Ty Hafan

#family friday

my first few weeks at ty hafan

A word of caution to new starters, especially those starting around December time – if you are sent to see “what the pantomime is all about”, you are being stitched up!

Everyone loves a good panto. For many, they mark the official start to the Christmas period and, for most, they are a good opportunity to have a right good laugh at some bearded bloke dressed as an ugly sister.


My first week at Ty Hafan was, I think, fairly unique as far as first weeks go. I browsed through never-before-seen originals of Gren cartoons in his family home with Jamie Baulch and wasn’t overly convinced by Ragsy’s choice of what version of Coldplay’s ‘The Scientist’ he should release.

My second week, however! My meeting scheduled for 9.30am Monday morning was postponed and I was told to go and watch the hospice pantomime, a way for us to say thank you to corporate sponsors for their hard work and a bit of Christmassy fun. It did sound fun so I went without fuss. I sat down and sat back.

“This the new guy? Right, you’re a princess.”

“No, I’m not.”

“Yes, you are. Follow me.”

Now, I’m not really a good sport when it comes to this kind of thing. I prefer blending into the background, but it didn’t seem like I had much choice. I begrudgingly followed and, sure enough, was handed a very fetching purple dress with orange trim. Three more blokes, none of whom I recognised, came into the changing room and chose their dresses. Actually I think I got off fairly lightly, at least mine wasn’t an off-the-shoulder bridal gown.

After the application of blusher, purple sparkly eye shadow and high heels, I was ready. I still didn’t recognise anyone apart from the Queen, who, it turns out, was similarly stitched up (albeit in a more dignified fashion). The nerves got the better of me and I nipped to the toilet, only to turn the (literal) tap on too strongly and covered my dress in water (a sentence I never thought I would ever write). Only much later did I learn that most of these other people were from corporate partners, Admiral and EE, and VOLUNTEERED for this. Good sports, wierdos.

That was enough of that though. I showed willing, all in good fun, it’s for the kids after all. Someone else’s turn next. My mum was proud of me, I’m not sure dad was. Friday came and went without my agent finding me a role, but I did get to watch it this time. I was upset to see, and for it to be confirmed to me, that the person who wore my dress wore it better.

Along came Monday again and I was asked to make up the crowd, as there was a film crew and Hollywood stars Craig Roberts and Sai Bennett attending. I was happy to do so as long as I wasn’t going to be in it. Well guess what? My agent was back and said to me; “what is the point in having a full crowd and not enough performers?” Good point I suppose. My colleague, however, was much too poorly to take part, poor soul, so I took one for the team and swore never to set foot in the hospice again.

This time I ended up being Buzz Lightyear and, full disclosure, it was a dream come true. As a bonus, the lovely Sai Bennett seemed incredibly impressed with my performance too.

When I am not prancing around in fancy dress, I have been moonlighting as a tree surgeon, as a few of us managed to massacre the Christmas tree in the chapel, been in a few photo shoots and flown solo over the Atlantic. I promise I will start working on the tasks in my role profile soon.