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Here is the news...

I phoned Gary on thursday evening for a chat, and to invite him to dinner on the 17th, along with Ven and Adam. They all accompanied me to the second Mastermind recording, which is being shown that evening. Gary, who drove, said he hoped I would apply to take part again, as 'we had a great time. Well, I don't know about you, but the rest of us enjoyed the day out.' We were chatting away when the phone cut off. I checked the other phone and broadband, and it seemed to be a general fault - nothing happening on the telephone front. Fiona in flat 2 came home about then, so I knocked to ask if her phone was working. She couldn't help, as she doesn't have a landline.
  I used the mobile to call BT and let them know. They cleverly diagnosed a fault on the line, and the automated system told me it would be fixed by Monday. As it turned out, everything was fixed by Friday evening, thankfully.

Saturday night I went out to see the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, who were fab. There's 7 of them, playing ukes from teeny-tiny ones through to a bass ukelele, which is about the size of a childs' guitar. They are very accomplished musicians, producing some stunning work playing things like the theme to The Good, The Bad and The Ugly (complete with whistling and vocal grunts) and the solos in AC/DC's Back In Black, which also featured some windmill strumming and flailing hair from the guy with long hair, All are excellent singers, and they did a couple of marvellous simultaneous segueways. One fellow starting singing 'Life On Mars' - after the first couple of verses, he continued singing that while someone else started on My Way. Then we got in turn For Once In My Life, Born Free, and Substitute fading in and out, while LOM continued. It ended with the line 'One day I'll fly Away' and an Elvis mumble of 'Merry Xmas Everyobdy'. Each song sung perfectly in tune and blended together. There was a jolly folk version of Anarchy in the UK and Pinball Wizard done in splendid folk harmonies. As well as the brilliant musicianship, they were very funny, both with the music and stage banter.

After the gig I went on to the surprise do at the Freedom for ceehoss  's birthday. I kept thinking that the pub would close soon after I got there, and had to remind myself that pubs don't have to stop serving at 11pm any more. When I first came to Sheffield, I was astonished to discover that last orders was 10.30 from Sun to Thurs. Only Friday and Sat had last orders at 11. Of course many pubs out of the city centre resorted to the lock in, an institution of which I have fond memories.
  I had a good time, and caught up with folks I haven't seen in a while. I asked the barman what ciders he had and was told Woodpecker and Strongbow. I said I didn't want either and would have something else, and got asked what kind of cider I wanted. I was slightly tired and not really expecting to be quizzed about decent cider. I said I liked things like Westons and scrumpy, which the barman said I needed to go to the West Country for. I told him I'd drunk good cider in Sheffield and got asked which pubs. I managed to suggest about four that serve good cider in spite of having some difficulty in concentrating on the subject. Fortunately the barman gave up on his questions at that point and served me some coke.

I've started knitting up the gold eyelash yarn into a simple scarf. It's coming on very nicely, but I accidentally started knifing the second ball from the the inner end. I saw a loose end and used it, without realizing it was poking out from the centre of the ball. It's inclined to get tangled as it's not intended to be unravelled from the inside out, and the eyelash yarn is even harder to untangle than regular wool. Still, I'm nearly done now.

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