Thursday, 24 December 2009

Thursday 24th December 09

Gill woke me at 9.30 and asked me if I'd switched off the boiler last night as it wasn't working this morning. I told her that I'd put the thermostat down to 20 degrees last thing, but the central heating was still working when I came to bed. The pilot light had gone out and I couldn't work out how to relight it; there were no instructions or obvious places where to put a match or to press an ignition knob...

Anyway, we had to leave today so we stripped the beds, packed our bags, emptied the fridge, repacked our bags, worried about the time and whether the bus was going to get through today, worried about whether the pipes would freeze if the heating remained off, but got out of the house for 11.20, as Gill had looked at the bus timetable and told me that the buses were at 22 minutes past the hour. But the bus timetable at the bus stop said 52 minutes past the hour... so we waited. And waited... and the bus came on time! We got to Scarborough at the right time, 12.30, and were on the 12.47 train home and enjoyed sandwiches for lunch.

Back in York there wasn't more than 15 minutes to wait for the number 10 bus back to very close to our front door. The house was freezing! I lit both stoves and Gill went back into town to try to find some bits and bobs for the boys' Christmas presents.

I left the boys in the house, happy to be back on the computer, and went to Country Fresh to get some veg for Christmas meals and pick up the compostables before the three-day-weekend-closure. I decided to pop in to the Novotel, where I've worked for the past 5 or so Christmases, to check that all was OK for tomorrow. My agent had booked me for this in early spring, and as it was a repeat booking, I had expected it to go very smoothly. BUT... I'm so glad I went to say hello. The new manager told me that I wasn't booked and they had got another entertainer. But I knew that I had a contract with my agent. So I said that I would ring him and get back to the hotel... the manager said would I like to ring from the hotel. My agent wasn't at home, so I rang his mobile. He had just arrived at his son's house and was settling down to a glass of sherry. I explained the situation to him and he asked to speak to the manager. Ten minutes later, the manager appeared again and passed me a mobile phone and said that my agent wanted to speak to me. He asked if I could remember how much I was due to get paid for the gig tomorrow... and of course I remembered as it's one of the best paying gigs of the year. I passed the phone back to the manager, and a few minutes later, the phone came back to me and my agent asked me if I would be prepared to do a reduced gig tomorrow for reduced money? I felt that if I tried to hold out for my full employ, that might cause difficulties and might jeopardise future work at this hotel. So I agreed a short Fiddlesticks slot with no Father Christmas appearance for a very average fee, less than half of what I had agreed to for doing the full entertainment. The other entertainer would do some magic and do the Father Christmas stuff.

So, not very happy, despite not having to do Father Christmas which I don't enjoy doing. In retrospect, I wonder if I should have said that I wanted to do the work I was contracted to do and demanded my full fee? Not an easy decision to make.

I cycled back via Freshways who were glad to see me and were generous with their unsold limp herbs and over-ripe bananas.

The boys hadn't noticed I'd been away for an hour (!) and when Gill rang from town, she asked if I'd go to the Co-op to get some basics like cereal, milk, pasta and the like. I had put my bike away so I walked down, got a good pile of stuff and on the way back, the bus drew up and Gill got off, gave me a lovely kiss and we walked back together. We are just a great team!

We had a shop pizza for tea, with broccoli, and continued to keep the stoves going to try to warm the place up. A relatively calm evening.

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