Sunday, 19 December 2010

Saturday 18th December 10

Another early start for me, as due to be in Dewsbury for 10ish, so I got the 8.58 train and chatted with a nice couple, students, heading back to her home village of Giggleswick for a few days over Christmas.

Dewsbury was quite snowy and very cold... there is a big building near the market with a digital display and as well as the time and date, it shows the temperature, which was -7 Celsius, and during the day it got no warmer than -5 C.  However, I was in a grotto which had a little electrical fan heater, which kept it slightly warmer, but the grotto was open to the elements and was I think at or below freezing all day.  A local animal petting place called Ponderosa supplied two Reindeer, which attracted a bit of attention.

But I did 10.30 til 12.30, and was due to restart at 1pm but was called down as a queue had developed.  And I worked on through the afternoon, coming to the doorway when the place was quiet, to wave at passers by and try to attract family groups over to hand their £2.50 per child to have an audience with Santa and be given a pre-wrapped present.  Towards the end of the day we had two incidents.  Firstly, a woman appeared who had brought an 18 month old girl and a 3 year old boy in, either last week or earlier today, and she had both their presents.  The boy had got a board game based on bingo, and the girl a pottery VW campervan moneybox.  She was complaining that these weren't appropriate.  The woman in charge of me, Trish, dealt with the complaint and gave the complainer her money back.  Then at about 3pm, half an hour before our finish time, the rickety fan heater got knocked by my flowing robes and fell on it's front, and burst into flames!  The grotto filled with smoke, Trish unplugged it and put the fire out (not sure how) and went to get one of the bosses.  This person said that we should finish early as the room was stinking of burnt plastic and kids shouldn't go in there.  So I went to get changed and set off for the station at about 3.20.

I dozed on the train as I was very cold, and got into York at about 4.30.  My bike chain had been jumping so I decided to pop in to Cycle Heaven to book my bike in for some work... but amazingly, they said I could leave it there and pick it up at 6pm if I wanted.  So I borrowed a shop bike and sped round to Peter and Jenny's house, where they were having a party.  I explained to them that I'd have to go in less than an hour... but was very grateful of the warm 'port in a storm' which I needed, as I was still cold from the day working in sub-zero temperatures.  I had a couple of mugs of home-made mulled cider, the cider was home made from apple concentrate apparently, and two delicious mince pies.  This, plus the conversation, all worked to elevate my mood. 

At 5.50 I got the bike and cycled back to Cycle Heaven.  They'd found that the jumping chain was due to a stiff link in the chain, but whilst finding this, they'd found my pannier rack was not fixed properly, it had broken, and needed replacing.  However, this would take another half hour, and the shop was shutting, so could I pick it up tomorrow?  I explained that I was going up to Masham tomorrow but should be able to pick it up on Monday, on the way to Huddersfield.

So I cycled home on the shop bike.  There was a parcel waiting for me, from Rory in Canada.... he'd found a jester hat, a stripy cap, stripy socks, stripy jumper thing and stripy waistcoat.  Oh Wow!  A costume rejuvenation!  Not sure how I'll use the cap, but all the other things either will or could come in useful, and I love the socks and waistcoat.  I have no idea what I've done to deserve this from Rory, but it moves me that he has sent this, and several other gifts. 

I had a quiet evening as the rest of the family were watching some dance thing in the other room, and I couldn't get Tracey Smith's radio show to play on Apple am.  Never mind, I kept myself occupied and had a reasonable evening.

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