Sunday, 23 September 2007

Sunday 23rd September 07

Joy of joys, a lie-in, what a treat! And a very lazy morning followed, watched some Freeview 'Scrapheap Challenge' as eating breakfast... a weird time to put this programme on, but as I watched it, I expect others did too! Towards lunchtime the boys got up, and I had lunch and then went into the garden to do some compost heap management, which rendered me very pongy, so I came in and had a shower, as I was due to be at a party at 3pm.

I got ready, loaded my bike up and got changed into my entertainment gear as the party is quite local, at the Healthy Living Centre, Millers Yard, Gillygate. I popped in to Martins Country Fresh on the way down to town, to ask that any compostables are left outside tonight next to the bins, where I'll pick them up later. Arrived at Millers Yard at 2.55, and was immediately surrounded by hoards of little very enthusiastic children, all keen on seeing 'The Funny Man'.

I said 'Hello' to the Dad who'd booked me and was ushered into the room where the party performance was to take place. The party was not really to celebrate a birthday, but to forge friendships between the newly arrived family, fresh from Australia, and the local children. So the youngster's birthday had been several months previously, but he was having a party today to help make friends here.

As they were very young, I had agreed to do a short performance of circus skills, which went well, they laughed a lot, as I obviously am a funny man, as I was wearing a silly hat, have daft shoes and do weird things with juggling balls and sticks. So had a 15 minute mini-show and then moved on to modelling balloons, blowing a load up as various little ones came out to try to blow up a balloon, which is more or less impossible for most people, including the Dad, and this gave me time to inflate 20 or so, with my lungs, as I am able to do!

So then made a small number of demonstration models, a dog, rabbit, bird, a 'watchdog' with one of the grownup's watches inside the dog, and finally, an elephant, to remind the audience the basics of balloon modelling. Then I invited youngsters to work together with a grownup to do a balloon animal, or if they preferred, sit in an area where I then made them an animal of their choice. I was delighted to see several good models being made by child/adult combos, and the children enjoyed the different models I made. Finally I organised the competitions for the models I made to be given to the youngsters, as I don't want to take them back home. I finished at exactly 4pm, as requested.

Zoomed home and arrived as our guests arrived in their hire car. Wendy and Brian are from New Zealand, and Wendy is the mother of my second cousins, Amanda and Chris. Wendy's first husband, Tony, my Dad's cousin, died as he was a heavy drinker, and Wendy has remarried a lovely gentle man, and they seem like a really good couple. They are writing a blog about their travels through, which is W and B in UK ( So they were treated to a brief Fiddlesticks demo before I got changed and put my stuff away, and they gave us some gifts from Kiwiland... the boys were given a New Zealand hat each, and a tiki, I think, and Gill received a kiwi tea-towel and a pau-shell necklace. I was happy with a New Zealand woolly hat.

I took them on a tour of the garden... they visited about 5 years ago, and it has grown since then, as have the boys, who were about 2 and 4 then. They stayed the night that time, but today, just for a meal. Gill had made a quiche with home-grown broccoli and onion, home-grown potato and green beans and baby tomatoes. They brought a bottle of New Zealand wine, delicious! When in the garden, Brian picked a plant from the edge of the lawn and asked me what it was, so I brought it inside and looked it up, as it is a weed in New Zealand and takes over the lawn. It turned out to be 'Self Heal' and has a pretty purple flower.

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