Saturday, 9 June 2012

Monday 19th December 11

A reasonable day, late start and bit of housework in the morning, but after lunch cycled in the rain to the Cemetery to attend Chris Benney's funeral.  Chris was David Taylor's partner, and although I didn't know her well, she was always friendly and jolly when she met me.

She died at the beginning of December, after seemingly going downhill for a while, and drinking more than eating, so a sad end to what by all accounts was an interesting life.  She'd been with Dave for 26 years, after two failed short-term marriages.  She had not done brilliantly at school but had discovered education later in life and got a degree and a Masters, and had done some lecturing.  She was passionate about social justice and environmental issues, as one would expect of someone partnered with a Green Party Councillor.

I have very few regrets, but one must be that on a couple of occasions I had the opportunity to get to socialise with her and didn't take it, so I never got to know her that well.  However, I had met  her several times and I liked her.

I arrived at the Cemetery just before 2pm and walked up to the Chapel in the rain, with Ginny who had arrived minutes before me.  The Chapel was already nearly full, but Dave was outside and welcoming people in.  I sat with Ginny.  Chris's coffin was encased completely in wool felt, a final humorous aside, as Chris often complained about being cold, so Dave decided that a woollen jacket would be just the job.

The celebrant was Rob Livesey, and he did the ceremony very well.  It was a Humanist, non-religious service; however, there was a lovely anthem which I heartily joined in with, William Blake's poem 'Jerusalem' set to the music of Hubert Parry.  I never join in with hymns as this would be hypocritical, but this song seemed fine.

Chris was buried in the Victorian part of the Cemetery.  There was a reception in the Chapel afterwards... I had a glass of Cava and some canapes, and a few conversations.  I didn't stay long, though.

I came home via a logpile and filled my trailer.  I got in about 4pm and settled down to my usual pattern of things.

After tea, which was a wholesome stew, I went round to see Ben and Jill... to get Ben's signature on some LETS bank account paperwork.  We chatted for an hour about all sorts of things and Ben put in an order for for some pears.

Sunday 18th December 11

My annual gig with the Black Sheep Brewery in Masham.  I always look forward to this gig, but not the travel, since I have to get a train to Northallerton, then a 14 mile taxi journey to Masham... and then the same journeys in reverse.  I would go by bus from Northallerton or Harrogate if it was in the summer, but winter timetables, on a Sunday, don't include Masham.  Hence a £50 taxi fare.

I had also tried this time to find out if any of my friends who like driving (and I don't know THAT many of them!) fancied going on a winter walk in the Dales, and could get me to Masham by 11.30 and take me away after 3.30... but no, too few of my friends drive! 

So, I left at 9.30 so I could get the 10.13 Northallerton train, which I got without any problem, and the taxi was waiting for me, the same driver who's taken me for the past few years, so it was good to catch up.

I was at the brewery by 11am and in costume and ready to entertain by 11.40, and visitors son started filtering in, and I got busy doing balloons and devilsticks. I didn't stop til just before 3 which is when I'd asked the taxi to come and pick me up, as I wanted to get the 3.30 train, as the next one was at 4.50, just a bit too late.  However, the driver got to Northallerton at 3.19 which meant I could get the 3.22 train, direct to York, instead of the 3.30 which involved a change at Darlington.  There were 4 lads from London on the train who took an interest in what I was doing and requested balloon models, so I obliged.... a bit of fun, hey?

This made the short journey go very quickly. I called in on Rich at Country Fresh on the way home and picked up some cheap sweet chestnuts.  I had a quiet evening after getting in, including watching Sacha Baron Cohen's film 'Bruno' which I didn't enjoy very much.  I liked his Ali G character much more.

Saturday 17th December 11

Nice lie in til after 10 and didn't get dressed until after midday... I like mornings like that!

However, after lunch I had a very busy 2 hours sorting the front garden, and got the majority of the logs which have been there all summer chopped up.

I also got a chance to do some composting but I still have a bit of a backlog.

Then I had a bit to eat before going to David's so I could take him to the Bach Choir.

Friday 16th December 11

A very early start.  I had to be in Meltham near Huddersfield before 10am... meant I left the house at 7.30 to get the 7.55 train which got into Huddersfield at 8.44, and I then got the Number 324 bus to Meltham at 9am.  It all went very smoothly, which is pretty normal for public transport.

I found the venue for the Pre-School Playgroup building, a Church Hall, very easily but couldn't find the door as two seemed sealed shut and one was locked.  However, the locked one was eventually unlocked and I was let in.  I talked through what I was going to do and what their timings were before getting changed.  I had only agreed to do the circus show for them but I thought that for the money they were giving me, they could have the balloons too, and they were pleased with this.  My only deadline was to be finished for 11.45 for Father Christmas to visit.

The shows went well, although they weren't easy as the children were very young and that has it's difficulties when you've a circus workshop show and a balloon workshop... however, the grown-ups seemed happy, no child burst into tears and nothing went wrong.  And I finished on time, got paid, and was waiting for the bus back to Huddersfield by 12.10.  The train came 10 minutes after I got to the station and I was home before 2pm.

I then got busy with the chainsaw as I really want to clear the front garden, as I'm expecting to get more logs over the winter, and I need to make space.

I made some tomato, onion and red pepper soup when it got dark at 4ish, and at 6 the family had that, along with bread.  Delicious. 

Thursday 15th December 11

Well I got a message first thing today from Randall saying yes to the compost.  He'd asked last night if I could supply him with some compost for a garden he's working on... I said yes, he asked 'tomorrow?' and I said probably!

So he said could I deliver two trailer-loads of compost by 4.30 today to a property in Fulford.  So this took up a good chunk of the day.  I got 5 sacks of well rotted compost loaded into my trailer and one on the pannier rack and set off after lunch.

Rand had pruned some trees and had got a pile of sticks, some of which I loaded into my trailer to take home.  Then I took a second lot, 3 sacks in the trailer and one on the rack.  This time on the way home I popped into Alligator to pick up their 'unsold resources' to take back home and put on the current compost heap.  I also pucked up 2 boxes from Country Fresh, so had a heavy load to barrow down to the bottom of the garden.

At  York Skeptics on Tuesday I got chatting to Ian and he mentioned he'd like to do some volunteering, and I suggested St Nicks.  I told him there was a volunteers party there on Thursday, and arranged to meet him beforehand to show him the site (despite it being dark!)  He came here at about 5pm, and I then cycled down there and he drove, and I took him on a walk round the nature reserve, telling him a bit about the history of the site, and at 6 we got back to the Environment Centre and joined the growing numbers of assorted volunteers.  I spent most time chatting with Ian, but also had a good chat with Dan, who does database management, and a couple of French visitors.

It came to a close at 9pm and I came home, to upload the sponsored blog post from  and to work out my transport arrangements for tomorrow.