Approaching the roundabout at the bottom of Hamelin Way and the bike cuts out….again. I nurse it along to the hotel. The PowerPoint presentation to around fifty ladies in very plush surrounding goes well, they are very appreciative and I collect £209.43p.
A waiter turns up with a tray bearing hot chocolate and my own plate of biscuits (plus napkin). Between slurps of chocolate and munches of biscuit I answer the many and varied questions from the ladies, all sitting in arm chairs or on sofas.
I take my leave and, on the way back to the bike call Jono and express my delight at Tango 3’s performance. Revving the engine like some demented Valentino Rossi, I manage to get the bike home.
Offload all the equipment from the bike into the car (the wife will not be happy – she needs the car this evening – how can she be expected to carry a ‘crowned, dairy free carrot cake’ to the WI in her back pack – still…needs must).
Grab a glass of water and some (more) biscuits and then off to Sampford Peverell in the car. I’m looking for a private house with, it turns out, a very small front door. I squeeze all of the equipment through the hobbit like door into a capacious lounge and set up the PowerPoint under the watchful eyes of the Sampford Peverell Mothers’ Union.
A black cat prowls around the lounge surveying me suspiciously, as if I'm about to give a talk on the merits of canine/human bonding. On two occasions it jumps on the laptop and I ‘gently’ nudge it away, fixing it with my best ‘don’t mess with me pussy’ stare.
The talk is well received and the ladies very kindly collect £50 for DFW. The ubiquitous cup of tea/coffee is offered but I respectfully decline – the bladder isn't what it used to be.
I make my way homeward, hoping that Mari (my wife) has found the brief note I left for her stating “Bike broke – need car tonight – sorry” and that her wrath has dissipated somewhat.
Sure enough I am welcomed home with an early meal spread before me like some Bacchanalian feast – actually baked spuds/baked beans and grated cheese – my favourite. Half an hour to spare to catch up with things DFW and to post on line the demise of Tango 3.
Time to add up today’s donations and pop them into envelopes ready for transference to Neil Gardner at Thursday’s Tesco, Lee Mill collection.
Back in the car and heading for Ottery St Mary – the W.I. ladies are friendly and welcoming … More tea? Once we have managed to place the projector atop one table balanced on another, and find a blank wall to project on to – we’re off and running. Another successful presentation and £94.15p collected.
I am then asked to judge a ‘Home made Valentines Card’ competition.. When gold, silver and bronze medals have been decided I graciously refuse a cup of tea and disassemble my PowerPoint kit, ask to be excused and carry everything back to the car – it’s raining.
On the way home I consider the day. Probably over a hundred people have seen the presentation, and they will, hopefully, spread the word of DFW’s good works – certainly numerous contact cards have been given out.
A total of £353.58p has been collected. I get back home at around 9.30pm – just in time to go and pick up the creator of the ‘Crowned, dairy free carrot cake’. Les May