Friday, 23 September 2011

Saturday 17th September 11, Basingstoke Green Fair

A packed day, with a 4 hour stint at Basingstoke Green Fair.  I used my mobile phone alarm for the first time ever, to wake me up at 7.30, then went to have a bowl of Serena-style cereal and then we were off, in Serena's car, to the station and then she was taking her son swimming.

I got a slightly earlier train than expected, a London Underground service, which took me into a connection on the Bakerloo line.  I'd been given a connection to go from Marylebone to Basingstoke, but when I got to Marylebone, they said I needed to go to Waterloo.  My other connection was from Paddington, quite close to Marylebone, so I thought I'd give that a try... and fortunately there was a train going to Reading from there at 10am which I just caught, which connected well with a Basingstoke train which got me in there just after 11am.  Phew, glad I didn't heed the Waterloo advice!

I soon found my way West out of the station to the 'Victory Roundabout' on Churchill Way, which I went under, to get to Victory Park and very soon I saw Brookvale Village Hall with stalls setting up outside, and a plethora of scarecrows propped up and tied to various things.

I found Cal, my contact (Malcolm MacInnes), and we talked through the format of the day... he wanted me to do Meet and Greet on the unicycle for an hour, then a talk on composting at 1, then a Fiddlesticks static show at 2, followed by balloon modelling and participation in the procession at 4pm.  There was some debate about the best place for my show; in the end we plumped for three spaces in the car park, which we kept vacant using a row of chairs.

Everything went reasonably well... apart from the composting talk which, like the talk from Basingstoke Transition Network, didn't pull a crowd.  However, I did have several good one-to-one conversations about the subject, and was able to provide each person with some suggestions about how to improve their composting situation.  I enjoyed chatting to Martin from the local Transition group, which is just 6 months old, and has already got plans for a renewable energy co-op, and photovoltaic panels on the roof of the Village Hall.

My circus show had a small audience, and a rainstorm which slowly threatened, so I zoomed through it and finished just as the rain set in.  I packed up and went into the village hall and competed with Morris Dancers with my balloon animal giveaways being a bit more popular amongst the under 10s.  I enjoyed meeting the Deputy Mayor, Martin Biermann,and his excitable wife Chansophia, the friendly Town Crier David Craner, the local MP Maria Miller, and a hardworking gaggle of volunteers, one of whom, Serena, recognised me from UK Aware.

Suddenly it was 4pm and the place gradually emptied and stalls were taken down, and I filled in some paperwork for Cal, which should enable the Brookvale Community Association to release a cheque and send it my way.  As soon as this was sorted, I walked back to the town centre, and wandered round a supermarket to find some food for the journey back home and walked up to the station, where thee was still 50 minutes to wait  for my train.

On the train, there were a large group got on at Reading who were very noisy and merry after being at Newbury Races, and delighted to find out that I could do them some balloon animals.  I did some hats too... it was riotous, and I (and other passengers, I'm sure) were happy to see them get off relatively soon.  Then I met a young performance poet called Anna McCrory heading up to Manchester to do a poetry slam tomorrow,  and I enjoyed finding out about her.

The rest of the journey was relatively quiet.... except after Chesterfield we came into Sheffield via Totley and Dore, and had a bit of a slow journey along that line as there were children on the tracks, apparently.

But got home on the dot of 11pm and came home swiftly, glad to see family, tried not to go to bed too late as work tomorrow.

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