A work day... so, up quite early to get ready to get to the station for the 10.22 to Northallerton, getting some cash out first as I was so low on the readies a day or two ago that I had to ask my son to lend me £20 (he's brilliant at not spending and is saving up for a Nintendo Wii).
I managed to write most of a letter on the train back to my friend Kate in Leeds who's sent me a nice 'Christmas Wishes' note; she doesn't have a computer and therefore regular easy communication takes a little bit more effort.
So, Northallerton came quickly and I waited just a couple of minutes for the Coopers Dales & AAA Taxi to come (excellent service in the Bedale and Northallerton area 01609 772295) who took me to Masham and (gently) dumped me in the car park of the Black Sheep Brewery.
I was in plenty of time to have a coffee and chats to my employer Sue D, then get changed and ready to be my usual boisterous colourful self, twiddling my stick (careful, John!) and making balloon models for excited children and plenty of giggling adults too. With children I just play it 'straight' and am funny just by being dressed up and clever doing what I do, but with adults I have a range of suggestive comments and puns which only grown-ups 'get' and this atmosphere, with the ale flowing, is the perfect environment for that kind of humour, so I had a lovely day (well three and a half hours with a 10 minute break actually).
Father Christmas was his usual popular self and everybody had a good time, with good food, even better beer and appropriate entertainment. A kind gentleman who comes every year bought me a pint, which I accepted towards the end of the event once I'd stopped juggling, as even a few mouthfuls of alcoholic drink slows my reactions enough for me to become noticeably rubbish at devilsticking, as it requires needs lightening reactions and, for me, complete abstinence from alcohol.
I was surprised how quickly the end came as I was enjoying myself so much, and got changed and paid, and as I got to the car park the taxi drew up to deliver me safely back to Northallerton. I met an interesting old couple in the station waiting room, who were heading off to the Black Forest for a week. They responded to my frank approach to conversation with some very private and personal information about their marriage, which was really interesting. They said if the rest of their holiday was as interesting as their 20 minutes in Northallerton Station waiting room, they'd have had a good holiday! I do love being me! (most of the time anyway...)
I came home via Country Fresh, arriving just in time to collect a box of recyclables which went onto my bike rack, and was home by 5.15. Gill had had a good day with the boys, with no difficulties (she'd let them spend most of the day on the computer) and a relatively peaceful evening ensued.