We had OFSTEAD inspectors due at the Sure Start project on Wednesday so I didn't feel I could cry off and went in for my usual Tuesday sessions - trying to not use my voice too much - which is quite hard when you lead two singing sessions!
Big day Wednesday - called into the Children's Centre to check in, then off to the library. The Family Group was wonderful as always, then inspector arrived for Baby Club. The Babies were their usual spectacular selves and the inspector was very complimentary and chatted to all the mums. Said my session was very calm.
Went for a coffee, then packed my bags with all the stuff I needed to take home for the Cheltenham Festival on Sunday (including my guitar and picked up my amp at Oaktree Centre). Then lugging my five bags, headed to my car only to find I'd somehow mislaid my keys.
Of course, never had I been to so many venues in one day, so my little sick self spent the next 4 hours walking between library, Oaktree and SACC looking for them - to no avail. (Of course, don't have a spare set since my bag was stolen at Christmas party - what is it with my keys and Sure Start?)
With all my gear, I couldn't take a train, so I had to wait for wonderful Brian to come and collect me after work.
Initially it looked like we'd have to get the car towed but it seems we can get replacement keys and a locksmith - if we pay enough money...
Took it easy, voice wise, Thursday and had to miss the Barefoot party on Friday which was very disappointing. headed off for Cheltenham on Saturday morning. Booked into the Queens Hotel - lovely, looked in at the venue, checked in with the organisers etc - all very helpful and nice (though I was in quite a state of nerves by then as my voice had almost completely packed up).
Got to see an incredible interview with Gareth Pierce and a fun one with Frank Skinner before supper and early bed - except that my hotel thought it was a good idea to rent out their function room to a huge group of young people for a club night. We were right over and the word loud doesn't describe the music - it was excruciating! We asked to move rooms but were told that the hotel was fully booked with people for the Literary Festival - DUH! Which would make it seem pretty dim to me to book the loudest sound system in Christendom to play in the hotel, you would think? We were assured that the music would be over by midnight in a tone that implied that anyone boring enough to want to sleep before midnight shouldn't really be allowed out at all... so we headed back to the festival and hung around the Times hospitality area until we were thrown out.
Sunday morning and I slugged down my latest discovery - Robitussin (a great decongestant) and some panadol and honey and Ricola and headed off to the venue. Great staff set it up exactly as I wanted and I got miked up.
The session went pretty well from what I could tell through my haze of painkillers and decongestants! 50 under 4s and their parents! All the kids made animal hats and 'If You're Happy' pictures and I managed 20 minutes of singing!
Then off to sign some books, listen to Michael Portillo and head for home.
This was my first time going to Cheltenham and I'd HIGHLY recommend it. There was a great line up of speakers for children and adults, literati and politicos. There were music acts and good food... it's already in my diary for next year. I hope they'll have me back to do an event, but I'm going anyway! (And there's still time to go this year - click here for a link: Cheltenham)