Saturday evening I found the rest of the Morris side and we did eight dances in two sets. The first four were in the car cark outside the community hall and the last four were inside, positioned between the rows of tables set for their meal. We had to do a quick change as one of the dances we were going to do in the second set requires the vigorous striking of the floor with our sticks and they had polished wooden floor ... not a good combination. We swapped in another dance and it all went OK.
Actually I miss heard a call on one dance and started to do something completely wrong - instead of two lines of three people passing each other I started off in the wrong direction. Much quick thinking and some bluff later I invented a new figure where four people went one way and two the other way. I think the audience wouldn't have noticed anything if the look of complete panic hadn't engulfed my face. Having got half way through this new figure I realised that there was a minor problem of timing / positioning for me to actually get back into my correct place in the set but somehow it worked out all right in the end.
On Sunday I went round to my Mum's for a meal and to help clear the front steps where a small forest of trees and assorted weeds were making a takeover bid. They were duly hacked into submission and the steps revealed to the (surprisingly hot) late afternoon sunshine.
Someone else enjoying the sun was the local fox. While we were eating he came out onto the top of the lawn to sun bathe and walked off and back a few times. There are at least two foxes living in the wild section at the top of the garden. There is an old concrete structure, a second world war air-raid shelter, and we think they live in there. No one has been up that far for a year or two now so it is quite overgrown. Some years we have seen the cubs playing on the lawn but not so far this year. Usually I never have my camera with me when I've seen them before but on Sunday I did and managed to take quite a few good pictures. The camera has a x10 optical zoom and a x4 electronic zoom so I can get quite good long distance shots sometimes. My new icon is the fox yawning and I have a few other pics I'll post when I get the time.
Sunday evening I drove down to Cardiff. That was a bit of a strain. My company car is in for repairs, following the knock where a car skidded into me whilst I was stationary, and the replacement car, a Fiat Stilo, had a problem with the windscreen wipers being on the intermittant setting regardless of where the control was. Since (a) the journey is westwards, straight into the setting sun and (b) all the bugs were out in force dieing on the windscreen, it soon turned into a streaky mess and the washer water bottle emptied. I stopped and refilled it and sprayed water on the screen for a while to shift the worst of the mess but it still wasn't good. I also "met" a pigeon on the journey; I glimpsed it ahead, there was a loud bang on the roof and I jerked my head down. I've no idea what happened to the bird, from the force of the impact I would not expect it to live, but surprisingly I could see no damage to the car. I was expecting to find a dent in the roof from the noise. Poor pigeon ... I hope death was quick.
Monday: Having had all that fun with the windscreen wipers I decided to try and get them fixed. First problem, no phone number for the company the rented it (I didn't rent it myself, the company doing the repair did). I eventually, after a couple of false starts, found the corect number and got through to them. They said I needed to ring the "breakdown" number in the car. I go out to the car park, find the correct number, come back and ring it. I get put through to Fiat Care ... which is actually the AA (Automobile Association - one of the major car breakdown and recovery services in the UK). They are, understandably, not prepared to classify my problem as a breakdown and suggest I contact a local Fiat dealer. *sigh* They do at least give me a phone number of a Fiat garage ... except that that garage is now not a Fiat garage. *grrr* This garage does however know where one is and have a phone number - which is actually the correct one!
When I get through to the service department and explain my problem they say that they'll have to talk to the hiring company before they can do anything. So I give them the number and leave them to sort it all out, secure in the knowledge that my problems will soon be solved ...
Several hours later the garage call me back. They have not been able to get through to the company but can probably get around this. Can I bring the car in to them on Thursday morning between 8 and 8.30 AM? OK, but they are on the other side of town, so I ask if they'll provide either a replacement car or a lift for me to my office if they cannot fix the problem quickly? "Oh no, we don't do that", they reply. Well I take the appointment anyway, as a back stop in case all else fails, then try and contact the hiring company. No joy. So I hunt around on the internet, find a head office number (which sounds like a Fax machine) and another one which leads me from a receptionist to someone called Angela in their fleet department. She listens sympathetically to my story, then explains that it is not her department but then says that she will see that it is sorted out for me. Hurray for someone prepared to take ownership of the problem!
I'm leaving work now, so I'll save the rest of this epistle for another day.
*waits for squark of rage from everyone reading ... "What happened next?" Ah patience dear reader, patience. :) *