One of my favourite events of the entertaining year today, the fantastic DAD at Walton Hall Gardens near Warrington.
I had as close to a usual breakfast as can be had in someone else's house; Janie had even gone out of her way to get soya milk, and there were a good mix of cereals to start me off for a very long day. I was really pleased that all the family decided to come to DAD; Janie drove and Mark and the boys went in the back... with me with my chunky plastic foot sitting in the front. We got to the site just in time, just before the 9.30 cut-off time to go and park in the performers car park at the back of Walton Hall.
I showed them where I was working, in the Arts Marquee, and dumped my equipment and costume and walked down with them to the pedestrian entrance where we picked up a programme which has a map and list of exhibitors and attractions. Then I got back to the Arts Marquee and got changed and launched into a 10am til 5pm shift.... devilsticking, teaching diabolo, encouraging timid kids to try the yoyo balls, showing teenagers how to juggle, letting people try the four wheel and two wheel unicycle, and I got through nearly 100 balloons too. Laura turned up.... I met her at DAD last year and we've been in regular contact ever since. Now she's got her own flower stick (like a devilstick but with tassels on each end) and a twirling staff.
My hosts had a good time too... the best news that I heard was that Mark had somehow got himself involved in a blind cricket match, where the ball is identified with sound... and he turned out to be really good at it, and got invited to join the team. Apparently they train fairly near Stockport and this is a fantastic opportunity. I look forward to hearing updates! Well done Mark!!!
I hope the lads had a good time too, although I didn't get much feedback from them, although both of them did some circus stuff. Oh and Janie is now a juggler too.... she can do a pretty good 3-ball cascade of at least 6 throws in a row, which I was very pleased with.
5pm came and I packed up to go... and Laura invited me to have something to eat before I caught the train home. So we walked down towards the free bus, but stopped to talk to the people who are campaigning for Walton Hall not to be sold to be converted into a posh hotel by the council. This decision would mean that the Gardens around the Hall would be much less likely to be used for events like DAD. If you want this area to remain in public use, please check this website and sign the petition and join this facebook group.
The free bus queue was entertaining but we were soon at the bus station, quite close to a Chinese 'all you can eat for £8.50' restaurant, where we both had a good selection of things. It was lovely to spend this time with Laura, and then at the station afterwards waiting for my train. I feel very lucky to have her as a friend as she is a totally unique and fun individual, wacky sense of humour, very caring, never short of something to say.... hey, a bit like me really!!!
My train came and it was a fairly uneventful journey apart from chatting with Jo, trainee accountant from Leeds, wearing a 10:10 round her neck, which sparked some conversation.
But soon back in York, and home by 10ish.... glad to see my lovely family who had been in the Treasurers House garden watching our youngest perform in a play connected with the Mystery Plays.
Later, I watched 'Bend it like Beckham' on the BBC which is a really good film.