I was in for a cracking weekend.
I'd planned it months ago. Registered for Rugby World Cup tickets, booked my Yarndale ticket, had all my favourite things with some of my VERY favourite people. Fantastic.
Friday night Dad headed here to avoid the match traffic and Mark bought fancy fish from the lovely fishmongers and cooked us a gorgeous meal. I'd never had halibut before. It's lovely.
Saturday was match day. Mark, Miss B and Luke went to the cinema to see Inside Out (and were treated to popcorn at the Everyman by the rather ace Jessica who works there) while Dad, Zach and I were off to the rugby. Canada vs Italy, and given the crushing defeat in the Canada vs Ireland I was trying prepare Zach for disappointment. I needn't have worried. It was marvellous.
I mean, yes, in the end Italy won but it started with a 10 point lead for Canada and right up to the last 5 minutes it could have gone either way. Masses of action, great excitement and huge men with beards battling it out mere metres away from us. We were so close to the touch line; any closer and we'd have been in the scrum itself. I'd had a pig of a job sorting out Zach's ticket after they'd allocated him a seat in another part of the stadium. After 4 1/2 hours on the phone I got him moved to directly behind us, assuming I'd take that seat myself. In the event the lovely blokes next to us swapped so we could all be together.
(Given how loudly I cheered, Zach and Dad might have preferred to have left me sitting a little further away. I do get rather excited.)
That evening I got yet more excited watching a punishing match between England and Wales. I texted my apologies to the next door neighbours after an injury-wracked Wales roared to victory in the final moments. Marvellous stuff.
Sunday was Yarndale. All hail the Yarndale crew for a third event that brought so much happiness to others. It was so organised and well considered that it was a joy to attend. I had every faith it would be.
I had hoped to go with my Very Excellent Mate Rach again, but it didn't quite work out. A mum from the school run had asked to go with me, too, but her work schedule clashed with the event. My neighbour Vanesa had also planned to come with me but had to visit a relative in hospital. That's OK - I had a brilliant time the very first Yarndale when I was on my own, so at 9:30am I set off on my beloved Vespa at half nine for a day of yarn, craft and meeting new people. There was plenty of mist and it was pretty chilly but that would soon burn off and we were promised a glorious sunny day. I love a chance to ride in the sunshine through the gorgeous scenery of this region, and I was confident I could squish my purchases into the storage space on the bike.
At 10:25, a few miles outside of Skipton, it went horrible wrong. My poor Vespa lost power and made some truly appalling noises. I drifted to a stop at the hard shoulder of the A65 as lorries blasted past me. My iPhone told me I was 7 minutes from my destination. It was wrong. I wouldn't make it to Yarndale until 2pm.
While I was waiting for the breakdown truck and feeling very isolated indeed, people were ace to me. A bloke in a car on the other side of the carriageway pulled up to say he lived in the next village, so would it help if he fetched me some petrol? Then a guy on a Ducati pulled up. Roger had owned a Vespa ET4 like mine some years back and offered to see if the problem was something he could repair. He had a toolkit on his bike, had a look and a listen.
We agreed our Italian bikes sure had style but that if it was reliability you wanted, Hondas were hard to beat no matter how clunky they looked. Ducati and Vespas were more temperamental beauties. Roger did his best but the fault was beyond his skills. He offered me a lift to Skipton but I needed to stay for the recovery truck. He reluctantly went on his way, but I was very touched by his help and concern.
The lad driving the recovery truck was called David. He and the insurance service were thrashing out the details of taking the bike back home for me as it was 25 miles away and my cover had a 20 mile limit. Drat. Then I remembered Colin Appleyard Motorcycles had a branch nearby. Before their Leeds branch shut down I'd used them for repairs for 15 years - perhaps they could take the Vespa? Google claimed they were open on Sundays, so I started ringing while David loaded the bike up.
We set off, with me continuing to ring the garage. In between calls, David told me all about his upcoming holiday to Dubai with his partner, and how much he was looking forward to it. He was so friendly and pleasant he made a tough situation much nicer. However, Google's information was wrong and the garage was all locked up. Oh bugger.
By this time Mark, with Miss B in tow loudly protesting the interruption of her pancake-making activity, arrived at the garage too. He'd brought me a flask of coffee which is one of the many reasons I love him so much. I drank that while David rang his depot to run something past them. Rather than leave me and my bike stranded or drive the 25 miles to Leeds which still wouldn't get the bike to a garage, David offered to take it back with him to the locked depot overnight and drop it off at Appleyard's in the morning. That meant Mark could take me to Yarndale, the insurance would still cover the distance and the Vespa would be safe and secure until I could get her looked at.
Mark got me to Yarndale where I had a lovely couple of hours despite feeling knackered by the events so far. Jane from Baa Ram Ewe gave me a big hug when I arrived to help soothe me from my bike upset, and I had a cuppa and a butty before diving into the stalls. I had a go at lacemaking with bobbins like the people I saw on holiday in Bruges - very cool! I met up with exhibitors I knew, chatted to the Yarndale committee, bought everything my mother-in-law requested plus a hank of hand-dyed alpaca wool for myself. I met fellow rugby enthusiast and many, many fellow crochet junkies. I got home by public transport, complete wiped out, and Mark had made me another lovely dinner.
My Vespa is beyond repair, it seems, and I am feeling bereft. But I am also very touched by the friendliness, good nature and kindness shown to me in so many ways by match stewards, fellow fans, motorists, Roger, David and Mark and everyone at Yarndale.
People are just lovely. I'm glad to have met so many of them.