After the sadness and disappointment of 2020, it feels good to be returning to some sort of normality again. One of the plans that I had for last year was to attend a few shows, fetes and open days in the local area, to push DDAS Juniors to a wider audience. The first of these events happened to be organised by daddy Mud Monster, Glenn Taylor. Social climate pushed the open day back a couple of times but a date was finally cast in stone and we were ready.
Our first open day was going to be a litmus test for future events and I tried to think of everything to make the day as effective as possible. I was going to need help, so I put the word out for volunteers amongst the coaches. There was much mumbling and shuffling of feet when the request was posted. I let the Red Fox off because it was his first week back at big school (Teaching) and he was going to need the weekend to recover from the mental assault from his pupils in the week before. The usual remedy of pouring warm honey in his ears and wrapping himself tightly in bubble wrap, with a straw for breathing would no doubt reset the lad again. Sargent Bracey even booked himself a holiday to avoid erecting the clubs gazebo, although he did give me a strict character profile of who to talk to, and who to avoid.
Uncle Simon Wagner came to the rescue and we had formed a battle plan for the day.
I arrived early, as usual, and was surprised to find that many were well underway with their setting up process. I began my search began for event organiser Glenn, a search that was thankfully short seeing as he had decided to embrace Halloween early by wearing the most orange top since the Luton Town home kit burnt the eyeballs of a capacity crowd in 1974. Mr Pumpkin showed me to our spot and I started to unload...
The club gazebo is a bit of a beast, but I felt sure that it would not better me today. After unwrapping it, I proceeded to tease it open, corners first. This worked to a point, but as the tension in the stiff joints increased, it turned into a bizarre mechanical waltz whereby, we gained and lost ground to each other in equal measure. I flanked it by nipping inside with a swift upper cut to the central post. This gave me match point and all I needed to do was make the locking pins find their home. The first one, 'click'. Second one, 'Click with a bit more effort'. The third pin was a fighter, and a reasonable amount of butt clenching was needed to get the satisfying 'click'. The forth pin was different beast altogether. I heaved and it laughed at me. Puffing out my cheeks (Facial), I tried again. Gritted teeth, a small whimper and trembling knees resulted in no click. I uttered a naughty word, shook my hands out like a weightlifter approaching the bar of weights and used my once powerful thighs as extra leverage.
I'm not sure how many shades of red my face had turned, but a few more seconds of this would have definitely resulted in an embarrassing bowel accident or an aneurism.
The victory click sounded and the battle was won. Easier clicks were gained in lengthening the legs out and it was heaved into position with pegs to secure it.
Flags, banners and podium were positioned with help from the, now arrived, Portland chapter of the Hells Angels, Uncle Simon.
We were ready, so bring it on!
At Midday, the frothing crowd was released upon us and the leaflet flinging began by not letting anyone with an appropriately aged child past our position without having some literature stuffed into their hand, whether they wanted it or not. My 'talk until they agree to fish with us' technique was working I felt, and with Si Wag backing me up when it looked like I was going to black out from lack of oxygen, things were going swimmingly.
One of the more interesting chats I had was from a nice lady who, on being approached by yours truly, politely said
"No thank you". If she thought I was that easy, she was wrong. I persisted in trying desperately to give her a leaflet.
"No thank you we're vegan" she said.
'Oh, we don't eat them. We put them back' I replied. Having realised that I had completely missed her point, she smiled and walked away... "I'm sorry!" I called after her and returned defeated to an amused looking Si.
The day went by in a blur. Until the Zumba class started. A group of Lycra clad people, of various and interesting shapes and sizes, had gathered in formation in the centre arena opposite us. Myself and Uncle Simon pulled up a chair to enjoy the performance, seeing as 'trade' had slowed to a crawl in the mid afternoon sunshine.
I should have realised that we were in for an ear blasting when the lead 'Zumbarian' set up some speakers that looked like they had come straight from the ministry of sound. Uncle and I both rocked back in our chairs as the sound wave hit us full in the face and birds fled the area in swirling clouds.
I watched people as they passed, scanning their faces for any glimpse of interest in the banner that barred their way, which would indicate that they desired to have a leaflet stuffed into any pocket or purse that I could find.
I turned to see Uncle Simon gently swaying to the beat, slightly wide eyed and with a hint of dribble at the corner of his smiling mouth. I followed his gaze and I couldn't blame him. I have never seen Lycra move in such a way before and it was truly mesmerising.
Some soul music blasted out of the speakers and Uncle Si threw back the years by busting some serious moves, before composing himself again. Man can he move!
The Zumba finished and, as the causalities were being removed from the arena, a couple of the red faced Lycra lovelies staggered past.
"Well done ladies! Very well done.... Bravo!" I called. In the blink of an eye I found out how all of my victims of the day felt, because she pounced on me, brandishing a leaflet of her own! I counter attacked by 'leafleting her' with one of ours. I'm not sure which is more likely to happen? A Lycra lovely going fishing, or me doing a Zumba class?
Upon reflection, I realised I had the answer all along.
Time was pushing on and the crowd was thinning out. With my voice starting to shred and Si Wag still struggling with high blood pressure following the Zumba class, we decided to call it a day. We had learned a lot from the experience and handed out (Forced upon) quite a few leaflets and business cards. Out of the 200 fliers, I only have 125 left. It suddenly dawned on me that, if they all turned up, we would be in some rather deep Doodoo... Each Junior event would have to be run as a two day festival!
I put aside that thought and headed home after a very satisfying day.
I have to confess to feeling pretty drained as I reversed into the driveway and, unlike the last time, I actually noticed the Mother in Laws mobility scooter before I hit it. Strange? She was round two days in a row? Something that Trudie said before I left that morning came back to mind.
"Call me when you're on your way home" She had asked... It is my birthday in a few days time and part of me wondered if this might have something to do with it?
I was fizzing when I got in and told them all about the day. But, I couldn't help thinking that they were waiting for me to shut up...So I did...
"Here y'are" said the M-I-L, "This is for Christmas's and birthday's for the rest of your natural life!"
An Amazon box confirmed my suspicions as it was a typically Xbox shape. Indeed it was a new toy for the great big boy. I now possess the very thing that I have spent all afternoon telling parents that I am trying to lure their children away from.... Oh the beautiful hypocrisy!
A super massive well done to the six foot pumpkin man, Glenn Taylor. Congratulations my friend, brilliantly well organised and executed. Bravo!