It's only three words

~ Our Chitty Christmas Trip 2002 ~

When Caractacus kissed Barbie.......

Brilliant fans we are, huh? But at least we learned from our mistakes for the future. We entered the Palladium. My English was gone when I spoke to Rose-Marie. Sorry for that Rose! We did know for sure Michael was there, so what did not we do now? Right, check, if anyone else was out for the night. But the lights faded and we were back for good and the Overture started, weyhey!!!!!!

The car race started and we were shocked to see just HOW close you are, sitting in the front row. Yes okay, I understand why the front row seats are not really praised. You don't see the back of the stage, which is a pity when Michael puts on his Bamboo clothes and when he gives Boris and Goran some really suspicious looks on the beach. And there was me, sitting in the front row, Nichola and well..... the Baron just standing in front of me singing of the pride of Vulgaria. But does look Brian Blessed like that on close-up? Did he lose weight? Is my eye-sight tricking me? Should I ask Julia? I only had to wait until they appeared again to really learn to know: This was not Brian Blessed. I bought the programme later on and found out that Steve Elias, the turkey farmer, was our Baron of the night. I was a bit shocked, to say the least. I love Brian in the part and I so much hoped and prayed it was just for this night! So you see Steve had a tough start with me, when I realised I might never see Brian playing the Baron again L . I was a hard critic on him in the very beginning, thinking: He does not have Brians voice, but who has? I was getting milder at the end and let me say this: the Baron was one of the parts I thought might be very hard to replace. As an aside, the Baroness was the other bit, and I was sure that never ever someone will reach Richard O'Briens performance as the child catcher. Back to Steve: All in all he was doing a brilliant job! He was enjoying himself and I felt he put his own style into the Baron. Over the week it was more and more of a joy to see him in the part! Yes, Brian was away for the whole of the week and as I learned on the last night, when fans asked an usher, he was just on holiday. Bad luck for us then!

Of course we were eagerly waiting for the highlight, the reason we would be seeing this show for the 6 th time tonight: Mr. Miiiiiiichael BAAAAALLLLLLL!!!! And there he was slightly visible pushing the breakfast machine on stage. WEEYYYHHHEEEYYY. I have seen he looks great at the stage door, but my oh my, did he look fab on stage! His shirt half out of his trousers, which have a very tiny checked pattern! And boy, what a look at his chest, chest hair, chain, the ring and not to forget his adorable arms. Where are the cold showers when you need some? Does it help, when you drool like mad and Michael puts his shirt back into his trousers, leaving his hand inside the trousers for what seems like ages? Long before Michael sung the first note, I was in heavy need for a cigarette (note: I am a strict non-smoker!).

What else can I say about this first night in the front row? The view is spectacular, you are so close and boy, why can't Michael run past me within a grab's distance every night? Over the week there was developing something between us and Nichola. I know she is, or at least was, not always a favourite of Michael Ball fans, which is so much of a pity! She is such a hilarious person and so fabulous in her part. Her German is such fun to listen to as it's really, really good! We could still laugh as much about her funny performances on stage as we could at the opening night! I will really miss her, when our Chitty adventure will be over, what a tough time!

So, what is it Michael and Ken have in common? Barbie as their girl-friend? Grandpa was kidnapped, the loo flew over our heads and Grandpa, was complaining, he hates the French too. What did not we know then? Barbie, Ken, Shelly and Tommy were getting into their Barbie car as stunt doubles for Caractacus, Truly, Jemima and Jeremy! Only seconds later Ken started the car and Barbie's dream car was hidden behind a nice Chitty front, riding past us! We always wondered how the dolls in the miniature Chitty model look like! What a laugh we had! But yes, you can't expect Michael, Emma and the children to minimize, drive around the stage, maximise and then get back on stage in time! Really impossible! (And we are positive that even Mr Potts would have to agree there!) LOL!!!!

