Dollywood is not the Answer…

Today’s Gallery Theme: Gym Bunnies


A number of correspondents (and indeed, local people) have asked us why we don’t approach a local theme park as the answer to our problem with the sudden cancellation of the expected summer-vacation circus tour. Well, several reasons. ‘Dollywood’, which is part-owned by Dolly Parton, lies about 50 miles south-east of us here in Tennessee near Pigeon Forge – close enough, perhaps to continue living at home, one might think. Apart from a collective hatred of theme parks and roller coasters in general, and the huge crowds that populate them, there are some practical reasons. A lifestyle one, first: they forbid guys to visit there shirtless!


However, they do employ visiting troupes, and we know that our friends have seen groups from India and China (for example) performing shirtless on one of their stages, which apparently is allowed. The problem is that the schedule is hugely demanding in these places – numerous shows a day, and lengthy contracts at the lowest possible rates – and certainly they are fixed up for this summer. And you would have to fit in your training after the park closed, making for excessive physical demands which I would not wish to inflict upon the younger ones (nor me, frankly!), as well as ruling out commuting. So it’s not something we would really contemplate for the future, either. But thanks for the suggestion, guys!

river viiperi special (78)

Much as Leo, Jaymee and their potential performing partners would like it, we need to remember that, as 14yo’s,  they are not in show business, they are in High School! We’ll find them something for a few shows, I’m sure. But most of their vacation needs to be just that – a vacation!


Frankly, a break from training wouldn’t come amiss for them either. Their dedication (to weights and acrobatics) is impressive, but is becoming all consuming. The Easter break in UK helped me to realise how much the different routine worked for all of us (even though it did include a lot of gym work with their British friends). Of course, we want them to carry on, just as we did ourselves, but not to the exclusion of ‘real life’. There is the possibility of a field trip to Iceland, for example, coming up in the autumn – somewhere I once visited as a stopover and wished to see more of. If that came off – especially as it is linked to school work! – I’d willingly pay for them to do that. And I think that it could be a challenge to fit weights gym into such a managed visit!


Their disappointment about the circus company going bust is, I think, starting to wear off too, as they realise that it gives them an opportunity in that eight-week window to actually enjoy other kinds of fun. And, in the wings, I’m working on Colin and Natasha to maybe send Ollie over here for the bit of the UK school break that overlaps with ours… or they could all come over and set up a road-trip tour after Leo is back in school at the beginning of August. We’ll just have to see.

“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.

Dolly Parton


The first part...


The second part...



(I assume he is ‘ADDICTED’ to his weight training…)


Cover 3 Thumb




Finally, for today, a lifter in a vest, which I think actually improves the composition of the photo by emphasising his successes:



About tony

Born Northampton UK
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