Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sunday 13th September 09

I woke at about 8.30 and had my breakfast with a nice old Welsh guy (aged 88) on a walking holiday. I think his name was Gwilym and he was very nice. However, i couldn't stop and chat for long as I knew ideally I should be at UCLAN by 10am. I also knew I'd probably have to walk into town. So I got changed into Fiddlesticks clothes (minus hat!) and packed my rucksack and walked into town. The bus shelters confirmed my suspicions that Sunday morning bus services in Preston are few and far between...

But I got to the Harrington Building by about 10am and there was a lot happening there, so i went to get myself ready and was throwing my devilstick around in my usual arty way by ten-past.

I had a lovely day, working almost continuously. Towards lunchtime though, the Facilites Manager Phil, whom I'd had a discussion with last year about recycling I think, took me to the nearby Students Union Building to see the huge array of solar photovoltaic panels and the real-time readout in the building. You can read about this in more detail in this pdf newsletter (scroll down to page 3 'Solar Signpost') and the latest developments with more solar electricity and wind turbines coming on stream with this pdf, first page. I was very impressed, although the real-time monitors needed some explanation as to what the numbers actually mean.

I enjoyed lunch and the afternoon session even more, especially as Zoot showed me how to use a 'walking ladder'. I wasn't very good but I reckon I could be if I practiced! I also enjoyed watching The Wonderful Stevie with contact juggling and bubbles.

And all too soon (!) my enjoyment of Pugwash Convention and the Red Rose Brass Band came to a close as Stevie and I were offered a lift down to the station so we could get the 4.30 train.

I got changed at the station and our train was on time. However, there were quite a few children on the train, some of whom were fascinated by Stevie's constant contact juggling (see
this YouTube vid for one style of this, and this one and this one for more amazing manipulations!) I made a few balloon animals but Stevie really got their attention with a contact juggling workshop followed by plate spinning... it was a lovely sight to see, and one of the best train journeys I've had! Stevie doesn't have a website (yet) but if anyone wants to book him, you can ring 0113 261 0057 or email raw_raw_inexpert (at)

He got off in Leeds and then did a load of huge bubbles on the station platform, much to the delight of the children (and their parents!) I had another half hour to York and got home to my family at about 7pm.

What a weekend!

I did my blog and emails late on, and received the very sad news that my friend Austin Wilson died last weekend, very suddenly after the Green Festival. I talked to his widow Azra on the phone and she told me what had happened. I know them because they have provided fantastic Indian food at YGF since we started three years ago. They had been married 30 years and were a lovely couple. I am very upset and will attend the funeral on Friday.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi John,

Bit of blow to hear about Austin!

"Oz" as he was know to me was my physics technician at AHS. A lovely bloke who could never do enough for you and was invaluable when it came to manufacturing bits of kit for lessons. A real asset!

I also saw him last at YGF, right at the end whilst we were helping him to bump-start his van because the battery had gone flat. Knowing full-well that he had had a fairly serious heart attack in the past I suggested he took a back seat and let the other blokes push the bloody thing, but he wouldn't have!

He was also a source of some fairly risque jokes and some tall tales of his exploits as a photographer in Chapeltown, keeping me sane, and took the "offical" photos at our wedding; he even let Stella pose on his Harley Davidson-lookalike motorcycle in her wedding dress. He gave us the photos free for a wedding present.

A really nice guy of the ilk that one rarely meets these days.

Please could you let me know about funeral arrangements and whether or not it would be appropriate for non-family members to attend, by return of e-mail.

RIP Mr Wilson.