Chitty took flight, the interval arrived and we were the happiest bunnies on earth, now knowing it would be ages before  having Michael back on stage! We found out the joke of losing the feather thing, the baron wears on his crown, was cancelled again. However, I really had a slight moment of shock when the children were caught, Truly screaming and the toyshop drove back, the right door not closing! I had the accident with Chitty and the ship in mind, when the door slightly hit the last house on its side before the curtains fell. Phew! Nothing happened and we were treated with our show favourites (next to the Michael bits): Chu-Chi-Face and Bombie Samba....

Woooohooooo. Nichola is always a sight in these clothes, is not she? I think the hardest part for Steve as the Baron appears to be lifting Nichola on his shoulder! He managed with quite a bit of trouble much to the cheering of the audience. Poor Steve was completely out of breath, when he had to sing the next notes! Sorry to be drooling somewhere else, but did you have a closer look at all the dancers in Bombie Samba? What a sight, uhummmm........

The evening was coming to its end, unfortunately! And how many things we had discovered we had not seen before. Just mentioning the music doll part where Truly is alone on stage at first. I never saw how one of the Baron's dancers falls in love with her! How cute! The story took its final turn, when for the first time ever I closely listened to what both Caractacuses were saying after the childcatcher took his leave or was taken (it was something like: Caractacus: We thought he was you! Or you were him.. Grandpa: I am me, who else should I be?). It really was great to hear all these small dialogues you would never be able to understand when sitting further back!

Of course we went to the stage door after the show and met up with Gill and Maureen again. Thanks to you both for the things you told us (don't worry all, NOT really Michael related)! You two really made our day besides Michael and we  had no idea the best was yet to come! Should tell you all that this was our first night there. Julia and me wanted to have another photo with Michael sometime in the week. The only trouble was: none of our friends were coming later in the week and I am too shy to ask anyone else to take a photo of us. So I really got myself to it and asked Gill and Maureen, if they could take a photo with my camera, if I am able to ask Michael for it! Of course Maureen agreed (Bless you!). We were getting nervous, more and more, because, we were in our all day clothes, no make up and boy Michael took his time tonight! Paul O'Grady had a camera team in the show and this team was now waiting for him to get out to film him. He took his sweet time, until he was finally out, being funny again, giving autographs, making jokes and finally even taking the mobile of a fan to talk to someone at the other end! Then Paul was finally gone, but unfortunately the camera team was not! They stayed for some more time, for whatever reason. We had Gareth getting in and out every now and then. Finally the team left and Michael got out, following his new manager! Did one of you ever get to see Gavin Baker? Among the managers Michael had so far he is for sure by far the best looking! No offence meant to James, Phil or David ;-).

There he was and I was only having this one chance, standing at the side, shaking, when Michael got closer, me at the very front I could not wait for others to start to just get in line for photos, but had to ask myself. Oooer. I was shaking, my voice was shaking, when I just asked him (at least I hope I did): "Michael could you do us a favour and do a photo with us?" at least that is what I wanted to say, I am sure, what got out was 100 % rubbish! I can never speak when he is close and mostly I look like a complete idiot! He smiled broadly, said something (another thing, I am never able to remember what he says to me!) and put his arms around us. BOOOOOYYYYYYYYYY, WOW!!! Great God, I was in heaven, directly in heaven! Maureen took some time, until the photo was done and boy, these  were the best seconds of our week(for a few days..)! I hardly dared touching his back, but finally did slightly and god, does he feel good, uhuuummm! I was in heaven, smiling broadly and then started taking some photos, when the roll was finished and some strange sound followed. I was shocked! The roll did not wind up!!!!!! I was desperately searching for the button to press that is there just in case. I knew it was somewhere, it had to be somewhere. I did not notice, when and how Michael left! Finally I managed to and the most beautiful sound on earth was there! The photo was safe!

Even Colder Feet

It took us ages to get to sleep finally, but we managed. Guess what sound it was that woke me up later on? Drip.......... drip ....... drip ........ drip....... Okay and hooray. Shower and the knowledge, I will have to move beds tonight! The dripping stopped and just before we left our room it started to rain on my bed! Luckily I had put everything aside and nothing could be wet! Anyway, we had to get to the stage door, so no time for complaints or anything, as we did not have the time to pack our stuff and move to another room!

