Saturday, 31 July 2010

Great North Fun Day 3

As well as the music festival there's lots of art and/ or comedy street theatre taking place and sometimes it's hard to know which is which.
Guess where the carnival was?

Today started with the carnival, one of the longest in the uk apparently, and we were promised a grand finale in the church fields. This grand finale turned out to be 24 hours in the life of Stockton acted out via music and dance. Fair enough. What surprised me though was that incorporated into it was a representation of a bunch of teenagers binge drinking and throwing up in the streets.  I'm not denying it's part of life, it just seemed odd to see it celebrated...

As there wasn't much at the music festival that appealed today we opted to take in some of the street theatre and try as many new and different things as possible, and here's the list of what we saw;

* Steve got invited into a 150 year old French fairground machine that involved peering through a face sized door at a theatre scene controlled by a complex system of wires and pulleys.
* Three interpretive dancers wafting around on a rope and pulley system several feet above the ground.
Piano on a pole.
* A truly amazing 50 minute recreation of a Buster Keaton movie.
* A "whispering rickshaw" ride where noone whispered but I did get a fortune cookie.
* A man playing a vertical grand piano 4m in the air while a movie was projected onto its lid.
* A young teenage girl surrounded by her mates, drunk out of her brains and heaving up all over the pavement just after 7pm. Though sadly this time it was 'real life' and not a continuation of the carnival finale.

In amongst all of the we saw some more dodgy comedy and made our first, and hopefully last, ever visit to Subway.  The food was dire but it was worth it to see the kid ahead of us order a roll including tandoori chicken, tuna mayo, olives, chillis, gherkins and just about everything else from the salad counter and then asking for it to be toasted!

Whilst we're on the subject of food I was impressed to see that there was a 'Healthy Options' catering van in amongst the burger vans at the festival but I was rather less impressed to see it sold a range of white baguettes stuffed with such healthy things as fried bacon and steak & fried onion. I'm not convinced the salad included on a BLT qualifies it as being healthy.
The Festival

If our arteries make it we'll be back at the festival tomorrow for the highlight of the three days for me - Justin Currie. Watch this space!

Friday, 30 July 2010

Great North Fun Day 2

I was going to call today's blog "Love Action" but then thought some people may get the wrong idea. The morning started with a hunt for a coat and ended with me shouting and dancing like a 14 year old...

We started off scouring the Asda for a coat. Didn't take long as they didn't have any but it did get me wondering why most people north of Watford Gap call it 'the' Asda. It's never 'the' Sainsburys or 'the' M&S. I thought it might be because Asda is short for Associated Dairies and "I'm just going to 'the' Associated Dairies" is grammatically more accurate, but then I thought, is the dialect of 'the' north being driven by an ongoing quest for grammatic perfection? Perhaps not.  Anyway we finally found a coat at "Go Outdoors" so it was Steve's turn to buy clothing today.

Phil Oakey. Human League were
After that it was down to the Fringe Festival for fun and frolics. We realised how old we were when at 4 in the afternoon instead of heading for the beer tent we found ourselves a nice bench and a couple of cups of tea. Can't believe I'm confessing this - only a short step from here to afternoon naps and blue rinses...

We spent half our time in the comedy tent which was a hit and miss affair. The compere was the funniest thing on the stage and several acts died on their backsides - seems many of them had underestimated the demands of a room full of 300 drunken northerners. Well 298 drunken northerners and 2 southern jessies high on caffeinated tea (we put the 'tea' in par-tea!)

After that it was outside to sing along to The Lighttening Seeds (excellent) and The Human League (fantastic!). They did all the big hits; Love Action, Being Boiled, Don't You Want Me and ended with Electruc Dreams. I looked around the crowd and noticed most were in the 35 - 45 age group and all the under dressed and bemused looking teens were sulking around in groups outside the beer tent muttering about their parent's awful taste in music and trying to persuade anyone of legal age to buy them a drink.

Tomorrow brings more music and maybe even some comedy. Proper comedy. You know, the stuff that actually makes you laugh...

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Great North Fun Day 1

I'm counting it as day one even though it was the day we travelled up here. To be honest it's pretty scary leaving your house for 6 weeks - even if it is going to be in the safe hands of some house sitters. You can't help wondering what incredibly important item you forgot to pack.

The trip was pretty uneventful bar a short break for lunch near Leicester. We were directed to the HGV area and suddenly Delores (our campervan) felt very small indeed, rather like a mouse getting under the feet of a herd of elephants. Still there was much loud singing along the way again and as much jigging in the seat as was possible whilst still maintaining full control of Delores.

