The last gig of March was a return to The Malthouse in Ironbridge. As ever the room was full and the crowd were great. Our pet photographer, Dave “Matthew Thomas” The Camera, brought a group of friends from work. At first it seems they didn’t quite understand what he’d brought them to, but it didn’t take long for them to relax and join in the fun. I think it was the act of throwing the ducks that did it.
This last weekend was a bit different. Once again we were heading for Aberystwyth for a weekend of drunken debauchery and rock ‘n’ roll. Well, some rock ‘n’ roll, at any rate.
On Friday we were at Rummers, a regular for us. The band always starts at 10:00 here as it’s a student pub and they don’t tend to wake up early enough to get to the pub any earlier. As it turns out, someone had switched their alarm clock off, as the pub was still pretty empty as we saddled up to hit them with everything we’d got. It’s always a worry when this happens, especially when it’s a pub where the audience is normally too large for the room, but things soon switched round. It was almost as if they had been waiting outside for us to start. It wasn’t long before we had no room to move and all we could do was play. Another cracker.
We started Saturday with a walk along the beach at Ynyslas, Paul’s wife and daughter and Matthew having joined us for the weekend. The weather was lovely as we set off, warm if a little overcast.
As we reached the mouth of the river and started to return we spotted a car on the river’s edge, stuck in the water. A group of “Youngsters” had decided to drive onto the sand, not realising how soft it was near the water’s edge. After half an hour or so of taking the mickey, we decided to go over and help them. After we’d had an ice cream. By the time we reached them they had got the car moving, selfishly allowing us to walk all the way over to them first! You can just about make them out on the far left of this picture of Paul being amazed at the fact that he could read a sign unaided.
Instead, we turned round and headed for home, only for the rain to start. From this point we had about a mile to walk in steadily increasing levels of rain. We should have taken this as a sign of how the weekend would progress from here…
At 5:30 we left for Scholars, a pub we last played almost a year ago. The management has changed, but that wouldn’t cause us a problem. Would it?
It turned out the landlady had double booked us. The other act had already dropped all his gear in earlier in the day, so we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and headed home for a curry and some wine, inviting our landlady for the weekend, Jood York, along for the ride. Despite not playing, we had a great night. Not what we had expected, but the perfect way to spend an evening.
The next day, however, was far from perfect.
It all started with breakfast. As his family were here, Paul decided that he’d stay on and follow in the car, while Ed and Si took the van home. Whilst supping tea and munching on toast, the issue of re-fuelling the van came up.
“Remind me, is it petrol or diesel?” Asked Ed.
“Petrol” replied Paul, “Only the finest.”
“Unleaded then!” from Ed.
“No four star!” from Si.
We packed, loaded the van and tidied up before leaving Paul and his family to enjoy the Welsh Coast a few hours more.
We drove into Aber again to pick up Matthew to drive him home to Telford. Although he’d got a return train ticket, a ride with us would be more fun. It started with a barracking as he was 15 minutes late at the designated meeting point, but this was soon forgotten. We pulled into the petrol station and manoeuvred past a van at the first pump. Si jumped out to watch Ed reverse, guiding the van back far enough to allow him to put the petrol in easily.
We jumped back in the van, Matthew opening bags of sweets as an apology for his lateness and we were off!
For about 2 minutes. Halfway between two mini roundabouts, which stood about 15 feet from one another, the engine died.
A couple of fruity words and then silence as we digested what had just happened and all came to the same conclusion simultaneously. The van’s a diesel.
After reversing it to a (relatively) position, Ed rang Paul. Who thought he was on the wind up and hung up.
Paul rang Si to discover very quickly that it wasn’t. “But you know it’s a diesel!!!” he protested.
“We asked you this morning to be sure!” we both protested back.
Long story short, we had to get the van towed and the fuel system drained. Last night we hadn’t earned the money we expected and this afternoon we ended up with a £300 bill of petrol, draining and diesel. Ah well.
We could discuss who was at fault, who put the wrong fuel in, who gave the wrong information and who didn’t detect the wind up until we’re blue in the face, but it wouldn’t change what’s happened. We don’t work a blame culture at Plot Towers.
We’re at The Dun Cow in Shrewsbury this Friday and, after a private function on Saturday, back at The Wrekin on Sunday afternoon.
See you soon!