Sunday, 18 July 2010

Sunday 18th July 10

Up earlyish to get ready for a fairly long day, Crayke Gala. Crayke is a lovely village on a hill 15 miles North of here, it overlooks the whole of the vale of York, and from it's south-facing slope you can see York Minster, and even on a clear day, the cooling towers of Drax, some 35 miles south. It is one of my favourite places.

Professor Fiddlesticks had been booked to perform at their Gala from 12 til 4, so I left the house at about 10am, as I always estimate a speed of 10 miles per hour, so getting there should take an hour and a half. I went along the cycle track all the way to Wigginton Road and then North past Rowntrees, over the York to Scarborough level crossing and then out over the ring road and past Wigginton right up to Sutton on the Forest, where I turned left to Huby. I got to Huby at 2 minutes to 11 and stopped at the village shop as I wanted something to drink. The shopkeeper was just about to close (open 9 til 11) and I got a can of ginger beer and chatted whilst he started to close the shop. Whilst I was there, four small boys came to spend their pocket money and then someone else arrived too... so I hope the proprietor was happy with the extra business just before he closed!

Crayke was just 3 miles further on, and as I turned up the last mile of road, I was joined by an old gent on a road bike with drop handlebars. He was Don Chandler, from Richmond, aged 76, and he was on an 80 mile round trip today. We chatted for a few minutes and then I turned left towards the playing fields and he went up and over the top of the hill. I hope I'm still cycling when I'm his age.

I've worked at Crayke Gala once before, maybe 6 or 8 years ago. So I knew where to go and what to expect, and I met my handler, Diane, and she showed me where she thought I could work, which was in front of the teas marquee. I got changed and by 12 midday I was doing my devilsticks and attracting a crowd. I wandered round, with the devilsticks.... if I hadn't had a broken ankle I'd have been unicycling round. I visited the stalls marquee and bought some plants, a Chocolate Mint, a sorrel with red veins and a weird looking greenhouse plant with flowers like a bottlebrush, apparently!

Then it was my job (alongside Claire, the wife of one of the sponsors) to judge the fancy dress. Only three children had been dressed up as pirates (this year's theme) and so they all won. They were too young to understand, I think!

Then at 1.30 I did my show. This went well... and then I was busy all the way through to 4.30pm with workshops and helping people learn to juggle.... a really lovely afternoon. When I packed up and wheeled my bike to the clubhouse I got a small bottle of cider and sat down for half an hour to rest my legs, before cycling home the same way as I came. I noticed a roadkill deer on the way back and stopped to see if I could remove it's head so I could prepare the skull, as I liked it's antlers. But I decided not to bother as I was tired. I got back at about 6.45pm.

I rested for an hour and had tea, and then had an hour working in the garden, put the bike away and then came in to relax. I watched a film called XXY, about an intersex or 'hermaphrodite' person which was very moving and thought provoking.

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