Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Mr Saxon goes to Poole: Saturday Morning " if you go down to the woods today"

The only way to describe the bed in the B&B is "bouncy". Maybe it was just due to me getting used to a memory foam mattress but every time I turned over in it, it felt like I was going to bounce out of the bed. And they must have been some strong springs for me to feel that!

After getting ready and having a rather too long and overly colourful burst of language when I found my missing shaving kit, it was time to go.

Now breakfast was in a place called "georgie porgie's"  a restaurant which I hadn't heard of before but it it sounded interesting and on the plus side I had lucked out and been assigned the "middle" group for breakfast. So not stupidly early but not late enough so I would have to rush.

What I found was what can best be described as the a wonderland of breakfast. Not only was it all you can eat buffet, there was literally every kind of breakfast food you can think of. Ceral's, porridge, juices, plain bread, toast, pastries, bacon, sausages, beans, eggs, boiled, poached and fried..................

Well you get the idea. Basically it was place that left me in two minds. Firstly wishing that we had this place up near geektown and secondly glad that we didn't have a place like this near geektown as if that's how good their breakfast's were their dinners were likely to be as equally good.

So first up for the day was a service project at a local school. Which as it turned out was a primary school with very little in the way of chairs in the main hall but a lot of kids instruments which unsurprisingly with such a grown up group of individuals (no really) lead to a few impromptu renditions.

The service project was to clear a nature trail through the nearby woods for the school, but walking out of the school the heavens opened Badly. I decided discretion ( especially with carrying my camera, yes the case has a water proof case but there's no point tempting fate) was the better part of valor and took shelter with some of the other mid singles under this odd wooden shelter thing.

Other mid singles kept walking and disappeared into the woods. But then the vast majority were still sheltering in the school! Fortunately the rain quickly disappeared and we were able to catch up with the others.

Now the trail was pretty overgrown but we had been issued with lots of tools. Something which once again helped to sum up the difference between guys and gals. Now the different approach can be best summed up basically as

girl: I will carefully clip that plant, that plant and leave that plant as it's not terribly overgrown and isn't a weed or a pest

Guy: I have sharp tool and I can cut things, r'aahhhh!!!

Okay so slightly over emphasised but you get the idea.

They say sometimes if you go down to the woods that you were get a big surprise. Well anyone going into those woods would have been really surprised as most mid singles had switched to using there ponchos which had come in variety of colours such as bright blue, bright yellow and pink! Which did lead to some interesting photos.

Now with so many mid-singles the existing trail was quickly cleared. Which lead us to a problem as it suddenly came to a end, which lead to some confusion as we weren't sure if it was meant to keep going or if it had really ended! With no leaders, and people sent to ask failing to reappear ( cue lots of jokes about Charlie.... don't know what I'm talking about then look it up :-)

But after a little while with so many guys standing around with tools and nothing to do it was almost inevitable that the hacking quickly started again. Which fortunately turned out okay as it really was part of the trail. Although with all of the clearing stuff being chucked back further into the wood we were wondering if this was part of some secret plan to create a self sustaining service project.

Of course the easing of the work meant that we had some chances for impromptu socialising, which was a little bit strange talking to people in a wood wearing multi-coloured pieces of plastic.

Now it was about at this time I happened to check my phone and found that of course with my battery being so low I had actually received a barrage of calls from a friend. Now as to the reason well I won't go into that but suffice to say a damsel in distress was in need of a listening ear. But the start of the conversation proved to be another one of the highly amusing points of the weekend, as it went some like this

Me: I can't talk long as my battery is dying and I'm in a wood

Damsel: In a wood? Are you taking Owen for a walk?

Me: No

Damsel: Where is this wood?

Me: Poole

Damsel:... wait what?

