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Typical

I'm gonna stop worrying about the weather.

I had a rehearsal last night at the Pigpen practice rooms near Hartlepool - a converted pig farm. Dring the day I'd found myself praying more and more fervently that a) the ice wasn't too bad, and b) the car park wasn't turning into a quagmire.

So I get there, closely followed by my fellow band members, and promptly get stuck on the ice at the gate. 

After managing to get through on the third attempt, before the gate losed on me, I got confused and turned left too early - partia;lly due to the wagon parked ahead of me.  At the same moment I realised my  I got caught on another patch of Ice, which stopped me in my tracks and also prevented me reversing out into the entry road.  My only option, try to turn the van around before I ran out of gravel and get a run at the ice patch.  Here's where it gets fun.

The gravelled section is as wide as the van - although you can't see that under the ice and in the dark, so, sure enough, I'm now in a field that appears to be immune to freezing temperatures.  And getting rapidly bogged in.

Jon and Mark, barely managing to stay upright on ice, make their way over and after repeated attempts have to admit defeat. 

We get another band to agree to try and help n they finish rehearsing, and go and make the best of the practise as we can.  Come 10:00, there are now 6 people pushing the van, and me inside trying desperately to get it out.  At one point, we thought we'd done it.  The van crept forwards, then, after showering Jon in a load of mud in a Carry On Camping ind of way, fell into the ruts created by the front wheels.  After this, it was going nowhere.

End result, lock the van up overnight, and crash at Jon's overnight (who ended up travelling home in his boxers)...

Fast forward to this morning - Mark brings me back to the pigpen, where, thankfully, we meet a farmer and his daughter who kindly agree to extricate the van with their tractor.  It appears that this is a common occurence and they have it down to a tee.

In daylight, it looks even worse, especially after the warmest night in 2 weeks, and what appears to have been some heavy rain.  The field is now a swamp, and the van has sunk to the rims.

I can't thank everyone enough who helped us out, especially the farmer who made towing us out look easy, and who modestly refused the £20 I offered him, asking instead for just a tenner if I insisted on paying him .

So, I'm finally home, just had breakfast, the van's caked, and all I want now is a long hot bath.  Roll on the gig on Friday!!