Sunday, 20 December 2009

Sunday 20th December 09

A very interesting day... working in the deepest snowy Dales at my favourite brewery!

So, up at a civilised 9am to get out of the house by 10.15 to get the 10.45 up to Northallerton. I got to the station by 10.35, in time to go to the ticket office... but when trying to lock up my bike, my lock wouldn't work... I couldn't take the key out or do the lock up! Oh no... time ticking away, train arrived on Platform 10. I decided to 'lock' my bike up with my helmet strap, and took the part of the lock with my key embedded in it with me. The D part of the lock I left in my pannier with my gloves. I just hoped that the CCTV and the fact that there are loads of bikes there would mean that my bike would still be there when I got back...

So, I arrived at the train with a minute to spare, with no ticket, but a conductor on the train who would sell me one. When he got to me, I apologised for not having a ticket and explained why, and asked for a day return to Northallerton. He said that as I could have got a £9.20 Cheap Day Return at the station, he was supposed to sell me a Standard Return for £13 or £14, or an Open Return for £19. But he said he would do me a special deal, and give me a Cheap Day Return for £10. So I said, that sounds reasonable and gave him a ten pound note and asked for a receipt. He gave me the ticket and receipt, which said £9.20. In the next few minutes, I realised what had happened. He had sold me a cheaper ticket than I should have had, which was to my financial advantage, and he'd made 80 pence. I could not quite believe this so I asked him, when he next walked by, about my change. He looked surprised and said that he thought we had agreed that I would get a special deal... so I explained that I hadn't fully understood and could he explain again? He looked embarrassed and shifty, but when I said that I thought that he was getting a tip for letting me have a cheaper ticket, he agreed. We spoke for a few minutes and I left him with the illegally acquired £0.80. But I was quite gobsmacked as this was the first time I'd met a rail employee 'on the make'.

The taxi I booked yesterday was waiting at Northallerton, Coopers Cabs on 01677 424252 and the friendly driver took me all the way to the Black Sheep Brewery, for £25. I gave him £50 and asked to be picked up at 3.30 to 3.45, as agreed yesterday. I showed him the bike lock and miraculously it released the key. Very odd!

I had just 10 minutes to get myself ready before the punters started to arrive at midday. I was immediately surrounded by children wanting to 'do things' so I did an impromptu juggling workshop, which used all 10 of the conventional juggling balls I carry around, and some 'weird' ones; one which is full of eyeballs and can be squished, a couple which light up and one which is made of 12 rubbery fingers sticking out... plenty of yuk-factor there, and squeals of excitement.

I did a bit of devilsticking walkabout once every one had sat down, and then spent at least an hour going from table to table doing balloon animals for mostly the children but also some of the adults. I got 15 minutes to eat my sandwiches for lunch and then a bit more ballooning whilst children queued for Father Christmas, who was in a little grotto which looked suspiciously like a garden shed... and then it was my turn to do my show, which I did more quickly than usual as I knew the time was getting on. I finished at 3.40 and rushed to get the stuff in the taxi, and came back to collect my payment. I got into Northallerton in good time for the 4.35 train back home... and my bike was still there, fortunately!

Gill was chatting with Ros, one of our neighbours and friends, and her son was playing with our two. I filled the woodbaskets and did some washing up, our guest went and then half an hour later I took our young guest home so he could have his tea. Gilly had made a veg stew with 'Cobbler' on top... this is becoming a favourite in our household.

A bit later, our other neighbour from down the road popped in to collect the money for our short break in Robin Hood's Bay and I cycled a very late York Green Festival cheque down to the mother of one of our comperes, whom we promised a small fee but forgot to pay....

Then settled down to doing a bit more fruit and sorting out a few bits and bobs for the next few days. What a day!


Sabine said...

i loved the bit about the helmet lock, I'll remember to do that next time my lock won't work! I'd be very interested in the "cobblered" veg stew, could you explain a little how to do it?

Compost John said...

Hi Sabine... I cannot promise that the helmet trick will keep your bike safe, but it's one more thing a thief has to deal with before walking away with your bike!

The 'Cobbler': Gill makes a veg stew in the enamelled casserole dish on top of the woodstove, by frying onions and leeks, and then putting in tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, celery and any other veg which is available and simmering it with the lid on for an hour.

She makes a cheese scone mix and puts this on top of the hot stew, and puts it in the oven until it's cooked. I don't know the times and temperatures... but if you Google 'cobbler recipe' there are loads, mainly with beef in the stew, or sweet cobblers with fruit underneath. Just adapt one of these recipes to be what you want... which in our case is vegetarian.

Sabine said...

that was fast! thanks for the recipe, sounds very yummy, I'll try it out - with cheeserolls as we can't buy cheese scones here unfortunately.
I found that bikes are quite safe in bike sheds at train staions during the day but unfortunately do get stolen or taken apart during the night (2 of Malte's).
In fact, anywhere where it's dark seems to be tempting, we had loads of parts removed behind the public swimming pool where it was already dark and not many people walked by...

Compost John said...

Ha! Don't put bought scones on top (though it might work!), make a scone mix with flour, fat, water, etc (see recipe links) and put it raw on the top and then in the oven to cook. The top goes crusty and the base soaks up a little of the stew and it's delicious!

Sabine said...

oh, I see, so you get a proper crust...and I have a recipe for scones in a booklet! thanks again!