Monday, 13 July 2009

Saturday 11th July 09, Hebden Fringe

Slept well at Mark and Jennifer's but got up quite early as the boys had been up since daybreak... excitement I suppose. Both Mark and Jennifer had a busy day ahead, Jennifer to collect their cat from an orthopaedic veterinary hospital and the other to go to a meeting connected with work, probably a Green Party meeting knowing Mark.

I wanted to get into town at a reasonable time to do balloons in the central square, and Gill went out with all the boys to see their treehouse, and wasn't back by the time I was ready to go, so I left and walked down into town... but five minutes out I realised I had forgotten my bag of devilsticks and diabolos etc (duh!) so I trudged back up the hill and got this extra bag.

I set up right in the central part of the town, a pedestrianised square surrounded by shops and cafes, and blew up 3 balloons and stuck them in one of my bags, sticking up, and got on with some 'practice' devilsticking, which of course attracted attention. When plenty of people had started watching, I did a free first balloon animal for one of the most attentive and engaging children, after which lots more came forward and the next hour was busy with giving away balloon animals, which was exactly what I wanted as my part of the public part of the Hebden Festival.

I got enough donations to pay for my lunch and tea, so bought a pastie and little quiche for immediate consumption and a folded spinach pizza called a calzone for my tea later, wherever that was. At just after half twelve I packed up and wobbled off to the Central Street School where I'd done my show last night and was due to do my Fun Physics Show today followed by a free-play workshop. By 1pm I was ready to start but not many people had turned up but ten minutes later I had quite a good crowd.

The show went like a dream... warm-up acts from the audience first, then the 'obligatory mathematical bit' where I lob a single juggling ball up and ask if they spotted the mathematics, and soon get them to understand the parabolic curve and all say the word 'parabola' together, then devilsticks which is a good way to include friction, fulcrum, pendulums and frequency (you have to see the show to see how these are connected!). Following this is balancing, starting with a stick balanced on my nose and then peacock feathers balanced on volunteers hands, and this leads to a explanation of air resistance and friction again. Derek the naughty diabolo did his usual tricks and misbehaviour but explained gyroscopes much better than I ever could, and then we just had fun with the unicycles at the end. I do enjoy myself such a lot!

There was a chap doing some filming for the Fringe and he interviewed me outside before the workshop started, and by 2.30 the workshop's participants had arrived and I did a catching and throwing game followed by a quick run through of all the quick tips connected to the skills I teach. Then on to the free-play workshop which was pretty easy for me, although still had to keep my eyes out for stuff not going well and people getting stuck. Another full-on hour, finishing at 3.45.

Jan then paid me, and I was pleased with the fee, as it hadn't been fixed beforehand as it partly depended on the numbers of audience/participants, and as these had been quite low, I wasn't expecting as much as I got.

A walk though the park where there was another bit of the festival going on, and to the station where at four thirty something the Blackpool train came and I continued my journey to Warrington. I got to Preston and changed to the Euston train, and was soon at Bank Quay where a nice Warringtonian taxi driver took me to the hotel where I was spending the night. As I got into the hotel the rain started so I decided not to go for a walk and explore the local area, and I had my calzone and some fruit and dozed. But later, I got up and watched an excellent film on Virgin 1, which was on the hotel's Freeview package, called 'Inside I'm Dancing' which I loved. I would say it is easily in my top-ten favourite films.

I went to sleep very soon after this.

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