So, just who is Nell? Well, I had planned on doing a post about her later on in the year as Nell Gifford owns, along with her husband Toti, the wonderful and amazing GIFFORDS CIRCUS..... (in England) .
In 2000 Nell and her husband Toti built their 1930s style circus from scratch. With no training in carpentry, Toti transformed a dilapidated wagon they found in a ditch into a cosy home. He then built a big top and circus wagons, which were all painted their trademark 'Giffords red'. By the spring of 2002, he had finished the vital component to all travelling circuses: the catering wagon and this was the year they started touring.
Now, before you think.. "No, I don't like going to circuses" ... Let me tell you - this is not just any old circus. It is a wonderful, traditional small circus along with a pretty, sawdust floored big top and it tours the West of England each Summer (they did take a break in 2007 and in 2009) but I am DELIGHTED to tell you that they are going to be touring in 2010 (starting in May I believe) and you would be mad not to go if you lived anywhere near where they may be going ... check out their website http://www.giffordscircus.com/. I would go as far as to say that even if you did not live near where they appear I would go to the West Country especially and stay in a B and B or hotel for the weekend and go and see them! You honestly would not be disappointed. There are jugglers and acrobats along with a small brass band (rescued from a Parisian street corner), a little bit of fairytale, gorgeous dancing girls and a funny man -' Tweedy' but NO garish or horrible bright clowns I promise you!! I have seen them in four different shows and one year I loved it so much I went twice... I laughed till tears ran down my face during one performance and you always leave with a feeling of such euphoria. The whole audience dances in the ring to the music played by the band at the end of each performance (not mandatory of course, but infectious I warn you!)
As you can see in the photograph above - the circus touring vans painted in their vintage fashioned colours - dark maroon and cream...
I saw the show that this frog was in - think it was in 2004.
Cossack horsemen - extremely handsome and daring...! And the exotic and wonderful Nell Gifford (who rescues and trains these horses) appears in the ring several times as the Ringmaster and with her beautiful horses too... I saw her appear and perform in the outfit that she is wearing in the first photograph. Simply breathtaking....
I would make plans and book your tickets sooner rather than later if you do want to go and when you go onto the website I think it is easier to scroll down to see the categories.... I hope to see them when they come to Marlborough Common in late August.
This is a show for the WHOLE family, even for those "too-cool-for-school" teenagers, I promise (just don't tell them where you are taking them) - you will all LOVE it or I will eat my Australian Akubra hat if I had one!
Oh, and p.s. - Talking of eating, if you wanted some food afterwards they have a Circus restaurant (a 'fairy- light bedecked' marquee/tent) where you can dine with members of the show - they serve up wonderful 3 course dinners sourced from local ingredients. Again, book far in advance and on the website for this treat too at the same time as booking your tickets.