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Thursday, September 27


I have arranged some training with a colleague at work. We're supposed to be sharing the sessions, but he's just gone off on paternity leave to have a baby daughter and I already think he's checking his email too much in his absence, so I'd really rather he didn't zoom back and run the first training session in the series of courses we'd planned.

So, I wrote some notes for the 30 minute session we'd promised the team and I went to the assigned meeting room to prepare some flip chart pages before the session started. At some point, I turned round to discover that the room had filled with people while I'd been engrossed. Generally, people don't come to meetings on time, and I'd already broken the trend by going to the meeting room early in order to prepare. My "students" had also broken the trend by attending on the dot and were even being very respectful and not disturbing me with jibber jabber or chitter chatter.

I did about 37 minutes of my 30 minute course, because I can't stop talking. I think people understood and I think it wasn't either too patronising or over their heads. I hope they appreciated it. I hope they can come to use what I showed them.

I left the office on the dot in order to go to a gig that I'd had booked for a few months. The gig was in Wivenhoe, which is basically near Colchester. I had to go around the M25 to the opposite clock point of London from Reading before then being able to reach the gig. I couldn't speed, but the traffic wouldn't have allowed that anyway. I had to relax and wait for my arrival time to come when it came. I reckoned that I'd arrive at the gig by 8 and that that would be ok.

As it happens, I arrived pretty much when I planned to and I even discovered that I was early for my slot - in the middle section. I managed to spook the promoter when she texted me with "how are you doing?" and I replied "who is this?", not recognising her number. She quickly told me who she was and of her sincere hope that I was on my way... worried, no doubt that my lack of knowledge of who she was might be a sign that I'd forgotten her, the gig and my sense of responsibility. I replied that I was near and all was well.

Excitingly - can this be exciting? - I had an experience with a Magic Roundabout. I'd heard of "The Magic Roundabout", which apparently is in Swindon, but this one is a similar thing, and it's in Colchester. My sat-nav was showing me a roundabout shaped thing which it was also directing me to go around anti-clockwise. This freaked me out, then I arrived at the roundabout to find a mini-roundabout between me and it. You slingshot around the mini roundabout, go on the main body of the roundabout in the lefthand lane (the main body is two lane) and then slingshot off it at the next mini roundabout. It did my head in, but I liked it.

My mood was better than previous days, but not brilliant. I managed to keep myself occupied during the journey with the radio, the Kaiser Chiefs and Gilbert and SUllivan. At the gig I was fairly non-plussed until just before I went on, when I turned on the funny and had a cracker of a gig. I told the audience that they were cheering me up, which they were, had some more of a cracker, felt physically more attractive, came off stage and immediately started the gig come-down.

In fairness to myself, the gig comedown was not just about feelings. It was also an energy thing. I'd not eaten too much at lunch and it was getting late. After being given some money which came with an apology for its low-value, and which I later discovered to be of higher value than I expected, I left and went to get some food from Tesco. I then went home and got to bed at a vaguely reasonable time.

The apology for the money thing was odd. It's not the first time there's been a random incident involving money this week, though. Someone was giving me some money the other day and they got down to adding up the last few pounds in silver. They didn't have a ten pence piece to go from 90 pence to one pound, so they stuck a twenty pence on and said, magnanimously, that they didn't mind overpaying me by ten pence. I, not actually expecting or needing this payment, didn't have the heart to point out that they'd miscalculated the figure by a pound and were in fact giving me 90 pence less, not 10 pence more. I didn't care. It was better to leave them thinking they'd done me a favour.

Today wasn't easy and it was hard changing gear from lecturing work colleagues to amusing an audience. I did it, but it was hard. The post-work dash to the road system and the gig wasn't much fun either. Even the late night drive home was dogged with a massive standstill as someone had managed to turn their car around and onto its side... at least the standstill was for a reason.

In short, the gig was a beacon of amusement in a difficult week.


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