Monday, August 06, 2012

Mr Saxon goes to Poole. Friday Night " Only drunk men and Mormons"

So, previously I may have managed I found satnavs a little annoying. However I am now a through convert as without tap dances satnav I would have got thoroughly, thoroughly lost so many times over the weekend.
Although I did have a little minor panic when trying to leave the B&B when the satnav decided to go off on a trip all by itself. Seriously, I’m not kidding. It was showing movement on the screen and giving directions like I was on the isle of Wight. With nothing else to try I decided on the only option I could think of, an in depth technical IT based solution.

I turned it off and on again.

 Seriously I’m not kidding. I turned it off and on again and boom it was working fine.
Well at least until I got to poole at which point it started to get a little confused based on the postcode the organisers had provided leaving me feeling a little nervous.

However whilst going round a roundabout I suddenly noticed what looked like a whole lot of coaches off to one side and critically two open topped coaches. Now why was this critical I hear you ask? Well I knew that for the nights first activity we would be travelling by open topped bus to a themed dance.

I’ll say that again, in one of the wettest summers we had for years we would be travelling by opened topped buses. So fairly safe in the knowledge that it was likely to be the right place as let’s face it the only people going on these buses would either be mormons or really drunk.

Fortunately I was right and it was the right place. So after registering ( and getting really rather nifty wristband inscribed with the theme “Swifter, Higher, Stronger” I climbed onboard one of the buses. Now I’ll admit I was feeling a little nervous at this point and I wasn’t recognising anyone either by sight let alone name. But I didn’t have to worry. It must have only taken 30 seconds from sitting down until I felt a sudden tap on my shoulder and a friendly hand appear  in greeting.

Then suddenly the man, the myth, the legend that is, was and only will ever be ( hope that’s a good enough build up for him) Fraggle was there.  Although in his typical fraggle style it was more like we had only seen each other the week before not the way too long span it had been.

After accounting for MMT ( mormon mean time of course : - ) the buses set out and unfortunately it did start to rain but I had managed to bag a good seat and our bus had a covered bit at the front so I had bagged a seat outside but just in front of the covered bit that meant I got the benefit of the cover but all the benefits of being outside.

Those on the back row were not quite so lucky and were getting a bit wet. But the organisers anticipating these had given out a large number of free plastic ponchos. Easily solved right? Well not quite, have you ever considering the difficulties of getting a plastic cover over your head whilst on a open topped bus whilst travelling along a motorway? Especially with the girls in question up against a “wall” at the end of the bus?

The expression shrink wrapped springs to mind to describe the end result. It must have made a strange sight to anyone passing by, a open topped bus in the rain with lots of brightly coloured plastics ponchos flying about, with gales of laughter but not a bottle of booze in sight.

The dance was fantastic, even if the main food on offer was not especially to my liking. Fortunately there were hot dogs.

Fraggle was a definite help all evening introducing myself to people as it was more his stomping ground than mine but it was one of the best dances I had been too in sometime. In fact I even danced.
Yes, I’m sure long term readers have read that with a double take. He danced??? Saxon DANCED???!!!!
Yes, ole mr “ I danced the way the incredible hulk walks” actually danced. I’m not sure who was more surprised, me or Fraggle.

Also putting in an appearance was Rec, a former student from Leicester stake who had been studying law and own lives far down south. I’ll admit she seemed to be a little surprised to find me there and let’s face it a hour outside of Leicester would usually be a stretch for me, four hours would be certainly unexpected.
When it was time to get back on the bus it was a sense of déjà vu from work as the first thing everybody did was to take out their mobile phones to try and update facebook!  But there was almost universal complaining as the location of the dance in what can be described as the middle of nowhere meant we were not in a area with anything approaching decent mobile phone coverage.

Yes, those areas still exist!

As you can imagine when we were disembarking from the buses back in poole I could see one or two people in the area looking at the laughing, happy, excited group of young people wondering where the booze was!

The trip back to the B&B was a little anti climatic to a rather exciting day but I didn’t mind. So far everything was going  well.

In fact in hindsight it was going fantastically but you know me, sometimes the blindingly obvious takes time to sink in.

