Day 8, We start the day with tiny people. Gainsville, FL

Up and at’em, we are picked up by Derek from the University of Florida and he whisked us to the most wonderful local elementary school for Performing Arts, where 95 faces aged betwixt 5 and 10 were placed in front of us in assembly audience format, and we, well I guess you could call is a display, while we displayed at them. Ok maybe the wrong semantics there but we presented our work into the faces and eyes of this young generation that sat enraptured in front of us. And yes, in front of a wall of stars.

They were a very special group of kids. When we first walked in, before the presentation, we witnessed them in mid rehearsal for their holiday show. They were singing about wonder and wonderment and it made Sophie cry – turns out Sophie is a cry-er. Their teacher, who had a remarkable resemblance to the awesome Gene Wilder, was singing along and performerating his best to get them to perform along with him, it was quite a treat.

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We performed for the whole school, and managed to get the them to join us in singing ‘Salva Nos’. Clarey led the vocal warm up and the eager little beavers enthusiastically copied her playful warm up techniques, then we all sang ‘Salva Nos’ as mentioned. Charlie led a small and concise demo on 5 of his many arsenal of instruments with a wee little twiddle on each one at the end, it was nice for us to sit and be played at by Princess Charlie of Cawood himself, (I introduced the workshop and, as were wearing crowns introduced each member of the band as a princess, and continued suit when intro-ing Charlie as he has long hair). I then whipped out the Hurdy Gurdy, when I played it some of the smaller children put their hands over their ears, the honesty of children often provide the best audiences. As it was, we had a wonderful hour in this tiny school amongst the trees covered in Spanish Moss, we are in swamp land after all. Then we were driven by the lovely Derek to the University of Florida campus.

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What a grand and beautiful venue, like the inside of a 1920’s cathedral. Here there are many healthy looking bronzed hot young things studying and cycling about. Hammocks are spread amongst tree trunks and there is to be some sort of Lebanese gathering on campus later, we will miss this due to the gig but we enjoyed the massive banner with gaffer tape lettering nonetheless. We met the other boys there and went off to find a salad – so much non salad food to be consumed in this fair country. We found ‘The Swamp’ and chowed down on some serious salad, as well as pushing in a few sugar coated sweet potato fries, when in Rome.

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Then it was back to the venue, with a dressing room which contained the longest bank of sinks and so many glamorous little make up ‘booths’. Some of us had a little lie down and then half the other ladies entered with bright green smoothies and promptly chose this quiet time to sit and meditate. This is not a usual happening but it was quite powerful, as I lay behind them my mind suddenly cleared of all thoughts and I found total clarity, then I realised I was dribbling again, damn it, thought I’d nailed the art of meditation for a few seconds there.

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Ooh then we had a mother little walk and Clarey ‘made friends’ with a gator. Not to be seen by Pom, who really really hates Gators.

The show was akin to one of our cathedral shows, which, of course, we would be doing right now back in the UK but currently we are perfectly happy to be sweating this baby out here in Florida. We met Angel right after the show and were showered with little Christmas gift bags filled with goodies and love from Angel, this made us very happy.

I think, as we are halfway through now, our giddy madness about being in the States on tour has subsided a little, or maybe we are all just really knackered. Touring in surprisingly exhausting. There is a lot of driving and hauling suitcases from one hotel into another, there is little time to relax and we are never in the same place for more than a day. Although I say that, but tonight we go back to our ‘Bates’-esque Mo/Hotel and assume the same ‘party’ positions as last night. Clarey, however, abstained from the muscle relaxants this evening and we all took it a little easier as tomorrow morning is an early start – well 9am, ha.

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