Too busy to Blog

It’s been ages since I got a chance to blog!! Been busy at work over the past few weeks and as Sarah said she had to make an appointment to see me!!

Lasers and everything

So what have I been up to? I did an Awards ceremony for Euromoney at the Brewery in London. It was a laugh as they had booked the Four Poofs and a Piano from the Jonathan Ross show to sing as the winners walked to the stage – they were so funny. Unfortunately after the show finished I was put into the wrong cab. After a discussion about where I wanted to go I suddenly realised that I wasn’t in one of our cab companies cabs and would be faced with a bill of over £100 to get home so I bailed out.

However this left me in London at 3:45am with no means of getting home – I ended up walking down to London Bridge Station and jumping on the 5:02 train which got me home 9after another 20 minute walk from the Station) at just before 7am – just as everyone else was getting up!! needless to say I didn’t go into work the following day.

On the Sunday we went up to Brackley to the Honda Formula One site where Sarah’s brother works as they were having an open day. It was however, and let’s be diplomatic here, a bit of a disappointment! There was a two hour wait to get a bus from the car park to the site but luckily we were pre-warned and found somewhere nearer to the venue to park up. Once on site there were only 3 food outlets for nearly 5000 people so there was a wait of over an hour for food.

The back of Murray Walker’s Head

The events that had been organised turned out to be ticket only – not sure if you had to pay extra as the tickets were sold out before we got there!! So we didn’t get to see Murray Walker interview Jenson Button or any thing like that. I did see Murray Walker though when I almost got him to sign the program but that too was a bit of disorganisation and he was whisked away. The only good thing was the sell off of cheap team merchandise other than that we did a 250 mile round trip to stand in Honda’s carpark.

And as for the PA system!! It hurt!! – next time folks give me a call – I’ll organise it for you!!

Then I had a job for Superdrug in Coventry. I also had to do the editing of the video that had been started the previous week as the editor was on holiday (again). Unfortunately for me some of the video had been programmed in a software package called Motion which I hadn’t used before. there’s nothing like trying to make sense of a program while the client is watching to keep you on your toes!!

The event itself was up in Coventry at the Motorcycle museum and had 1000 of their staff attending – 95% of which were female. It went well but I did get lost on the way to the hotel and by the time I arrived there they had stopped doing hot food!!

Friday night was the leavers bbq at the school where Sarah’s daughter is about to finish. At least I got there before the food ran out this time – in fact i think I made up for 2 years ago!! Ben was upset that he couldn’t play on the slides outside the reception classroom. He made up for it by running round the yard following all the lines on the ground and shouting “excuse me!” at anyone who got in his way.

Sunday we hacked our way back into the garden again. The plants have grown so fast because of all the rain. i had to cut back next doors apple tree as it was hanging down and shading the grape vine. I “scrumped” all the good apples and will probably make a crumble with them. There was one branch that was scraping against the roof of the conservatory so I cut it down and as I did it fired apples all over next doors garden!!

I also got to use the high pressure hose my Dad gave me to clean some of the moss etc off the brickwork path outside the back door. I assumed for this purpose that there isn’t a hose pipe ban in force at the moment but even if there was I doubt anyone would have had the front to arrest me given the amount of rain we have had recently – I went down to the bank near Croydon the other day only to find the road had flooded outside it.

Flooding in Croydon

So that has been a quick run down of the last 10 days or so!

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Hard working man

Hard working man

This is me hard at work in the control area on Saturday

One of the things that amazed me over the weekend was how tidy the field was left. While I was pulling the cables out I saw people who had no connection with the organisers going round picking up rubbish.

The thing I learnt over the weekend was – you need more than 6 pegs to put up your tent!!

God loves Hippies

So after what seemed like weeks of constant rain the sun broke out on Friday just as we were setting up for our festival in a field in Kent – eat your heart out Mr Eavis – as my brother put it the only dry festival so far this summer!!

 The stage

I’d got there about lunch time of Friday to run in the power cables across the field from the house. After a few difficulties including a duff cable, several tricky trees and a shock from the mains I finally had a working power supply at the stage end. I then went to pick up the equipment and by the time we went to bed on Friday we had a stage, backstage area and lighting – we just hoped the weather would hold for the day itself.