When we got out, what would you think? Of course it rained as well outside. Hoooray! It still rained heavily, when we appeared at the Palladium. Michael had not arrived so far and so we sought shelter at a side entrance to see the dogs arrive and some more fans. True Michael fans you have to be, to stand there in December in the pouring rain! Now guess what? The rain got less heavy and we got over to the stage door and met Jan Garner again, to whom we were introduced for the first time properly after more or less meeting her so often in the past. We had a lovely chat before the rain stopped and yes you guess right. Michael just arrived two minutes later.

He was the most gorgeous sight ever in his wooly Nike hat and the cream jacket and again wearing those trousers he had already worn the day before. Slightly green jeans with chinese (?!? Helen, don't slap me!) dragons embroidered on one leg. God, did he look great! He said hi to Jan and her friend whose name escapes me and posed again for photos, autographs and everything! We stayed for a bit until we said our goodbyes to Jan and her friend again, who had come down to see the Royal Variety and of course some Michael!

Getting Enough? NEVAH!!!

Tonight we were in the front row of the Royal Circle, which meant we were about to see the show in its full glory. Really shocking: We were alone in the front row, centre block of the royal circle! Only minutes before the show started four guys took their seats who rather seemed the types of people you would expect at a football match (don't get me wrong: I love football!). The same was applying for the front of the stalls, only one girl in the side block, the rest seemed to stay empty!

So far this Wednesday night will stay in my memory as the worst Chitty show I had been part of so far. Not because the actors were not good, they were all as fabulous as ever! The problem was the audience who did not laugh at just one point! Maybe that is the reason, why I don't remember much more despite we had a different Boris tonight! So their improvisations were missing as well. Tonights Blooper: when Grandpa and the inventors work on the Barons car, it did not crash. It still looked fabulous.. So the Baron came back complaining, they were lazy and just did nothing! For the first time I noticed Steve doing something Hannibal Lecter - like (you know, this really scary sound Anthony Hopkins keeps making in Silence of the Lambs) when he threatens Grandpa!

When Michael got out of the stage door, there were loads of children and people who wanted to have autographs, he took his time to sign away, while I took my time to take some photos. Gareth was looking at me, saying: "Can't you get enough?" I smiled broadly at him and said. "Of course I can't!" Just got a heartattack, when Michael looked up from signing into my direction giving me one of the cutest smiles I have ever seen!

I changed beds the night, as I really could not sleep in my old one anymore! It was Thursday and we were woken up by bright sunshine and the most beautiful day of the week. And what did we make of it? We stayed inside a building for the whole day (not Michael related , so no interesting bits to report about that)! Hooray.

The Flash Named Michael!

We got back to the Palladium in time after having had something to eat before. The stage door was strangely empty (always a bad sign!), but at least there were two other fans waiting! So he should not be there already, should he? Gareth came and told us we were too late L . Sigh, okay, these things happen! The other two fans came up to us and introduced themselves as Joan and SharonA! We had a lovely time together chatting about Michael and about everything it seemed. These are two really, really lovely ladies!

As we had our things all with us (You see? We learned!), we changed our clothes at the public loos of Borders bookshop. Our seats were again centre of the front row and we prayed like mad that someone else might come up, as we were completely alone there until two minutes before the show started. A young couple took their seats at our side. The guy made himself comfortable when he got rid of his shoes (thank you!).

The special thing about this night was for sure the chemistry we had this and the following night with Nichola. We just killed ourselves laughing and she paid tribute to it. We had her winking and smiling at us every now and then throughout the show! It was such great fun! Though I don't know, if I should be thrilled, that Nichola fled when the children took over, running in front of us, stopping, looking at me and giving her nightly "Oooer!" LOL

After the show we were waiting until the orchestra was finished, when suddenly someone tipped on Julia's and my shoulder. We turned around to look into the bright smiling faces of Nikki and her mum. Wow, what a hello and what a surprise! We went with them to the stage door, where we met up with Joan, Sharon and many other people we know, but still don't know the names of! Anyway,  Michael left soon after the show, or should I say, there was a flash that looked like Michael, spoke like Michael, walked like Michael and was off in two seconds, repeating the lines. "Did you like it? CU soon, bye bye!" and off he was! There was someone in the audience he knew, family or close friends. He was winking to the Royal circle every now and then and was just as if he were on drugs! (Ecstasy? Caffeine? Nah, just good ole Adrenalin!) As basically all the members of the cast seemed to be that night! At the end of the interval we saw a lady in the front row, taking her seat, who quite resembled Michael's younger sister Katherine, so maybe that was the reason he left so soon!

