Last week I got all excited about the Juice Festival coming to town. On Saturday we were going to go to two events, Tube for Reuben and Beginners Breaking for Gabby, and then on Sunday (the day before yesterday) jet off to the Sunshine of Tenerife. Then this happened… 

juice festival 2013

Two weeks ago I’d been banging on about whether Reuben had chicken pox because he had been around a boy who had just come out in pox, and he had a funny nappy rash and some spots on his fingers. That turned out to be thrush in his nappy and potentially hand, foot and mouth, which would apparently clear up on its own. 2 weeks later and 4 days before our trip to the Juice Festival and Tenerife we were struck, for definite this time, with mega Pox. No trips to anywhere for us! Except Grandad’s. 

juice festival 2013

He should be at Tube but he was very pleased to see Grandad – I left them cuddling!

Thankfully my mate Cath and her baby Isabella (known to all as Issy B) were willing understudies and they stepped in at the 11th hour to review the award winning, TUBE, by Oily Cart for us.

TUBE – Juice Festival 2013

Now don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wish chicken pox on anybody, especially Ruby Doodle who is one of my favourite people but Reuben’s unfortunate circumstances did mean that Isabella got to enjoy some of the most magical minutes of her short life so far.

juice festival 2013

Some lovely understudies for Tube at Juice Festival 2013

The clue really is in the title and after sitting on a mat playing with different length of tube for a few minutes, we were escorted into a tent type thing that looked like a huge hollowed out swiss cheese.  Sitting round the edge, you could see several of the little ones looking anxious and staying close to their parents but soon a lady with magnificent eyelashes and a beautiful smile put them at ease.

We started off with the smallest of tubes – a straw – and we blew through then to make gentle breezes (well, some of us did that..some of us just chewed on them…we’re teething don’t you know). A bigger tube was rolled into the middle full of tickerly feather dusters and then a colourful range of peekaboo puppets popped up through the holes. The swiss cheese tent had tubey instruments around the outside that gave off pleasing parps at regular intervals while the smiley lady and two funny men entertained and transfixed 12 -15 small people with the simplest of props. The high”light” was illuminated balls rolling into the tent via industrial plastic tubes. The lights went down and the entire space was filled with illuminated outlines of our little ones playing with the ever changing balls. One little girl said in awe “it’s truly magical”. She was correct.

This girl was little but far too big to be in 6 months – 2 years production. There were a couple of bigger children whose Mum’s clearly hadn’t read the brief. It was lovely to watch them get excited by things but a shame for the smaller kids who they tripped over and beat to grab the next tubey thing that entered the tent. This was a small gripe in an otherwise lovely experience which was rounded off with lots and lots of tube balloons. What better way to finish?

We stocked up on straws, toilet rolls, smarties and drain pipes on the way home….our lives will be much tubeier now.

Thanks Oily Cart Theatre Company, Juice Festival and Han, and get well soon Ruby Doodle. x


To be fair, that was a much better review than I would have been able to do, so thank you Cath xx

I was actually allowed to go in and have a little look at the performance but as I looked  through a hole in the giant hollowed out swiss cheese, I felt like the orphan girl at Christmas looking in on the surreal magic. And, when the feather dusters came out and beautiful songs started with parping tube accompaniment, I actually had to leave. Reubs would have LOVED it and that made me well up! It made me realise that I do not make the most of this special time with him. Every day he is learning new things and in no time at all, he’s not going to be interested in the fact that you can blow through a straw to make gentle breezes. Plus, unless I had this blog, I would have been at home, in ignorance, unknowingly missing out on this award-winning Theatre. As Cath said “Isabella got to enjoy some of the most magical minutes of her short life so far,” And as I mill around at home, Reuben is missing these magical minutes. Time to get out more!!

Beginner’s Breaking – Juice Festival 2013

And, then it was onwards to learn some break dancing with Just Jam Internation . I met Mike and Gabby at Dance City where her class was. The room was packed with hip looking youngsters, wearing baseball caps at jaunty angles and I’ve never seen Gabby look so awkward and nervous as she sidled into a space towards the back. We looked in through the window for a few minutes to make sure she was OK but the window was small and competition to stand next to it was fierce, so we left her to it to check out the local real estate (there’s a house nearby we’ve been looking at online so after standing outside for a few minutes trying to peer in, they eventually let us in for a tour!).

When we came back and muscled our way back to the window, we saw Gabby was running around laughing and dragging a girl about by her leg. The others were doing this too, she isn’t a thug. Then we saw them bust a few “moves”, which was hilarious but she was picking up way better than I ever would have! And by the time it was over Gabby came rushing out full of things to tell us, she’d had a wonderful time!