Up early to get ready for work and camping for a couple of days.
If all goes well, and there's no knowing that it will go well, Gill will bring the boys up to Pickering on the bus and we'll meet up after my gig, and I'll spend two nights under canvass with the boys.
It did all go well. I got the 9.52 bus to Pickering which got in soon after 11, and I made my way to the Memorial Hall where I suggested to Natalie, my handler, that I'd meet her prior to the 1pm start. However, on the way there I met the Treasurer of the event who introduced herself, so although Natalie didn't turn up, I think she knew I was around. She'd asked me to text her when I got in, but 3 buttons on Gill's phone weren't working so I couldn't input her number.
But I had lunch and got changed, leaving my clothes etc in the Memorial Hall and I made my way to the Market Street to find her and find where she wanted me to work. I'd been asked to do walkabout but she was happy for me to do my usual static show; I aid I'd do that for the first hour and then reassess what was to be done, whether walkabout was the right thing to do after that.
I found a good spot on a wide bit of pavement at the top of the street, and immediately got a good audience. But I had another 'first' today: I was doing a workshop with several children balancing sticks and a small family group started to walk in front of the kids, so I tried to stop them and asked that they go behind the audience. This in itself is not uncommon, there are some rude unthinking selfish people out there. However, this group pushed past me and to make the rude intrusion as entertaining as possible for the 100 or so people watching, I larked around behind the chap with the pushchair, making faces and holding my arms up over my head to look silly/scary... and the audience laughed, which was my intention.... but the guy suddenly threw his arm back at me and thumped me in the chest. I've never been punched before in my show. It wasn't a hard punch, but visible and shocking to the audience, so I went alongside the man and said "What you've just done is assault and if you don't get out of Pickering now, I'll call the police. People like you are not welcome in Pickering." He continued walking on... and I told the audience, mostly children, that they'd just seen an example of a rude and horrible person and I hoped that none of them would ever be as nasty as that. Over the next 20 minutes or so, several adults expressed their concern for me, and shock at what he did.
In the last half hour I did a long queue of balloon animals. I had an audience member called Shaun who had been watching the whole show and I chatted with him afterwards; he was a lovely guy. I find it odd that with some people, I just 'click' and I know I've got a friend. I hope we meet again, I think we will.
I finished soon after 3 and the Treasurer lady gave me my fee in an envelope. The feedback was overwhelmingly positive. I went to get changed and then walked back to the bus, and at 4.15 it came and Gill and the boys were on it.
Lovely to see them, some excitement about our little holiday. We were soon in Thornton Le Dale, and 4 minutes later at the Prospect Farm Campsite.
Paul showed us where to camp, right next to the trampoline, and together we set up the tent. We then walked Gilly back to the bus stop, had a brief explore of the village and put her on the bus back to York.
We met some other campers in a hired 'Commer' van, Mary and Mark, plus their two grandchildren and a cousin, all 16 and under, lovely people. I did a bit of balloon fun with them and the youngest had a go at making his own. Lots of fun, playing around, including with a frisbee.
We had a good evening... cold pasta and salad bits for tea, and when it was dark we went to explore the forest above the campsite... and whilst we were in there I suggested that the wind up torch should be switched off, and amazingly, there were glowing things all around us. These turned out to be ends of rotten logs, some kind of fungal mycelium giving off low level light. I'd read about this as a child (possibly in 'Swallowdale' by Arthur Ransome, can anyone confirm this?) but never seen it myself. Therefore I was really pleased to see it! I think the boys were pretty amazed too.
Had an uncomfortable night as I slept between the boys, one snuggled up and head on my shoulder, the other preferred to have his head in my armpit and my arm around him. I didn't sleep well and was awoken by the cock crowing at 2 or 3am, and again constantly at 5am. I got up and had a wee at 7 and then fell asleep for 2 hours til 9, when the warmth in the tent woke me. We'd all had a fairly disturbed night, the boys commenting on my snoring!