Old Goole Gala today, quite a hike, literally, so an early start. Got up before 7 to get to the station for the 8am train to Doncaster where there was a half-hour wait before the Goole train. I'd already worked out the route from Goole station to South Park, Google maps had it at 1.4 miles, so a 35 to 40 minute walk with all my equipment, which is further than I generally like to walk before a gig to get to the venue. I usually have a rucksack with my costume and the 2-wheel and 4-wheel unicycles, the one-wheel kids uni over my shoulder and pushing the adult uni, plus my tennis racquet bag with devilsticks, juggling balls, diabolos and more; this is the heaviest bag. I usually have a bag for my sandwiches and other stuff, so this time I had taken some pumpkin seeds to shell for my muesli, whilst waiting on station platforms. But at least the route was easy, south from the station and straight through the docks, over 3 swing-bridges and rail crossings. just following the main road. So I arrived at the field, which had a funfair on it, soon after 10, so that I could be ready for an 11am start for the parade.
After I got changed in the inaccessible disabled toilet (door wouldn't open due to an obstruction, no light meaning the door had to be left ajar) I was directed to join a marching band who were going to be picked up by a lorry and taken half way back towards town for the start of the parade. The marching band I was with all had big yellow plumes on their hats, and had a good range of drums, xylophones and little girls carrying batons or pompoms. They were from the Goole and Humberside area. Another band had come over from Nottingham. We all got onto the lorry and sat on straw bales for the slow journey along to the start point. I just took my favourite devilstick, with the intention of going behind a nice funky band and dancing round with my sticks, spinning them and twirling round, throwing it up high, in my usual flowing fashion. I kept away from the bagpipe band as that doesn't work for devilsticking to!
So the hour-long procession started, and wound its way through Old Goole, watched by people from their front gardens and pavements. On a couple of occasions I spotted someone with a walking stick watching, and I went and grabbed it, offering my devilstick in swap, and did an impromptu 30 seconds of spinning the walking stick before giving it back and continuing on my route behind the marching band.
I was glad to arrive back at the field and as I was setting up my area, I had my sandwiches as I knew I'd not get time to take a break once I got started. So then the full-on workshops and shows started, mainly focusing on devilsticks, unicycle and 3-ball juggling. This went on til 5pm, although towards the end it tailed off a bit and I got a group of more challenging participants.
One was a gobby teenager who was a bit of a show-off and demanded a go on the 4-wheel unicycle, and was fairly average, not being steady enough for me to allow her to try the 2-wheel pedal go unicycle, as this is much much more difficult. She was verbally aggressive and very offended that I'd told her she wasn't good enough to do the more difficult skill. She told me I was wrong to tell her, or anybody, this, although I do this because of safety concerns, as several people have come off the 2-wheeler and got hurt, one even breaking a bone in her foot. She was very persistent and I said that if she waited her turn she could do the 4-wheeler again and show me how competent she was, and this time she was much more careful and focused, and did the 4-wheeler perfectly. I said she could now go on the 2-wheeler and again, she was actually reasonably competent on this and I apologised, saying I'd misjudged her. She was surprised to receive an apology, as I expect most adults don't easily apologise to children. So I surprised her further by telling her that if she worked with a couple of her friends she could have a go on the children's one-wheel unicycle, whilst I supervised younger children on the other equipment.
But fortunately my finish time was coming up and I was able to gently get them to leave me alone to pack up. I got changed and went to see the organiser, to check she was happy with my work, which she was, and she was apologetic that she couldn't get me a lift back into Goole, which she had told me I'd get when we chatted on the phone. So I walked back into Goole, getting to the station shortly before 6 which is when my train was due. I fell asleep on the train and was woken at Doncaster as someone asked me to move so she could get out.
There was a 40 minute wait before the York train, but on that train I chatted to a rail weld checker, who'd come to York to oversee someone who'd had some complaints by colleagues. A fascinating conversation.
I popped into a supermarket on the way home to buy some brandy which Gill needs to soak some fruit for a cake she's making. And home soon after 8pm, absolutely exhausted, but Gill had home-made pizza and chips for me so that was lovely to come back to!