Three Close Encounters of a Strange Kind
On a Sand in Your Eye assignment you never know what surprises may lie in store for you and Llandudno certainly didn’t disappoint. On this occasion awaiting me were three unexpected close encounters of a strange kind.
The job itself wasn’t overly straight forward, involving for starters the tricky delivery of 16 Tonnes of sand by tipper lorry to an indoor venue, for two days of sand sculpting workshops. The workshops were part of the ‘Take Part’ free arts event for young people at the Venue Cymru in Llandudno. As it was, the delivery went like clockwork, good planning and preparation proving as usual to be the key to success. It was just as well we were ready and waiting for the eager sand students, as the event itself was very well attended, apparently a record 3,600 attendees over the two days, making the fourth year the most successful yet. Our own workshops were booked up from the first morning. It’s nice to be popular! But joking aside it was the first time sand had been at the event, so it was satisfying to see so much interest.
Our dynamic approach to the workshops, turning a pod of dolphins first into a sea serpent and then into an octopus made for an exciting first day. On the second day the groups helped to construct a fantastical sand castle walled town complete with dwelling houses, trees and even a vegetable patch. It’s quite amazing what transformations those sand particles went through!
So a good time was had by all at the workshops, but what about my strange encounters? Well the first one was when I went to take a short toilet break between workshops and leaving the hubbub of the venue, in the quite corridor behind the emergency exit doors came face to face with a……dead Dalek! Dead because its operator, like myself, had taken a break. I was snapped later with the alien when it came back to life and mingled with other life forms.
My second strange encounter was with a rubber inflatable known as a ‘Space Hopper’. The last thing I expected at the end of the satisfyingly busy day was a Space Hopper race, but this is exactly what happened as orchestrated by the event organisers for the Venue Cymru staff team. I hadn’t ridden a Hopper since childhood, but like riding a bike, the technique never leaves you. Very exhilarating it was too and I’m pleased to state for the record that the Sand in Your Eye boys came first and second.
My third and most magical encounter occurred as I had a quiet moment on the morning of the second day as I looked out into the cottage garden where we were staying. Lo and behold staring back at me was a strikingly handsome Reynard fox. It held my gaze for a few seconds with a cool look of curiosity before continuing casually on its way. Magical!
Thanks to Lucy and all the staff that made us so welcome at The Cymru Venue. Thanks also to Watkin Jones for sponsoring the sand. Finally a big thank you also to all the participants whose enthusiasm and energy helped to make the workshops so dynamic and the success they indeed were. There’s already talk of us returning next year to run some Ice Sculpting workshops. I look forward to yet another strange encounter ridden adventure. Watch this space!