I lead a very strange life. On Saturday we were in Vancouver, being encouraged to sing a swear-laden song in front of children and their seemingly unconcerned parents at 10 in the morning (see Dollop 198). Then immediately after coming off stage, we were in someone’s car, driving at speed to Harrison, in order to make our 2pm harmony workshop. We arrived at 5 minutes past, were dropped off at the front doors of the venue with no time to check in or exchange pleasantries, and began to teach a room full of strangers, in a town we’d literally just entered, a song about pigs, which involved people oinking and snorting. What did you do last Saturday?
If you read about our adventures in Australia in March, and the accounts of our April UK tour, then you’ll know that our travels are always beset by unusual logistical issues. This tour has not proved an exception.
This morning we left Harrison to drive to Vancouver airport where we were picking up the hire car for our next leg of the journey. Vancouver is about two hours from Harrison. I know this because we drove to Harrison from Vancouver only a couple of days before. You might be wondering why we’re driving back to the same place that we left only a couple of days before. Presumably Vancouver is closer to the next place you’re gigging in? You might be thinking. No, it’s not. Harrison is only two hours away from Kelowna, our next port of call. Vancouver is four hours away from Kelowna. In fact, if you were to drive from Vancouver to Kelowna you would pass through Harrison. So we are heading two hours in the opposite direction to where we want to be going, so that we can pick up a hire car,and then driving two hours back in the same direction, taking us back into Harrison, and then passing through Harrison and travelling for a further two hours to get to Kelowna. We’re going to travel for four hours and essentially end up back in the same place we left when we started. We’ve turned a two hour journey into a six hour journey, which doesn’t account for the fact that by the time we get close to our destination, it will be rush hour, meaning more traffic, probably adding another hour onto the journey.
But in fairness, as frustrating as all this is, we did need to pick up a hire car, didn’t we? So what other option was there? It’s annoying but it’s necessary. Except, there’s a car hire place only half an hour from Harrison, in the direction of travel that we actually want to go in. Ah, the benefit of hindsight.
On the way to Vancouver airport, our driver made a slight detour to an electrical shop, because Michael wanted to pick up a cable for his camera, having forgotten to bring it with him from England. . Michael wasn’t sure on the name of the cable he needed, which led to him trying to explain the make and model of the camera to the man in the shop. The man said that he was confident he knew which cable he needed, but reassured Michael that if he got it home and he discovered it was the wrong one, then he could always bring it back to the store. As kind as this was, I’m not sure how worthwhile it would be to travel all the way back to this store, given that we were going to be two hours away by the time we got to where we were staying today. Desperate to avoid yet another ridiculous Young’uns excursion, I suggested that Michael got his camera from his suitcase and bring it into the shop in order to make sure that the cable definitely fits. The slight hassle of having to get a camera out of a suitcase would be nothing in comparison to a two hour journey there and two hours back in order to replace it upon discovering it’s not the right one. Michael went to fetch his camera from his suitcase, and it transpired that the cable was the wrong one. We then located the correct cable and we were back on our way, having avoided another future crazy detour.
We were dropped off by our driver (thank you Zoe if you’re reading. perhaps she enjoyed our company so much that she wants to know what happened after we parted, and is now addicted to following our lives, drawn into our world like an avid soap fan). Half an hour later, Michael realised that he’d left his newly purchased camera cable in her car. After all that.
Eventually we sorted out all the paperwork for the hire car, and it was time to be on our way again. In just two hours, traffic permitting, we’d be back where we started. Then we’d do another half an hour detour in order to pick up Michael’s camera cable from Zoe’s house. Then we’d drive the half an hour back into Harrison again. And then, we’d be on our way.
Except. We were having difficulties with the satnav, which was set to Spanish. Michael then had to connect to the airport’s WIFI network in order to translate the various words on the satnav’s screen into English. Eventually we managed to make sense of the Spanish menus and deduced how to change the language to English. Now it was time to get under way!
Except. Sean and Michael were having a hard time working out how to fasten the rather complex looking satnav holder onto the car window. Michael suggested that maybe it needed to be licked, which to be honest is something that Michael suggests quite a lot, and has resulted in Sean and I frequently having to slap him; although, I think Michael also gets a weird thrill from us slapping him so I’m not really sure if it’s an effective deterent. After giving the strange rubbery surface a lick, Michael established two things: firstly that he was feeling like he was going to vomit due to the acrid taste of the rubbery thing, and secondly that it definitely wasn’t meant to be licked. I made a mental note to wear a horribly disgusting rubbery thing on me whenever I’m in Michael’s company, which would hopefully prove a more effective deterrent when it came to Michael’s weird licking antics.
Sean and Michael tried pulling at bits of the satnav holder, hoping that there might be a bit that locks onto the front of the car, but ten minutes of pulling and twisting yielded nothing. Eventually, Michael traipsed back into the car hire place to ask how the complex looking satnav holder worked. The confused person in the car hire place responded simply by informing him that it was just meant to be placed on top of the dashboard. That was it, there was no need for licking, pulling or twisting anything, you just put the horribly tasting rubbery thing on the dashboard and it stayed there. Anyway, at least we’d figured that out, and now finally we could be on our way!!
Except. It became clear, as we made our way onto the highway, that the satnav wasn’t working. We’d programmed in where we were going and it had accepted our destination, albeit after a further ten minutes of fruitlessly grappling with it before we realised it was set to the wrong state, but now it was going crazy, whizzing through the various towns that we were meant to pass on our journey. According to the satnav we were now in Harrison. We found a place to pull over and tried to work out what was going on. Eventually we realised that we had it set to the rout simulation setting. We located the option for online real-time navigation, and finally we were off. Finally, we were on our way!!!
Except. Well, actually there isn’t an Except, or at least not yet anyway. We’ve been travelling absolutely fine for the last hour. We’re still an hour away from Harrison, and at least another three hours from getting to Kelowna, and so there’s plenty of time for many more things to go wrong.
I’d like to say we’ve learnt some valuable lessons today about logistics and travel, but I’m pretty sure there’ll be many more Young’uns logistical disasters still to come on this tour and on future tours. Still, on the plus side it gives me something to write about.
Voilà, I’ve made the 200th David’s daily digital Dollop. I’m sure many of you are having Dollop-themed parties tonight, celebrating this milestone, perhaps coming in fancy dress. Oh yes, there’s bound to be a lot of people in kettle costumes tonight. Feel free to send me your pictures.