Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Tuesday 18th November 08

Awoke at 4am and went downstairs, put a log on the embers in the stove, had some soluble aspirin, did some washing up and went to bed again at about 5, getting up at 8ish to get ready for work. Last night's bath seemed to have made me feel just slightly better, better enough to cycle down to the station with reduced Fiddlesticks kit and get the 9.44 to Leeds.

This was my second year working for the Leeds Metropolitan University's 'Responsible Tourism' event, where a group of schoolchildren are invited to create a poster about responsible tourism, have it judged, be given lunch, get some entertainment and a little bit of PR about Leeds Met. This is a difficult gig for me, for three reasons, although a good one to do for at least two! Firstly I hate judging things as I really dislike creating a 'winner/loser' culture, possibly because I don't remember ever being a winner (except once, the High Jump in the second year of Humberstone Juniors in Leicester!). But as my role is to be part of the judging panel (Damn, I'm head of the panel this year!) I have to fulfil my role!
Secondly, my view of 'responsible tourism' is probably quite a lot more deep green than anyone else there... I am open about pledging never to fly again and my opposition to airport expansion and flying as a transport mode, yet the mainstream view of responsible tourism includes many measures within the country visited, ie things to do/not do once you are there, often by aeroplane.
Finally, my usual one hour routine has to be shortened for the time frame allowed, so I have to prune out bits of the show which I think make it more enjoyable and rounded... but hey, if I'm given 35 minutes, I am professional (and just about flexible) enough to do a 35 minute set with a beginning, middle and end.

So, I walked from the Station up to the University, getting there in ample time to get changed and meet the schoolchildren, and explain why I was with them today. Then starting at 11 I had two half-hour sessions looking at the posters and talking to the creators about what they'd included, which this year was a lot better than last year, as there was a focus on the responsibility aspect rather than particular destinations. They'd nearly all included not flying (!!!) but had suggested boats and ferries instead, one or two were anti car and pro train and bike! There was lots about not littering, disrupting local wildlife, shopping locally, not buying animal-based trinkets, learning the local language, fair trade and the like. One of the other judges was a ?Masters student called Paula, from Spain, and I ate my lunch with her, good chats as we shared some interests.

My show went well, although more exhausting than normal due to my less than 100% health situation, and giving the prizes was OK too. I was finished by 2, back in York by 3, in bed by 3.20, sleeping til 5. Very very unusual for me to need so much sleep.

Then repacked the bike trailer and at 5.30 set off for Dunnington for the second bite of Brownie Circus Performers badge, from 6 til 8. At 7.45 all the Brownies' families arrived, perhaps about 60 of them, to see the Brownies perform the tricks they have begun to learn. I was really impressed by some of the girls, they all worked hard and some achieved quite a lot, and we all had fun, even though I felt nauseous and tired through most of the workshop.

Home and unpacked by 9pm... a very long and exhausting day, but worth recording in some detail as despite my feeling unwell, I have enjoyed it.

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