Given that I travelled approximately 840 miles, spending many many hours in the car, and plundering much cash and petrol and environment in the process, it's probably worth describing my arrival in Edinburgh, Newcastle, Leeds and Reading as a series of successes. The illustration to the right here shows the sheer ludicrous nature of my journeying, approximately. When you add to this the fact that I'm off to Liverpool for a gig tomorrow night, and I'm in SW scotland in about 10 days' time, and then going to Edinburgh in August. Well, let's call this weekend's driving something of a rehearsal.
I pity my poor car, which undoubtedly needs some TLC, but most probably needs replacing sometime soon. Given my financial situation, which has been rendered uncertain until after the Edinburgh festival, I simply have to risk not replacing my car just now.
I'll do a day by day on the trip, but maybe I'll keep it brief.
I had an appointment in the centre of Reading, which I attended on foot from my home. I managed to get to the appointment with plenty of time to spare, get a greetings card on the way AND a coffee, and still do it all in less than 30 minutes. And it was even a nice healthy walk. Not bad at all.
After I'd finished, I walked home, changed, got on the road and had a leisurely drive to Edinburgh. During this time I listened to the radio, listened to the first series of the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, and spoke to a friend on the telephone. It was about six and a half hours' driving (with occasional pitstops) in total, and it didn't feel like hard work.
I arrived at my friend's house and we chatted long into the night.
Waking up later than planned, I went out with my friend to walk his dog, a gorgeous 12 week old Huskie. This is a lovely dog. This is a dog which attracts very much attention. The general conversation goes like this:
Nice person: (to dog) Oooh, you're so cute. (to owner) What is it? How old is it?
Correct answer: She's a huskie - 12 weeks old.
Now. I'm a comedian. I'm not necessarily a good comedian, but I'm still incapable of resisting an opportunity for a joke. This is why I commented on the people in the cafe today, who were slicing onions, with this joke:
Q. Why do you cry when you're slicing onions?
A. Because it's really sad.
Anyway, these random interactions with strangers are funny. There's loads of scope for taking the piss, AND you'd probably get away with it. Example:
Attractive student girl: (to dog) Oooh, you're so cute.
Subversive owner: And so are you? How old are you? What breed are you?... where you going?... call me... just whistle... throw me a stick...
My favourite moment was when a woman, walking her own dog, stopped and asked something. Here's what I would have said.
Other dog walker: Oooh. What's that?
Subversive me: It's a dog. I'm surprised you didn't work it out, you've got one of your own, there.
Anyway, the point is that we walked the dog and got a little exercise ourselves and it was good.
Then we had some pints.
Then I went to a wedding.
Then I came back from the Wedding and discovered that I'd accidentally locked everyone out of the flat. I'd been given a set of spare keys and had, feeling like I was being responsible, locked the front door of the flat on the way out, being the last person to leave. I'd turned the key in the mortice lock and thought that I was leaving the place secure. I was. However, the other key holder didn't have the key to the mortice lock, so it was, perhaps, more secure than I'd planned.
Having said that, all three people, who were waiting for me when I arrived back, had managed to climb up some scaffolding that was being used outside of the building, and make their entrance through the window. So, perhaps the mortice lock wasn't really the question when it came to securing the building. I was apologetic for my mistake and my host was magnanimous in his response.
We stayed up chatting until the even wee-er and smaller hours.
I slept later than planned, visited by various pets in the course of my semi-doze. After a coffee and a nice long chat, I was back on the road. Newcastle awaited me, and I listened to The Feeling and then the original london cast recording of My Fair Lady (Julie Andrews and Rex Harrison). This I sang along to lustily, arriving at my house in Newcastle at around 5.30pm.
I hung out there for a bit, chatting to my friend, who is my only tenant there. I noticed how good the paint job we did in April was. And how good it wasn't too. I noticed how much the house needs some quality time spending on it, and may go up for a couple more days in July/August to try to spend that time. It seems that there needs to be effort invested just to break even on the work that needs to be done. In the meantime, however, I should still try to get some tenants in. I can't afford to run the house without them.
I headed off to my gig in plenty of time and set up there. It looked like a good venue and a nice audience.
It wasn't an easy gig, though. I had some successes and some failures with the crowd, and it was kind of good that another local comedy promoter had come along to see how well I fared, and it was also bad, because I think anything short of storming that gig, which I didn't do, would have left her unimpressed. I'll find out at some point what she really thinks, but a hard gig is not necessarily the best place to showcase one's talents. That'll be it for her for the next two years, if she was unimpressed this time. But, she only books one club, so it's important, but it's not THAT important.
I managed to remain fairly positive as I scooted off onto the long drive back. I stopped in at a friend's place in Leeds for a coffee and to shoot the breeze. Then it was refuelling and home.
I wish I'd gotten more sleep, but something has to give.