The BELLEVUE HOTEL landlady was flying the Euro flag this summer, and with the help of her European guests she managed to defeat the UK gangster boss in every single show.
With trips to Poland (twice) and also performances in France, Belgium, Germany and Bulgaria, the summer of 2018 was great fun and special in many ways. But our recent 10-day round trip to Sofia stands out as the highlight, for the following reasons.
It was our last gig of the summer and we had a great reception from the lovely Bulgarian people. Our niece Kesha (18 years) took over from JoJo at very short notice, and did a brilliant job, and our son Lochlann (17) played piano and orchestrated the show like never before.
It was also an epic 3,300-mile round trip – from the north to the south of France, over the Alps via the Mont Blanc tunnel, across Italy to Ancona, a ferry to Greece, east to Thessalonica and then turn left for Sofia.
And finally, it was our last scheduled performance in Europe before 29th March and Brexit…and still we have no idea how this will affect us and the many other UK street performers who work across the Channel.
Roughly 75 per cent of our summer work is in Europe. Frequently we drive through France, Belgium, Holland and Germany not even noticing that we have crossed a border. Sometimes at a ferry port an interested customs official might take a look in the back of the van, where they find, to great amusement, the ‘dead body’ that features in our show. But we need no visas, no carnets, and we can drive from Stockholm to Malaga without showing a passport and paying in Euros all the way.
In contrast to this, for our trip to Turkey last year (outside the customs union) we needed visas, a carnet and additional van insurance at considerable extra cost. Right now we have no idea if this will be the new requirement, possibly for just one day’s work in Calais!
BELLEVUE HOTEL will continue undaunted to fly the Euro flag next summer, and we hope that European promoters will continue to welcome us. In the meantime, you never know, a People’s Vote might just stop all this nonsense.
We hope for the best…