Mr Saxon goes to Poole: Friday afternoon " Drive, drive, drive"

I’m sad to say that I am not without experience of driving to places by myself. However this was going to be one of the longest trips I have ever gone by myself. But I decided before I set out that I would wait until I had hit the halfway point before taking a break. Which was a good and sensible plan.

Which unfortunately did not take into account I ended up on what must be the longest road in the world with no decent service stations or any sort of service stations whatsoever. By the time I got off that road I was so close to Poole that I couldn’t be bothered to stop.

The weather was also switching in what can only be described as bands between rain and sun on a regular basis the further down south I went. I just mentally crossed my fingers that there was good weather around poole as I didn’t want to spend all weekend in wet weather gear.

Asides from that the only other issue I had was my CD wallet slipping down the side of the passenger seat which meant I couldn’t change the CD and was left dealing with the evils of commercial radio.

Which was fine at first but by the time you enter hour three and the same song has come on for what seems like the 12th time it starts to get a little annoying. Even if you’ve now become thoroughly indoctrinated and are singing along with every word. For example, payphone by Maroon five. I was thoroughly familiar with the words before I even hit Oxford!

Now unlike other activities accommodation wasn’t provided for this weekend but after much use of google fu I had managed to find a room in a nice little B& B for only £70 for two nights. But as it was turned out rather than B&B it turned out to be more just B as the conference provided breakfast and anyway I had to leave each morning before breakfast was served anyway much to the confusion/bafflement of the owners.
Anyway, the room as it turned out was a little small and in the very top of the B&B so it was a little bit like the reverse evolution of man walking up the stairs as the roof closed in. Also the ensuite was more of a walk in closet, as in take one step in and the shower is right in front of you, one half step to the right and your at the basin and turn 90% to the right at there’s the toilet.

Still considering the price I wasn’t complaining and I had a feeling that I wouldn’t be spending too much time in there anyway ( which turned out to a stunningly accurate assessment as it turned out).

So, with a little time to kill before the start of activities in the evening I decided to spend it, in the most constructive way I could after such a long drive.

I had a snooze 

Mr Saxon goes to Poole : Prologue

It was raining, but lets face it for most of the summer it’s been raining of course, but then again for most of the summer I hadn’t finished loading my car, (a curiously difficult job as it turned out because when you’re going by yourself anywhere you tend to just keep throwing stuff in as you have the room until you have no more room because lets face it you don’t have to worry about leaving room for anyone else) ready for a long tripe then I had ever attempted before by myself.

A roughly four hour trip to be precise all the way “ dowwwnnn south!” . My goal? The town of poole. The reason? The pool multi-stake Mid singles conference. Why so far?

Well since being shown the door from YSA there hasn’t been much to do churchwise as the single adults program in the stake is nonexistent as far as I’m aware.  So I have gone from going to one activity a week to well basically being going from Sunday to Sunday with no contact from anyone.

So as they say getting out of your comfort zone is good thing I figured that going to the far end of the country ( and I mean that literally) was getting about as far out of my comfort zone as I could get.
Still there was a little voice going “ What are you doing????? Are you really considering going to the far end of the country to a weekend convention where at best you will know one person???”

Still, for once that little voice was very, very quiet  and I took a deep breath started the car and pulled out of the close determined to give it a try because well??? Why the heck not? It would be good to get to know new people, I hadn’t been to any fun activities in a while and I was certain for once I had everything I could possibly need packed into the car to cover all possible eventualities.

As I drove off I’m sure if inanimate objects could laugh my shaving kit still in the bathroom would have been laughing it’s backside off

Greetings! It's been a while

Ok, so I know it's been a while. But I've been busy, what with everything that I've been up to during the last month.

I know I keep saying it, but I will try and do better and I've decided the best way to do that would be to treat you to one of my epics about what I got up to over one long weekend.

But this is no YSA conference oh no. It was my first ever mid-single conference.

It's a little Tale called Mr Saxon goes to Poole.