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Saturday, August 6

For once in a long while, this entry is being written on the day in question, rather than after the fact with the benefit of hindsight and the negative effects of long-term memory loss. My short-term memory is hardly at its best, but I'll try to recount what happened since I awoke.

I rose at around 9.30 this morning. I had a shower and some breakfast - not at the same time, of course - and then headed to Jesmond, where I dropped off my car and picked up a Citroen van. The van was being hired by a friend of mine, who lives in Edinburgh. My job for the day was to drive to Edinburgh, pick her up, along with a shed-load of stuff she planned to store in my loft and then store it in my loft with her. This will enable her to go to Australia for a year and forget about her stuff, knowing that it's safe and sound. She could have forgotten about her stuff without me, but the safe and sound bit was where I came in. To pay for storage for her belongings would have been significantly more expensive than stuffing it in my loft, even when you factor in a day's van hire, fuel for a return trip to Edinburgh for me, and a train fare to get her home afterwards. Fair enoughski.

So, by 10.30 I was heading to Edinburgh on the A1, as is my way. I had the radio for company and, after reconfiguring it to have a reasonable sound and to use its own RDS feature to keep tuned into Radio 2 (some idiot had dicked with both) found it to be very good company. I had Jonathon Ross's show and some of "Jamming" and then I was at my friend's flat.

After a bizarre coffee - bizarre as it was made from a mix of different grounds, as supplies of neither grounds were grounds for a whole caffetiere (see what I did there) full - we started packing the van. This involved moving lots of boxes. I was outside moving them from doorway to van and my friend was going in and out moving from her flat (thankfully ground floor) to doorway. This worked rather well.

Then we hit the road, via the Tesco garage in which a feintly amusing incident once happened to me. We used the garage to stock up on supplies akin to lunch. The road trip was eventless, trafficless and, therefore, entirely dull.

Arriving back in Newcastle, we filled up with diesel (it's 50% more to take a van round trip to Edinburgh than to take my car - useful statistic!). Then we had a two-phase approach to sorting out the loft-loading. Phase 1 (in which Doris gets her oats - email if you got that) was to shift all the stuff from the van to the upper floor of my house. This involved a lot of running up and down the stairs and was, quite frankly, quite tiring. Hot, bothered and in need of a break, we then had a coffee. This too was a bizarre coffee in that I set out to make a cappuccino but was told, at the last minute, that my friend would prefer to keep control of her lactose-intolerance and skip it. I had to boil a kettle and run some more water through the coffee to justify handing it over. Still, no harm done. It was an americano and I am not a bad host.

Over coffee (and ironing) brief chatting was indulged in, and then it was time to get to work. With my friend up in the loft and me at the foot of the latter handing boxes up, or climbing up with them, the items soon moved into place. Not a bad job. Not bad at all. But, it was now 5.45pm and I had to be in Darlington for a gig. I jumped into the shower (well, stepped carefully, I didn't want to do myself an injury) while my friend went online to look for directions to the venue.

Then, after a quick dry, I rang the hire company to arrange a 6.30pm drop off of the van. This achieved, we were back in my car and heading to Darlington. We arrived in plenty of time. Quite cleverly, my friend had arranged herself an evening train from Darlington station to Edinburgh. This left us plenty of time and plenty of options for getting her back... had we run very late, I could have dropped her in Newcastle on the way to Darlington and she could have picked up her train later than booked as it would have passed through Newcastle station. If we were running to time or early, she could come with to Darlington and save the bother of sitting bored, alone, hot from a day's moving of her worldly possessions from one country to another.

We were running pretty much to time. I arrived at the venue early enough to do a soundcheck and then sit and relax before the show. The train was caught in plenty of time and I had a really nice time with the audience when I went on stage in the "easy middle section". We had a few gigglers in and I made a few lines up as I went along to keep it all together. It was a completely different experience to the previous evening in Newcastle. Rock on, Darlington!

Back in Newcastle, the late night Tesco garage proved to be full of idle bastards who don't understand that closing at midnight means that the shop shouldn't be dark and inaccessible at 11.50. Gits! I had soup and porridge for an evening meal. It's probably healthier than what I might have bought from the Tesco express bit. We'll never know.


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