Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Chills, spills, noodles and thrills

Althea at The Big Chill

It has been a very busy few weeks which is why this entry has taken so long to appear so many apologies but here goes.

Sharon and I spent six hours giving Althea a good scrub inside and out. Most of the time was taken up with getting 40 years worth of mold off the roof. I parked her next to the the garage so we could stand on the garage roof and use a combination of bleach, mold remover and stiff brushes to do it. It was about two hours in when Peter the caretaker came and took me to one side. There had been a complaint from a resident. Apparently my shorts (large and long and baggy with no cleavage showing at all) were offensive, her cat was frightened and we were wasting water causing her much distress.

After getting Althea looking wonderful we packed deck chairs, portable loo and some other stuff and set off. We were to pick up Mixmaster Morris and Dylan (DFTram) at The Big Chill Bar in Brick Lane just after midnight. The minute we set off it started to rain. Not polite English rain that sprinkles a layer of freshness on the roses, nor was it heavy summer rain we get in the UK now and then to wash out a wedding or bring a barbecue to an abrupt end. This was a downpour the likes of which is rarely seen in these parts. In minutes the streets were rivers with a vertical tsunami the old testament would have been proud of.

Althea being what she is has no heaters or demisters so I had to drive across London with the side windows down so I could see out of them while wiping the condensation off the windscreen as we went. Eventually we got there and after a little messing around we met up with the guys. The decision to stop off for bagels was a no brainer so minutes later we we headed for the bagel shop on Brick Lane where we bagged various bagels before finally heading out to The Big Chill.

It wasn't long before I was driving a van full of sleeping people down the M4 and thanks to Morris's idea about wiping washing up liquid on the windscreen I could see out.

We arrived at the festival site at 04:45 just as dawn was breaking. I dropped MMM and DFTram and we headed off to find our own campsite.

The Big Chill was wonderful. Lots of hills, not much mud as the sun came out the first morning and baked us until the moment it ended, when the rain returned.

* The Green Man weather was identical. ie it rained like hell until it started then blazing sun and more rain the moment it ended *

Gong were fantastic. Orbital were very Orbital and Chris Cunningham twisted our melons very nicely.

Mixmaster Morris and Dylan

Little Monkey enjoys the sun

Daevid Allen invites us to "have a cup o' tea"

On the Saturday night a slight interest in noodles I had been nurturing became a bit of a desire then a craving. I spotted a sign saying "Noodles" and made a B Line (or is that Bee Line?) for it. I decided from the menu that Chicken Miso soup was the one for me and placed my order. The young man at the counter showed me a cardboard box with noodles and veg in it and explained that the soup and meat or veg of my choice would be added to this. I assumed that this would all be delivered in a cup or bowl and agreed.

He then proceeded to pour a ladle full of what wasn't even Miso soup into the cardboard box, throw a sliver of cold chicken on top and present it to me. I held the box with the dilute gravy running down my arm and looked at him a little surprised.

"We've run out of cups." He said
"Right," I replied, handing over the £6
"And we've run out of spoons too," he said handing me a fork.
"Hmm ok", I said taking the wooden fork and stabbing at the cold noodles made a hole in the bottom of the already leaking box so even more of the luke-warm gravy that wasn't Miso soup ran down my arm.
He handed me a straw, "So you can drink the soup with this."

I managed to get one inch of Chicken and half a sip of disgusting soup (gravy) into my mouth. I took three steps and there was a dustbin...the new home of this terrible experience. I dumped the whole lot and made my way back to the comfort of Althea.

I personally would have stopped serving soup once I had run out of cups, spoons and soup but I have no business acumen. All I have is a conscience and that's no use in business is it?

Coming soon...in Part 2...the people of TBC...including Babies, Banana Beer and Balloons

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Greeeeeen Maaaaaan

Just a quick hello to all the people at the Green Man festival who are stopping to say hi, take pictures and generaly admire Althea. We are both having a great time and I will be adding proper entries for this and the Big Chill as soon as I get home.

-- Post From My iPhone

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Baby boy and Bath time

From Croxley we headed straight to Bath to see my Cousin's new baby Leo. I've never been there so it was a new experience for us both. Unable to find a level spot to park on we ended up taking the cushions out of Althea and sleeping on the floor in the flat instead.

Mum, Dad and baby are all doing very well. Little Leo is being an easy child at the moment which helps a lot. Sharon thoroughly enjoyed having a tiny baby to hold for a few minutes.

We had a good look round Bath and a posh meal in Browns and left the next day.

Stay on the path and don't eat the mushrooms

After a day to recover we headed back out to Croxley Green this time. Toby (Mr Plum), Ru (Mrs Plum), the dogs and cats would be our hosts for a couple of days. We listened to music, ate curry and went for walks in the damp green English countryside. On the Saturday night we played an impromptu Ocelot gig in Rickmansworth with no rehearsal. I was on a strange kit with strange brushes and had drunk a little too much beforehand. For the first two songs the bass wasn't plugged in and I was very crap. But after that we warmed up and were OK. The girls all got very drunk and on the way home I tried to figure out which Italian restaurant it was that my parents had met in all those years ago.

Next day we went to Serratt and had lunch in the Cock Inn. I found some edible mushrooms in the church yard but couldn't identify them satisfactorily enough so we didn't eat them. We found a sign on a tree a long way from the path that you have to walk right up to to see which said "stay on the path".

Althea meets Donna and gets a new heart

At last I was on holiday. Sharon was here and we were about to spend a couple of weeks roaming around the country. First stop was good old John the mechanic to get the fuel pump replaced. Donna is still standing in his yard so the two ambulances met for the first time. We left Althea with him and a day and a half later she was done. He already had a spare pump which he let us have very cheap and the whole job cost a fraction of what I was expecting to pay.

Not only does she take hills more confidently now but she starts "on the button" every time now. No more flattened batteries and melted cables. No more having to park facing down hill and pump the fuel to get her going.

We got to spend a couple of days with Ed and family again. Sharon and Xander fell in love which I expected would happen but soon it was time to pack up again and head back to London.