50 not out!

17 May

A very mixed week for me: on Tuesday the 8th of May it was my 50th birthday…. that’s right folks, I’ve hit 50, and I’m not out!
Bar sales have petered out a little with most of the current sales being made into the USA and Canada, but this reduction has allowed me to build up buffer stocks, which I have decided to double in size. Mainly because I have work coming in from other directions, and an R&D project is beginning to show a lot of potential, and the particular area of the marketplace it is aimed at is showing some significant strengthening, with the possibility for growth; especially local growth.
I have also been commissioned to make the steel frames for eight individual kinetic sculptures that will eventually after the initial tour become one large kinetic sculpture which will then go on tour returning to the sites the individual parts have been exhibited at. This project has required me to sign a none-disclosure agreement, so I will be unable to go into any further detail until the project is completed and the individual sculptures are exhibited.
On my birthday it was a quiet and sombre day, which allowed me to plan for the future party which has now been postponed until mid July due to our waterlogged garden. So I spent the rest of another wet week catching up with orders, maintaining workshop equipment, and making a bit of an inroad into making the workshop a little tidier.
Friday arrived and I was excited all day; I had been looking forward to this Friday for over two weeks because seven of my favourite local performers were billed for that nights Friday acoustic session at the Norwich Music House … … … and what a surprise that was in store for me. Unbeknown to me, Lois had spoken to Andrew, the primary host of the Norwich Music House, along with Jo the bar manager and one or two others, and between them they had secretly organised a birthday bash for me. When Andrew had initially approached each of the individual performers and the bands, and they were informed that it was for “Gareth’s” 50th all of them had enthusiastically agreed to perform.
What a night it was; all of the regulars, and a lot of none regulars, musicians and others greeted me with an almost riotous and thunderous happy birthday surprise that I was totally unaware of happening until it was sprung upon me. Halfway through the night I was presented with an engraved glass tankard bought with the proceeds of a whip round from all the evenings’ performers a couple of weeks earlier.
As usual (well for the moment) it was raining moderately to heavily on Saturday Morning, so I retired to the workshop to get some steelwork done, whilst Lois went into the city with her friend Debbie who wanted to go shopping for a dress for a wedding she is attending in a few weeks time.
Sunday came and initially it was heavily overcast with light drizzle, and yet again we had standing water on our free draining garden. By midday it had brightened up, so Lois and I feeling absolutely washed out by both work and frustration due to weather decided to go into the city for a wander about and a social coffee & cake with friends.
It was then that we were informed that another friend of ours had died from meningitis on the Friday evening; she had been invited to my 50th party. Apparently she had fallen ill at midday on Friday, was admitted immediately to hospital, but deteriorated so rapidly that her sister took the decision to turn off her life support at about 9pm that evening. This was a vibrant, attractive, intelligent young lady, who was active in almost every art project and bicycle event in Norwich; often combining the two, and who had time for everyone; her and her friends were the ones who encouraged me to take over, organise and run Norwich AlleyCat, and to take over the organisation and running the proposed 2012 bicycle foraging outings. …… why does such a terrible thing have to happen to a young lady like this who had a whole lifetime in front of her, and who would have spent most of it doing nice things for the good and benefit of others and the community?
And to close this post on a slighlty more up beat note; a photograph taken and published in the Norwich Evening News and Eastern Daily Press, back in January (it has taken this long for a copy of the photograph to arrive in the post by first class Royal Mail) of me and a few of the Norwich AlleyCat riders.

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