Up quite early as our eldest is off school and I needed to say 'byeeee' to our youngest as I'm going to work in Normanton this afternoon/evening and then going onto Burton on Trent, coming back Sunday. Gill took our youngest to school and I swapped the water around on top of the stove so there's plenty of bathwater. Did the washing up as I didn't do it last night...
Had lunch and got myself together for a 2pm cycle-off, visiting the Post Office in Leeman Road first as I've had a note through the door saying there's post with unpaid postage waiting for me, so I go that. It was a letter from the Maudsley about how to get there (!) and some forms to fill in before my visit (!!) and it had no stamps of franks on whatsoever (!!!).
So then went to the station and unloaded mt reduced Fiddlesticks gear (ie no children's unicycle, training unicycles etc) and got tickets to Burton On Trent via Leeds and Normanton, checking I could break my journey legally in Normanton. Then onto the train to Leeds and a fairly swift change onto the Sheffield train which goes through Normanton. Once there, I walked up the main street which had lots of fairground rides and candy floss/burger vans ready for the 'big switch on. Got to the Town Hall and met my handler Donna who showed me where to get changed and offered me a coffee and biscuits before getting started at 4.30, outside a closed shop very near the place where 'Father Christmas' and the Mayor would be switching on the lights. There were lots of crowds of teenagers in town, many of them bent on causing a nuisance and having fun, such as lighting aerosol cans to make jets of flame, and smoking fags guiltily, scrapping and swearing loudly at each other. However, I coped well with the situation, was my usual strict self but gave lots of goes on the devilstick and a couple of juggling workshops. It got crowded towards 6pm which is when the lights were due to be switched on, and then got quieter again, so I finished the entertainment at 6.40 and went back to the station.
Changed trains at Sheffield an hour later, and met an interesting woman carrying an engaging 2 year-old boy whom I chatted with all the way to Derby. Lynette claimed that she'd been on the station earlier, without her child who was with her Mother for a while, and she'd had a 'few drinks' and the police had taken her train ticket and purse off her, just for being tipsy! I find this difficult to believe but have no reason to disbelieve her. She was travelling down to Birmingham to meet the child's father, without a ticket, but with the knowledge of the train company. Most odd. I offered to lend/give her some cash if she needed it, but she declined.
I changed trains again at Derby and rang Gill to tell her all was well, and spoke briefly with both boys. It was only a short hop to Burton where Lorna was waiting for me in the car park. She drove us to her house near Swadlincote. It was really good to see her, she's a really good friend, and I was pleased to be able to spend a little time with her.