We got to the Stockton site around 6pm and it quickly became clear that poor Steve had picked up a tummy virus - at least we're on a Caravan Club site for a few nights so we're afforded a little 'bathroom luxury'. Tummy bugs and motorhomes aren't a great combination! Anyway I did what any good wife would do in the circumstances - I dashed to Asda to get him pills and soup, got completely distracted and returned 'home' an hour or so later with a new handbag and top...

The campsite itself is nice enough. Stockton is very industrial so the views of the hills are partly obscured by chimneys and factories making looking at the countryside rather like trying to pick out a familiar face in a crowded room - you know it's here but you only get the odd tantalising glimpse. Mind you I'm not complaining - I actually think it's great to see there is some industry alive and well in this country. At least I hope it's well - if it isn't it clearly shouldn't be relying on me to help it out - look how much use I am with stomach bugs!

Oh and it was Steve's coat. The vitally important thing we forgot. Still at least I know my way around the clothes department of the local Asda - not completely useless afterall!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Wokingham Wanderings...

As it's not long before we disappear off for an extended pootle around the North I decided to take Delores to work to meet everyone.  Phase one was getting her into the carpark and phase two was finding somewhere to park her.  I eventually found a nice shady corner.  I find trees reduce the noise of the rain drumming down on the roof to a level where you can have a conversation without bellowing into the ears of the person next to you, and in the unlikely event of it being sunny... 
I proudly announced that she was in the car park and took a small group of work colleagues out for a guided tour.  I was almost at her door before I realised that I'd bought out my swipe card and not the keys I needed to get into the van.  Undaunted we all decided to have lunch onboard so myself, Tracey, Jane and Julie procured some exotic delicacies(!) from the staff canteen and headed forth.  It was all fine apart from the fact I hadn't expected to be spending any time on there and so hadn't levelled her, this meant we were all sitting at a jaunty angle and had to hang on to our drinks to prevent them sliding off the table!  Shame none of us took a pic for posterity!
Delores got the thumbs up from everyone (who then quickly put their thumbs down again to catch their drinks!) - my main concern now is checking for stow aways.  There's an odd noise coming from the overcab bed and Tracey has been missing for a couple of days... 

Monday, 5 July 2010

Relaxing Sunday?

A typical day in a MH? 

Thought I’d recount what happened to me last Sunday – just to see if it rings any bells with anyone else... To give it a little context it was our 4th morning on a fabulous but rather large and rambling CL in the middle of Cambridgeshire. 

I needed to drop Steve off at a place a few miles hence so thought I’d spend the rest of the day sorting Delores out. On the way we notice water pouring from the back of the van – bugger! When putting the picnic chairs away we’d knocked the hot water tank drain. Doh! Oh, and we’d left the storage door open – luckily nothing missing! Stop at Tesco on route back to site to pick up a few bits and pieces for lunch/ dinner etc. then wander back to site. Decide phase one is to empty the rubbish bin & loo cassette so I wander around the site for about 20 mins till I find the bins and the chemical waste point. Decide it’s too far to haul the Thetford so dump the rubbish, go and get Delores and drive around to waste point to empty loo – then drive back. Sorted! 

Wanting to get ahead of the game I start prepping some stuff for dinner so there’s less faffing later. Monty sits peacefully on step then potters off into long grass for a sniff around, 5 mins later hurtles back with oddly lopsided head – one side normal, one side swelling rapidly courtesy of bee sting. Rapid and panicky call to vet who tells me to administer ½ a Piriton pill. Catch cat (not many places to hide on a MH) and stuff pill down throat – swelling subsides though cat has more than a passing resemblance to a grey furry Ray Winstone. (I spend the rest of the day trying to figure out why one Piriton pill knocks a full sized human like me out cold but ½ a pill has zero affect on the lunatic moggy!) 

Finish prepping stuff for dinner so decide to clean myself up as I’m meeting a friend for lunch. Quick shower splash and then the water runs out. Then call from Steve to tell me he’s got stomach bug and needs drugs. So tart myself up as best I can with an egg cup of water, un hook, head off again, stopping to refill with water along the way (only 5 mins to find that!) and another stop at Tesco on route to nice lunch. 

As I race around Tesco I get a text from Steve saying “Having a nice relaxing morning?” 

I arrived early to collect Steve so sat in the back with the window wide open relaxing and reading a book. Steve arrived and we headed back to the site but I completely forgot about the wide open rear side window and almost decapitated several passers by along the way - I wondered why they were all waving at us...