Quite strange to have him gone that fast, but after another minutes of goodbyes we were back at the hotel and tried to split all the stuff we brought down from Stella. Slowly realising, it will be quite hard to get everything home to Germany! We got into bed around 4 pm, when we both decided who should get what. We felt a bit down, cause our London time was almost over. Tomorrow, there was not a minute left to see anything really, as we had to get to Victoria, to get our car and then get something to pack our huge pressies from Stella. We could not get it to Germany without packing it well. So we needed stuff for this. Afterwards off to the Palladium, sigh.

Bunnies = Madness (aka: Just Three Little Words!!!!)

Spraying rain started when we got there and it got worse and worse. Wind started, too, and we were as cold as ice within minutes. We had to be mad, who on earth would be sane and standing there forever??????

We were really, really early. Luckily we did not have to wait for long until some other fans appeared. Pat and Caty from Yorkshire, who are not online.Some of the nicest ladies I have ever met. We chatted for a long time, had some good laughs and a bit of drooling, we did not even get our cameras out, when just minutes before 5 pm Julia said. "Hey, look Emma is over there!" I turned and saw Emma getting out of a car on the other side of the street, when I went. "Yes and it's Michael at her side!" We got hectic getting our cameras out and I just had mine ready, when he was crossing the street. As my flash still needed time to re-adjust I had to follow Michael by turning around slowly, when he walked past me. So I had, Michael, Michael, Michael, Michael, BLACK! Wow, wait, where is Michael? Took the camera away and stood just in front of the big black wooden gate... Oooer, got around it to see Michael leaving in a haste getting inside the stage door. Was he even faster than yesterday? Sigh, anyway our last evening and I only had one photo. We had the coldest experience since Chelmsford (12 hours spent sitting in pouring rain in summer clothes..)  just for 10 seconds of Michael and I still thought it was worth it! Nothing you should tell non Michael-fans! (Grant, don't read this!)

Just the moment Michael had arrived, friends of Pat and Caty arrived as well, to whom they were talking now. As we wanted to say our proper goodbyes we waited for them. Otherwise we would have been gone. Horrible thought, though for sure we would not have known, what we would have missed!!!!!!! So read on!!!

We stood there for some minutes, when the door behind Julia at which I was looking opened as it does so often over the day. I did not pay much attention, when I think Pat suddenly said. "Look there he is!" Where is who? I thought. Oh my god! We looked at two people crossing the street, a guy and a lady. Both dressed dark. He was wearing a  dark hat, dark jacket (Chitty jacket!!), dark trousers and you could not see any hair, the hands hidden in his pockets. I did not need one tenth of a second to recognise Michael in the dark from behind (We would recognise this back anywhere at anytime!)! He had just left the theatre again! We were cold, we were still wet, we were still dying to get inside some heated building, but now Michael left and he would have to come back, would not he? YES!

We had to wait for almost another hour until Michael crossed the street again, winking and saying "I tricked you, huh?". Julia and me could not have said anything as we were again just drooling (PATHETIC!)! I somehow ended up close to the ramp leading to the stage door, when Michael signed some stuff. I was taking a photo and asked him, if he could stand for one photo and he did. Bless him. The best was yet to come though! I looked through my camera, when I heard Caty starting. "These girls came from Germany to see you!" I thought I lost it. Then Michael looked from her to us, grinned broadly and for the first time ever, when he said something to us, or rather about us, I will never forget it, I still hear him saying: "YES, I KNOW!" You should have heard the sound of his voice, just as if someone tried to introduce him to a good friend. My jaw dropped open, I must have looked the most stupid in all my life, when he continued smiling at us, getting closer in what seemed to be slow-motion! I don't know, what made me do it, but I finally thanked him for including my photo for the second time in the fan club calendar! Of couse I again don't know what he replied to me with with unbelievable smile.

