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Stuff I've done

August 5th (yes, its before my last entry, but I haven't mentioned it yet)... was the first of (what we hope) will be an annual mini-music festival, "The Village Dream Festival," held in Cardiff. This year's was specifically aiming money for Devilstick Peat, a clown, juggler and medieval fool who does a lot of work with kids in all sorts of places, inlcuding Iraq , Beslan, Palestine and Israel... The charity have supported Peat in the past, and will continue to do so, and he in turn has helped us raise money at various events. In the future, we hope Village Dream will be in aid of The Anne Harris Children's Fund specifically and we hope that it will raise even more money in future years than the £1700-ish that we raised this year!

August 12th would have been another small music festival, Party In The Paddock (one of many by that name, as far as I can tell), but it was cancelled... which is a shame as I missed last years, but I was told it was a nice friendly, fun little event.

September 2nd and 3rd was Bristol International Festival of Kites and Air Creations (BIFKAC as I like to call that mouthfull!). The weather was BAD for the saturday of the event, and only a bit better on the sunday... and we were on site from the thursday, and it wasn't any better before the event either.... luckily the charity managed to sell some of a great big donation of children's clothes we'd been given recently... so it wasn't a complete washout, but it did come close. We also had one of the little inflatables tear its lines and try to escape...! It was chased and caught, but it was a near thing...!

And last weekend, 1st October, I fired a steam engine for the first time in (apparently) 3-and-a-half years! My 'ticket' to roster as a fireman was lapsed, so I had to be reassessed... luckily, they decided to be fairly informal about the reassessment, as the railway has has about a year of being closed for trains while they moved the whole station yard around and built a new museum building.... Anyway I had a damn good day..! Plenty of steam almost everytime it was needed... and even when there wasn't plenty, there was enough, with more being made in case we needed it, so we didn't run out at all... there was always enough water in the boiler and my fire behaved reasonably well too... apparently the coal we're using at the moment is known to be horrid... and it is... once all the flammable stuff in it has burnt away, you are left with a lump of stuff that is almost the same size as the original lump of coal... this doesn't go away and your fire ends up getting really thick and very prone to holes... which are bad as they really screw things up for making steam. Still, I coped with it all and my ticket is now renewed for a further 2 years... I think I'm gonna start trying to get maybe 3 turns in a year... its a long way to go... and it will mean taking a day off on the monday so I can drive back down here safely... I really shouldn't have tried to this time... I ended up stopping in service stations and having naps every hour or so in order to avoid falling asleep at the wheel...