Every Saturday I take my daughter to an art class at Giles Gallery in Pontyclun. It’s a huge hit with Myfi and her confidence is growing constantly – just brilliant. Normally I drop her off and go to work, but yesterday was a little different as I’m not very well so had cleared my diary to try to get better.
So while Myfi was in her class I took 5 to look around the gallery. As I’m enjoying the art and wishing that I could take most of it home a small unassuming gent starts talking to me and asks what I do, where I live etc. and before we know it we’re sitting in the middle of the gallery putting the world to right.
My big love alongside performing is people and their stories so I start batting a few questions back. His name was Mr Jenkins which didn’t mean very much at all as there must be plenty of Jenkins in Wales. I was then told that he was from near Tonypandy.
‘I’m better known as ‘Mr Creamy’’
Me – ‘What the famous award winning ice cream?’
‘Yes that’s us. I started it in 1959 and my son Kevin now runs it and we had to change the name recently to Subzero. I started it around the kitchen table with my wife.’
I just loved how he told me his whole story. His mum was Italian (isn’t that where most famous ice creams start their journey?). The ice cream is now in shops in Cardiff and London. I loved how he smiled with pride at me.
‘My son is in charge now as I’m eighty next birthday’. Brilliant.
There are so many wonderful ice cream companies in Wales like Joe’s, Cadwalader’s and Frank’s (which is based in Carmarthenshire). I don’t really know why I was so excited to meet Mr Jenkins but I was and after hearing his story of his life going from nothing to a huge success I left the gallery a few hours later still full of cold but beaming from my unexpected meeting. I do love a vanilla ice cream.
Last week I mentioned that I would be appearing in Die Fledermaus in the Theatre Royal Bath. It must have interested a few of you as I’ve had numerous questions about it.
Most common was – ‘How do you prepare a role?’
Great question: There is so much to sort before it’s time to walk onto the stage. Flederrmaus, for example is in German and so for days I’m sitting translating the text then working with a language coach to make sure that my pronunciation is right. Then its hours at the piano with a repetiteur (from the French verb répéter meaning to repeat, go over, learn). After all that, hopefully the pie is baked.
At the moment I need my voice to reappear to get back on course but sometimes I can’t dictate …..sometimes my voice dictates to me and so for now it’s rest and wait, hope and pray. And maybe some soothing Mr Creamy ice cream!
This article was originally published in the Carmarthen Journal in Mark’s weekly column for the paper.