Julia and me exchanged the weirdest glances, before we got back to Pat and Caty hopping up and down like the bunnies we are and thanking them forever for what they did. Many people will never understand how much these three words mean for Julia and me! It was not much he did, but it's.... I can't put it into words! I really can't! Does it sound strange to be ecstatically thrilled to know Michael Ball does know of your existence? It might, but .... let me put it this way: We were afterwards exchanging addresses with Pat and Caty and after we said our goodbyes we  walked to Marks and Spencer's to get fresh squeezed orange juice and we were floating, hopping up and down, screaming, emitting sounds of Guinea pigs and not caring for wet clothes, coldness or anything else! We were happy. Ecstatically, endlessly, ever-lastingly, fundamentally happy! Complete bliss!  And let me say this: After getting back to Germany I had busy weeks at work and could not get to write this earlier! Thinking of these words, hearing his voice and I am happy again. Julia and me call each other daily and we are still the two Guinea pigs, when one of us says in disbelief: "He knows about us!" THANK YOU MICHAEL!!!!!!


Our last show was brilliant. The theatre was packed again and the cast was in a hilarious mood. We had Boris back again and you saw the difference between the understudies and them. They improvised so much! The whole night was just a great laugh and at the moment I can't from the top of my head remember anything going wrong! One last word about the children though: They were fantastic. The girls were even better than the boys! Especially Jeremy and Jemima did a great job!

Our week came to an end, when we stood at the stage door, slowly realising, that this would be our last night. Maybe forever, with some luck we might be able to get to the last show, but not too sure so far!

SharonA was there again. It was her birthday and she spent it with Michael, while the whole week was my big present for my 26 th   birthday a week earlier! All that I planned was thanking Michael for the week. He always makes London even more special than it is anyway. Michael got out and congratulated Sharon. He stood there with her forever, so she could get her very special birthday photo! I took some as well. It was very crowded that day and I knew I did not have much of a chance to say the planned goodbye. I did not want to push my way to him, so I just hoped I might have a chance, when he was walking closer to me. So when he stood there only two people in between us, I said. "Thanks for the week Michael." I was sure he did not hear me, as he made two steps further away. Well, you had your time this afternoon and I was happy with it, when it happened. Michael turned, looked at me and asked, if this was our last night. I nodded and told him we had to leave. He was so brilliant, wishing us a safe and nice journey back home. His blue eyes on mine! Smiling! A memory I will treasure forever. Michael had to go on then. Only some time was left for us, then he got into his car and was gone!

Bye Bye Michael

I just hate these moments. When you get back to the hotel and you just know: You are not going to see him again tomorrow. You have to pack your stuff, you have to leave tomorrow. What can I say, depression was altered with "He-knows-us-screams"! The night was short, we put everything into the car and left in time to get to Stansted. I had to pay six kilos overweight for all the Michael stuff. I wish she had not checked my backpack! So it was an expensive goodbye, especially, when we left our huge things at the special check-in with a bad feeling. (Julia's did not arrive in Berlin! Luckily it arrived one day later and was brought to her house!).

What else can I say? The worst part of our trip was still to come. I had to say goodbye to Michael, I had to say goodbye to London . Saying goodbye to Bunny. Looking back now it felt like in a movie, hugging, boarding, hugging each other over the barrier and then waving from the steps of the plane in the spraying rain to the waving bunny inside the terminal building. I really hate this! And what did expect me in Germany? Nothing, but the ice age and a week that never saw temperatures above 0 ° C!!!! Life had me back all too soon, which is the reason I could not write this earlier. Hope you like d it. By the way, thanks to my busy bunny who re-read this text and who contributed most of the stuff written in brackets.

Thanks Michael and thanks Julia! You two (and a certain lady we did not get to see this time!) are just the greatest! Not to forget Pat and Stella, as well as Pat and Caty, Gill and Maureen, who helped creating the most special memories for us!

04/09/2004 14:32

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