Quite an early start as although my work in Leeds starts at midday, the train times mean I had to leave on the 10.11 train. And before this, I had to deliver the pumpkin soup to St Nicks.
So, I was up before 8 and had a shower and hair wash, Gill made my sandwiches and ironed my costume, I breakfasted and packed, loaded the bike. Gill was worried about my taking the preserving pan of soup on my bike, but it was quite easy and I got it to St Nicks un-spilled and with the loose-fitting lid still on. Catherine, our head Rotter, was pleased to see this.
Then onto the station and got my day return to Cross Gates. Once there, it was a 15 minute walk up a hill to the Church hall where Swiis Foster Care were having a half-term fun day, with about 20 children and the same number of adults invited. I arrived an hour early, as the next train of the day would have meant me getting there only minutes before being due to start, so I got the earlier train and had an hour to wait. However, there was an aerobics class going on so I sat quietly at the back and half-read, half watched this... I've never seen anything like it!
They finished at 11.30 and I got set up, got changed and the guests and organisers started to arrive. One of the staff, Gael, is a friend of mine from the Northern Green Gathering, and it was lovely to see her again. I was glad to be in costume to welcome the children, and I played throw/catch with my juggling balls, although one got lost. At 12.15 I started my show, and they were obviously completely un-used to live interactive entertainment. But quite soon I had nearly all of the children and a couple of the adults up and doing things, and the show lasted just over an hour.
As usual, whilst they were eating, I inflated a unicycle-wheel full of modelling balloons and then got everybody, including all the adults, having an attempt at making balloon animals. Lots of fun, finishing just before 3pm.
Got changed, got paid, got back to Cross Gates where I finished my NewScientist and was back in York for 4.20. Home via Country Fresh, where Martin had got me God knows how much unsold stock... I was only able to take two boxes of it on my pannier rack as my trailer was full of unicycles and juggling equipment.
I had a quick tea as soon as I got back, the boys were finishing theirs prior to going out to the St Nicks Pumpkin evening. I took my big pumpkin down, to enter it into the giant pumpkin competition, despite it being not much bigger than a human head. I decided to go via Country Fresh and picked up two sacks full of compostables and a big tray of grapes in punnets, each punnet having some mouldy grapes in, but, crucially, some good ones too! I left them in the punnets... and went to St Nicks and arrived at the same time as Gill and the boys who had walked down.
The pumpkin evening was very well attended, with quite a few folks I knew, including Jeremy Piercy, Jim and family, and Robin, to name but a few. My boys both carved a pumpkin, I had mine weighed and it was 24 lbs, and the biggest of three entrants! It looked like my medium pumpkin was the winner of the Giant Pumpkin Competition! Unfortunately, when the judge of the pumpkin carving arrived, Anneliese, and she chose her first, second and third from three age categories, neither of my boys won anything... but I won a new model of wormery called a Worm Cafe, see this (silent) video about how to use it! I was amazed.. I really hadn't thought I'd win. And it's worth close on £100! I balanced it precariously on top of the sacks of compostables and walked home with my family.
A quiet evening, slicing apples and sorting and blanching grapes. More raisins in a few days!