Mr Alexander lite
Thank you to those who have sent messages of kindness over the last few days. It means a lot to hear you’re out there and giving me the occasional thought. It’s been a funny time. Funny Peculiar of course. Not without the occasional Funny Haha, but mostly Peculiar.
To pick up more or less where I left off, I had failed (sorry was unsuccessful at) the C1+E driving test which would have allowed me to be legal above 8.25 tons train weight. I have been driving around for at least ten years above this weight, but I only realised as a result of the Weight Prohibition story that there was a weight limitation on what is, slightly patronisingly, called the Granny license for those of us still alive who passed their test before 1833. Knowing that I was taking the lorry and trailer out illegally started to make me paranoid and I started imagining a VOSA conspiracy. I know that just because I’m paranoid does not mean they’re not out to get me, but I had some very odd dreams and a few even odder waking moments. It didn’t help that the guy at Llay during the weight prohibition fiasco told me he’d seen a man in a VOSA van slowing down and looking into the yard where I stayed for a couple of weeks. Who knows even if that was true, but it didn’t help.
So, in my head, I had to deal with the possibility that the next phase of performing work, right through June and early July would mean me dodging the Man from VOSA or alternatively finding some other way through the maze. Lots of possibilities emerged and I explored all of them, from finding a driver to drive my rig while I followed in the car with the dogs, to stripping every possible thing from the lorry and trailer to try to bring them below 8.25 tons.
It was this latter option that I have pursued over the last few days. There was a large lump of gubbins, part of the old wheelchair lift that was bolted to the chassis under the floor of the workshop/store so I started with that. It took all day and lots of shoving, banging, swearing and cutting but it gave steel gave way to iron will and the thing came out. It was reassuringly heavy, I was unable to lift it single-handed so it was an excellent start.
I then took everything that was not entirely essential for the show from the trailer. The awning has gone into storage, several cases which I only use from time to time, including the prizes case and my close-up magic case. The onstage speakers which I can manage without I think but which are quite heavy and the newly renovated but scarcely ridden giraffe unicycle. Lots of odd bits of timber I like to have around in case and two fire extinguishers (never used). I furtled underneath the trailer and took off the old trailer mover which hasn’t worked since I had the new axles fitted so that was quite a chunky lump gone.
For now I also removed the generator and the trolley jack, the mini motorbike, my socket set, tools and spares carried just in case. All my books have gone and just about anything that I only use occasionally. I even emptied the water tank.
So it was with some trepidation therefore I took the rig to the weighbridge this morning, and even more as I waited for the weight certificate. To my absolute amazement and considerable relief the lorry came in at 5820Kg and the trailer at 2260, making a chinese auspicious 8080Kg and a whole 170Kg below the maximum legal weight.
Now all I have to do is to work out what I really cannot do without from the rejected pile and add my own weight. My feeling is to keep the generator (55Kg ) and the trolley jack (28Kg) and crash diet for four days so I get down to the remaining 13 stone and 10 pounds (87Kg). Mr Alexander lite. Cue Land of Hope and Glory as the season begins.
All the best from a road near you,