When Pantaloons get wet: a survival guide

They had predicted rain and I did not relish the prospect of wet Pantaloons all over the house.

In the great logistical exercise called Planning This Year’s Theatre Tour, our son rang on Monday to say the Pantaloons travelling theatre troupe would be staying over on Wednesday.

In the similarly large logistical exercise they call Suddenly Having Five Young Adults Staying Over For The Night, I threw a clean towel into each of the bedrooms (one of which is the dining room) and decided not to make up the beds. Instead I lobbed duvets, pillows and covers in through the doorways and put lashings of ginger beer in the fridge.

Unexpectedly the weather forecast was correct and four, hungry dripping actors turned up on the doorstep, mid-afternoon.

“It rained,” they explained unnecessarily.


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Within minutes every surface of my home was draped in wet costumes, props and Pantaloons, all of which began to steam slightly when the sun came out. The river was in the tumble-drier and there was a white beard on the clothes’ airer.

“I think I’ll make a spaghetti bolognaise,” said my husband.

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The last time The Pantaloons stayed over we were also inspired by minced beef and produced a cooking pot brimming with chili con carne.

“They’ll never eat all that,” I said.

Later, I had to eat my words because they were all that was left.

I found one Pantaloon with his head in the cauldron, licking out the last remnants.

This time we went Italian and went large.

An army marches on its stomach; a theatre company thesps on its stomach... often through the medium of mime.

My husband left work early to chop onions and when I got home, like two-thirds of the witches in Macbeth (coincidentally the play they were performing) we took it in turns to stir the vat and chant the incantation:

Eye of newt, and toe of frog,

Wool of bat, and tongue of dog,

Adder’s fork, and blind-worm’s sting,

Lizard’s leg, and howlet’s wing...

We had to use more conventional ingredients, of course, because of endangered species regulations. Moreover, Sainsbury’s deli counter isn’t quite up to speed with witches’ brews.

“Excuse me, where would I find lizard’s leg?”

“Pharmacy; medical conditions...”

Just before we ate, our daughter phoned up: “If there’s any food left over, can I come round and collect it tomorrow?”

You have to admire her optimism.

I comfort myself that at least an actor washes him/herself (a bit), doesn’t craze you and doesn’t announce graphically and in a loud voice, in the central library, that he/she wants to go to the toilet. Yes, it’s the school summer holidays and it’s only been two weeks.

I was in the newsagent’s buying a magazine at lunchtime when a harassed mum of two came in to buy a paper. While her back was briefly turned, her children, aged around seven and five, immediately started to roam the premises.

“No, you can’t have something every time we go into a shop. Put them back,” she instructed her daughter who had selected a packet of biscuits and a “With Sympathy” card.

In the few seconds she was concentrating on her daughter, her son had taken a packet of Polos from its display box, sniffed it, licked it and replaced it.

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