Sunday, 22 July 2007

Saturday 21st July 07 - Masham Steam Rally

First thing this morning, after listening to the weather forecast, Gill suggested that instead of camping, I could see if our friends in Masham, who have a Bed and Breakfast Guest House, had had any cancellations and therefore a space. She rang them and there were no cancellations, but Sue offered me a space on her couch, something I've said yes to before! So I said yes and felt quite a relief that I didn't have to try and sleep whilst damp and cold, in a noisy festival site... showing my age perhaps?

Then got loaded up and cycled to the station, unloaded and locked my bike up and got my ticket, got the 9.26 to Thirsk. When there, was met by Steve who's been booked to drive a water tanker on the site, and lives in Thirsk, so he was happy to pick me up. Very pleasent guy, good chats and he dropped me off at the old station yard which is where many of the traction engines and other vehicles are taken off their low-loaders. The site was very muddy, the field was well churned up by all the vehicle movements, and I knew I was in for a tough time.

I went to the Theakston's Brewery lorry where there are demonstrations of coopering, barrel-making, with top cooper Jonathan. I left my little unicycle and bag o jugglestuff there and hopped on the big uni and cycled up to Masham, to see Sue and George and get changed into my Fiddlesticks gear. On the way there, I noticed a ceramic mug on the verge, I hopped off and was suprised to find it was a Beatles 'Abbey Road' mug! What a find... what a loss! Wondered if I should report this as a found item to the local fuzz, but when I got to Sue and George's I forgot about it and got on with preparing for the day's entertainment.

So after a quick shop in Leah's deli, for some teatime victuals, I unicycled back to the site in full costume and was ready to do as well as I could in the circumstances.

As the ground was very wet and it rained on and off, I stuck to unicycling and balloon modelling, both of which are possible in the wet, whereas devilsticks isn't. I had a good day, with loads of people commenting on my ability to unicycle in mud and on soft ground. It isn't that difficult, it's the bumps, or changes in texture which are difficult to cope with, such as from soft and squidgy to harder firmer ground, which can't be seen easily. It was good to be able to hop off and go into balloon modelling mode, got loads out.

Enjoyed lunch, the folks at MSR always provide lunch for volunteers and workers, and as I'm the only vegetarian on site (you should see how many hog roasts there are!) they do me a separate platter, with quiche, lettuce, hard boiled eggs, pasta salad, cucumber, potato salad and more..., followed by trifle, washed down with's a wonder I can get myself onto my unicycle afterwards!

The usual rally procession didn't happen, as many of the traction engines were pretty much stuck, so they didn't come off site and parade up to the town square, as they normally do on Saturday teatime. A bit of a disappointment, as this is a big crowd-pleaser. However, I unicycled up there as usual, and a couple of engines did too, and some lighter vehicles like landrovers, an old steam bus, some minature traction engines. I did lots of unicycling around and gave out more balloons to add to the fun atmosphere. I rang Gill at about 7.45 to say goodnight to the boys and tell her all was well, and retired to Sue and George's, and had a big tea of bread and bits, with some Merry Down cider, which I was pleased to find in Leah's deli at only £2.15 for the litre.

I stayed in, watched Top Of The Pops 2 'Disco Special', which took me back a few years, and went to bed quite early for me, at 11pm. Slept well on the couch.

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