Anyone reading my last couple of blogs might be forgiven for believing I lead a kind of charmed existence, only meeting people who mend things for free and donate needed items just because they are such great people and because they’ve seen me do a good show or two! A kind of wonderful over the rainbow land of loving, caring, joyful citizens of Utopia with bands of dedicated workers all committed to ensuring that Mr Alexander’s show must go on!
Perhaps with the experience of the Isle of Wight and the BunkFest only just fading like the marks on the grass of the Kinecroft in Wallingford, I was beginning to believe it too. But then comes Malpas and the Yesteryear Rally. I have entertained at this event for a couple of years. A large steam and vintage rally in the lovely heart of Cheshire. It has been run by David and Pat for years, ably supported by a good committee. Last year though and unexpectedly Pat died, leaving Bill, now in his eighties and not well himself, to steer it virtually single-handed. However Bill was there, working his socks off as ever to make the show a success and a fitting and wonderful tribute to Pat.
The show provides my electricity and for the last few years I have plugged in to a box behind my stage and that is is what I did on my arrival ready to set up the stage. The day was beautiful, a lovely mid-autumn warm September offering and all was good as I set up in the sunshine, stopping as ever for tea and chats with those who remembered me from previous years.
Suddenly though the power goes off, with no warning. I have various things to charge and I thought maybe it was a power cut and it would soon be restored. As nothing happened in ten minutes, I went to investigate to find my plug had been pulled out and another plugged in its place with no more available sockets on the board. Now that is something I would never do. If there are no available sockets then you don’t just pull one out and plug yourself in, but that is exactly what had happened. Obviously it needed some investigation so I asked who had unplugged it and was told it was an electrician! I followed the plugged-in cable and found two young guys fixing up a lighting pole. I asked them if they had unplugged me and they confirmed they had. I asked whether they had thought of at least letting me know that they were going to do that and/or offer some kind of explanation as to why, but this hadn’t entered their heads. They were offhand and rude when I suggested that I might have been doing something with power tools that would have caused problems if the power was cut. In fact I wasn’t but they weren’t to know that, but in any case they could not have cared less and continued to be extremely sarcastic and offered no solution to the problem. I suggested that as they were electricians they might be able to add another socket to the box but they looked at me as though I was asking for the crown jewels.
I gave up on them and spoke to a guy who by the logo on his t shirt was a committee member explaining the problem. Despite being disabled he came with me round to the electric box and took out his own supply and gave me that, saying he could re-route his cable into another box. I said I would check out the nearest alternative supply which I had noticed a little way off in the other direction. I found that on this other box there were two free sockets and if I had a longer cable I would be able to reach it. The electricians were still there so I asked them if it might be possible to acquire a cable from them so I could do this. I was met with the classic well-practised sharp intake of breath and shaking head that they must give to customers when they come to fix a simple electrical fault but they know they can stretch out to a few hours or days when the job might take seconds or minutes. ‘No we don’t have any cables’. Actually a lie as I had seen plenty hanging in the open back of their van. I laughed aloud at this, much to their further annoyance, but I couldn’t help myself. ‘I love helpful people like him’, I said sarcastically to the old guy who had helped me. ‘Well we will leave it for now and see what happens’, he said, trying to avoid any further confrontation.
Ah well, it’s all part of the tapestry.
All the best from a road near you,