month or so of down time before the BTEC started up and we spent some of that time house sitting for Steve and Helen while they were on a tour of the Hebrides (Scottish Isles) and partly moving in to our new place with another CC crew member, juggler, unicyclist and all round odd bod Nathan, and an amazing musician/costume designer Rosie. Eventually we wound up with another flatmate, Will, who was attending the BTEC as well, it was a fun household full of great people, really glad we got the chance to share a year with such a good crew.

2016/17 New Years Eve was the most stressful one I've ever had, I somehow managed to get a gig in Oman and had been super excited about it during the lead up to being there and then had the horrific situation of my suitcase going missing during my flights, I don't want to ever be in the situation of turning up wearing smelly travelling clothes to a shmancy 5 star resort without any of the equipment that you're meant to be performing with. Thankfully I'd arrived a couple of days early so explaining the situation to the booker was better than it *could* have been but things didn't really get better from there. Many hours on the phone to airport personnel wasn't getting me anywhere, I had 2 days to track down my luggage and I'd planned to spend that time going over my acts and preparing for the show, instead I spent 2 days being super stressed and freaking out. Come New Years Eve and my luggage *still* hadn't arrived, I'm going over how to explain that I can't do the show to the management in my head and preparing for a really rough night and then half an hour before I was due to start my luggage turned up. I don't think that I've ever been so close to not making a gig before, never mind wearing the same clothes for 3 days and being so mentally unprepared for the outcome. Here's hoping that's my worst case scenario that I can measure everything else by in the future...

I got to go to my first full festival in over 5 years which was exciting, Play, a circus and music festival that closely resembles a festival I used to go to in NZ called Circulation. while there I was performing some close up magic and I got to perform in my cyr wheel for the first time, it could have gone better, it could have also gone much worse though so I'm thankful for small mercies. My sister came over from Germany to be at the festival too which was great as the last time I had seen her was over a year before when I was still in Spain. I went to my first Edinburgh Fringe Festival, I was up for 3 days hoping to get a show each day however my name wasn't called on the first day (there were more street performers than there were pitches available) so no show on day one. The next day I got first choice of the pitches as I hadn't had a chance the day before and I chose the mound at 1:30 so that the audience would have had their lunch and be ready for another afternoon of entertainment. The show went well and I drew a much bigger crowd than I'd expected to, I ended the show well and packed up to go and hang out with some friends who were also up for Fringe. The next day I wasn't feeling well in the morning so when I saw it was raining I was OK with taking the day off from shows and packed my things ready to go back to Newcastle.

The next exciting thing to happen was heading over to Germany for Halloween. Zeus, one of the friends that Natasha came over with for Play had enjoyed what I did and invited me to come and perform at the castle he lives in for their Halloween party/Tash's birthday. I got to meet a few new people, taught some juggling, did a lot of juggling and explored the Trier area where Tash lives which was nice. I chose to stay at the castle rather than with Tash as I'd not seen a functional castle before and it was pretty awesome, turns out it had dungeons, a mausoleum and was a part of the fighting between the Allied and Axis forces in WW2.

Coming up next blog... Working on a cruise ship!

Til next time :)