Thankfully it did. I spent the morning setting up more equipment and worrying about the PA not turning up especially when he was about half an hour late. Eventually we had a PA and the first band setting up on stage. Silverwood played a great opening set even though part of the stage fell down on them during the latter part of it. We had to get out ladders and tape it back up again before the Urban Spacemen could set up.

Silverwood

I spent most of the day setting bands up, recording them or watching them but I did get the occasional chance to wander around talk to people and go to the bar! There were about 200 people turned up in a variety of cars vans and even horse boxes and Winnebago’s and were camped around the field. The bank overlooking the stage was strewn with people in tie-dyes but the space in front of the stage was empty. Everyone was just chilling out and enjoying the summer sunshine.

The Urban Spacemen

The crowds flock in

During the second band word came that two friends of the guy who owned the field had arrived and would we let them do a quick set. As the two friends in question were Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook we managed to squeeze them in and they ran through 7 of their hits on acoustic guitars and certainly got the crowd up and clapping.

Cool for Cats

The Cosmic Charlies were next and as most of the audience were Deadheads and they are a Grateful Dead tribute band they went down really well. Having said that they did play a really great set including my favourite Dead song Dark Star which amazingly was the first time I’d ever seen the song performed live by anyone. It was also great to see one of the partygoers signing music to two deaf people.

Cosmic Charlie - How do you do?

Signing music for the deaf

After the Charlies we set up for the headlining act Barry Melton who was playing with English band The Green Ray. Barry Melton was in Country Joe and the Fish and played at Woodstock and Monterey and was there during the original Summer of Love 40 years ago. He had flown over just to appear at our show but had fitted another gig in on the Thursday night in
London. Apart from an early argument with the PA guy he played a really good set.

Barry “The Fish” Melton

The music finished earlier than planned at 11:30 but as it had got quite cold not many people complained. I packed all of my equipment away and helped the PA guy load his van and was just looking forward to getting to bed when it came to light that he hadn’t been paid so I wandered round the site in the dark looking for the man with the money and just as my torch was about to give out I found him – in bed!!! So I made him get up and come down to write a cheque!!

It was 2:15 when I eventually did get to bed but I found myself awake again at 6:30 so I got up and started pulling the power cables out. I can’t remember being thanked by so many people as I was this weekend and everyone I spoke to said how much they had enjoyed it. Plans are already being made for next year!!

 

The morning after

Splish Splash

So Ben has a pair of wellies and he’s not afraid to use them

A puddle

And all this rain has given him the perfect excuse to put them on and get out there. Above he has found a puddle and below another puddle (and a friend)

Another puddle

Oooh look an even bigger puddle!

Bigger puddle

 Hello dad!!

It’s a bit muddy

Rants about traffic wardens #2

On my way up to London this afternoon I read in the London Paper about a complaint about traffic wardens issuing parking tickets after 3 minutes to cars parked in loading bays which show signs saying 20mins. When I got there I witnessed another example of Traffic Wardens in action.

We were loading equipment into a London Hotel which backs onto one of London’s parks so the only entrance is through the front. Naturally the road outside the front has double red lines all the way along it and there is no loading area – so to load into the hotel there is no choice but to park illegally.

We had offloaded most of the equipment when the heavens opened – water literally poured from the sky, thunder crashed and lightning flashed. As the stuff that was left on the truck was either metal (not a good idea in a storm) or would be ruined by the torrential rain we had no choice to stop work.

After a while a Police car pulled up in front of the truck. The truck was parked in a part of the road where it would cause minimum obstruction but the Police car was parked where it was more in the way of traffic. It sat there for about 5 minutes till the rain stopped and then a traffic officer got out and put a parking ticket on the van.

I challenged her pointing out that we were obviously unloading.

“I’m just doing my job”

“So are we”

“But you are parked on double red lines”

“So are you and anyway there isn’t any where else to park”

“Well appeal then” she said and walked off.

I wonder how much income London makes each year persecuting people who are just going about their business. It must contribute to the cost of doing business in the capital to the tune of millions of pounds every year. Ironically we work in an industry which brings lots of business to London every year!