|Set-up at DoubleTree, Lincoln|
Two of the o'sundial a.m. this morning - Lincolnshire.
It began with a closed deserted diner, and a man too long without sleep to continue his journey. It began with the landing of a craft from another galaxy... a Be'emdubbbelyoo fresh from the planet D'oh-huh-huh-huh.
Oops, wrong script. Actually it (the evening) ended with an interesting drive back to Owl Towers.
Damien, my trusty sat-nav (named after the antichrist of the film The Omen due to certain shared characteristics) did his level best to persuade me to barrel along every single-track lane and bridle path known or unknown to mankind - and he got thoroughly cheesed off when I ignored him and stuck to the A-roads. He went off into a sulk again and just hummed the soundtrack from the film and muttered a few latin curses.
At one point I had to stop altogether for a few minutes because I literally couldn't see the end of the car bonnet in last night's swift and brief blizzard. The temperature ranged every few yards from -1°C to +2°C and the mode was a shall-we-freeze shan't-we-freeze +0.5°C. On some of the hills (yes, despite popular misinformed belief, north Lincolnshire has them a-plenty) I was getting terminal wheelspin in 3rd gear. Wet ice covered in a layer of fresh snow versus Vintage-Mobile.
The English trouble with winter isn't because it's über cold or über snowy - it's because it's shall-we shan't-we somewhere in the middle. We can't use winter tyres or studs because the snow comes and goes at the flick of a badger-tail. One corner will be icy, the next not. Then a few miles of snow followed by dry tarmac. Then the following day we'll have a spot of summer with the larks singing and the nightingales in Berkeley Square already. Then fog, then a monsoon, then a drought, then - the following morning - winter again with minus double-figures, wind and a cold, mocking, silver sun.
This morning of course, this being Engerlund, we're back to dull and grey and regularly cold again with the only evidence being a few hailstones lodged on parked car windscreens. It's hard to believe that I had to stop last night because the road disappeared.
It was all really rather fun!
I was pleased to witness a miracle last night though.
In the midst of the blizzard an "Essex" coloured Beamer hoofed up behind me with headlights on full-beam, slithered a bit (a lot) to avoid mating with my car's rear end, hugged my tail-lights for miles because the driver was too scared or stupid to actually pass - even through streetlighted villages and even though he was obviously desperate to do so, flashed angrily when I pulled over to force him to continue his hell-bent pell-mell rush without me as Pathfinder General, and then disappeared into the sleet and snow and darkness ... A little later - for all miracles take place just out of sight or a moment before the witnesses arrive - the miraculous Beamer's tyre tracks ended in a Spirograph scribble pirouette in the snow and then nothing. He'd disappeared. I suppose that "God" must have twirled him around a bit before lifting him up to be with the angels. Spooky!
Oh, not quite without trace; there was a bit of a flattened hedgerow, but then this "God" is reputed to have big feet, he's bound to step on some things when disappearing Be'emdubbbelyoos in the snow.
I suppose that I might have investigated a little further but then, well, this "God" is also said to move in mysterious ways and how would they remain mysterious if I investigated each little Earthly detail? It's not like I actually saw his hand swoop down and lift the car up to the heavens. I just looked up to the sky respectfully for a few moments before putt-putting on by like the doddery old fart that I am.
Hopefully the gene pool is a little cleaner this morning. An angry part of it is probably still upside-down in a field, hand on horn, flashing his headlights and wondering what the delay is in somebody righting his world for him. No doubt he is babbling angrily into his iPhone as well about Vintage atheist Earthers getting in his way.
The gig itself last night was most splendid - a (very) late Christmas "do" for a local firm, held in the centre of Lincoln. In the shot above of my set-up the reflection of the backdrop is hiding the floodlit Lincoln Cathedral high up on the hill. Business followed the usual lines with everyone initially far too inhibited to pose for photographs and ending with a long queue at the end of the night. So much so that I couldn't keep up with the on-site printing and will need to deliver those this coming week.
Question is though, will I need to be in desert dress or arctic explorer kit?
Or something in-between?