It's been a funny day. It began with a gathering of bearded (and in one case mustache'd) men around the fan assembly, collectively poring over the handbook, pooling tools, and eventually dismantling a very knackered bearing, a very warn shaft, and various other bits, that it was my job to catalogue and put in old takeaway boxes so that they can be taken as patterns to various bearing suppliers and shaft grinders. Not only do we need new bearings, it seems, but a new shaft which has had grooves worn into it where there should be none by the bearings. Where there should have been grease, was just hard lumps of antique ex-grease, so even when Jim tried to grease it, none had gone in. Just from yesterday, the eccentric rotation of the fan, after the bearing finally gave out, has worn a groove in the housing - this is what was making the Funny Noise. Fortunately, the fan itself appears to have suffered no damage.
I also, accompanied by Izzy, walked into Shardlow proper to get a paper and provisions from the village's only shop. This was quite a long way - about twenty minutes - as Shardlow started out as this village quite a way from the canal, with a second Shardlow growing up on the banks after the canal was built. Then I suggested that rather than rely on the lifts people very kindly offered us to various places in the search for parts tomorrow, it would be a good idea to just have one lift, and go and get the car from Kings Bromley. So after successfully reducing the fan assembly to its component parts, Jim and Dave set off to do this, while everyone else disappeared and I spent a quiet afternoon on my own.
Girding my loins for the evening's entertainments - a big Indian takeaway around a collection of tables in the gazebo housing the beer, which it was our solemn and bounden duty to drink all up. The conversation became ever more surreal, a highlight being the plans hatched at our end of the table for a new river ferry crossing powered by domestic pets on a treadmill. Overweight dogs were the first choice (we could also charge the owners for slimming them down), but one of those present kept ferrets, hence the proposed company's name. We didn't sell many shares though. Having also heard about a rock cake that is about to celebrate its forty-first birthday, we decided to bring the evening to a close, and the table was lifted up, the miniature electric tram backed underneath it (did I mention that the tracks ran through the gazebo, just in front of the beer barrels?), it was lowered onto the carriage, the chairs were loaded into the next one, and off it went to take them back to next door. And the beer had just run out.