Thursday, 30 September 2010

Wednesday 29th September 10 Walk it, Bike it, Bus it, York's Car Free Day 2010

The weather was looking dismal and I was feeling tired, but I'd committed to helping with today's event.

So I got up soon after 7 and left the house at 8 to meet with other volunteers at 8.15 at the Postern Gate Hotel on Piccadilly.  I was the first there.  Julia was the second.  She is from Switzerland and is in York to do a PhD on neuro imaging... fascinating stuff!  Then Jenny arrived, and Kaj, from Finland, and Guy, our own FoE stalwart.  Three of us went to Bootham Bar and gave out leaflets about the Car Free Day; the leaflets had information about the extra two traffic-free streets today, Micklegate and Fossgate, and the entertainment that was timetabled, plus the attractions which were admitting car-free travellers at a reduced rate or for free.  It rained constantly, and our leaflets got wet, but lots of people took them.  Quite a few people said they didn't know about the day, but two told me they had noticed less motor traffic on the roads.

Then I went to Millers Yard and picked up the sacks of squashed halved oranges, and came home.  I had just 10 minutes at home, time for a coffee, and I cycled back to go to Micklegate, with my balloons.  I'd been booked to do circus skills, but there was no way I could do that in the rain. But balloons can be modelled in almost any weather.  Trouble was, there were not that many people walking down the road, and only a tiny percentage of them were suitable candidates for balloon animals.  But, I must have given out a dozen or so.  It rained continuously, although mainly drizzle rather than 'proper' rain.  Some good conversations with Kaj, who is a linguist and loves accents and language.  I left at 11.30 and visited Fossgate where I was pleased to find the traders had put stalls out into the street and it was a lot more vibrant, despite being damp.  I came home and had lunch and some quiet time, cracking nuts and doing the washing up.  But soon after 3pm I went back to Fossgate with my bag of balloons and stood with a school sustainable travel person under a gazebo, darting out to give out balloon animals to parents with small children (using the device 'Excuse me, but do you know anyone who likes balloon animals?').  I enjoyed listening to a guitar player called Richard Harrison, and then later a pair of young sisters playing the Sax and Clarinet, the Frankland Sisters, aged 12 and 14. They were very good, and played things like 'Singing in the Rain' and 'Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud'.

It began to rain very heavily and at about 5pm I came home.  Very wet, very exhausted, feeling deflated and in need of bed rest.  However I didn't manage to get the early night that I would have liked.  I made my own tea... 3 slices of the huge Tromboncino squash, half an onion, some nuts all fried up on the stove top, then I added a sliced huge 'beef' tomato straight off the plant, and some pasta left over from yesterday, and some old Edam cheese which the children now claim not to like.  I spent some time on facebook, and got a message from a friend who told me that a scan had found a tumour on their liver, which kind of put my low mood and tiredness into perspective.  I went to bed at 9ish, intending to get up a bit later and do stuff, but I slept right through.

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