On Saturday morning we paid a visit to B&Q, unsuccessfully attempted to fix a leaky central heating pipe (hampered by the fact that the system is so bunged up we couldn't drain the water out of it), and had a look at some loose guttering, before rushing over to fifitrix's house west of London for an Odyssey 2010 committee meeting. I'm not exactly sure yet what I'm going to be doing for Odyssey but it sounds like I will have fewer responsibilities than I had for Orbital. I left at 2:45PM because I wanted to get to Poynton Ceilidh near Stockport when it opened at 7:45 - the website warned us to get there early because they only let a maximum 110 people in.
After a fast run up with only a couple of brief stops and one misread signpost, I arrived at my destination at about 7:55. It turned out that I needn't have rushed because it started off very quiet and never got really busy. Apparently there were two other ceilidhs going on elsewhere that had drawn a lot of people away. It was a friendly crowd with a reasonable mix of young and not-so-young dancers. At the start of the night there were more single blokes than single women but the ratio evened out later on. I sat out the first dance, then on the second one a girl came up and asked me to dance. After that I was lucky the rest of the evening and didn't get turned down once. The dance floor was fairly small and I imagine it could get pretty cramped if they had the full 110 people in and most of them were dancing. I was slightly disappointed that the bar felt it necessary to charge 40p per pint of tapwater, and briefly considered refilling my glass from the sink in the gents. Overall it was a good night with some fun dances. I'm not sure if I'm getting worse at dancing or getting better at noticing when I've done something wrong - some of the early dances were a bit of a mess but they got better as the night went on and people got into the swing of it. A couple of people did comment that I had 'obviously done this before.' I particularly enjoyed a rather silly dance that involved the gents from each set linking hands and dashing around the room to meet the ladies from another randomly-chosen set, then the ladies doing the same, trying to end up with matched sets (as opposed to eg. eight men in one set and none in another) before the next step of the dance.
Poynton is a fair distance away from me (it's actually in Cheshire) and I think the shortest route unfortunately involves negotiating Stockport centre, but I reckon I will go again. While I was there I picked up a flyer for a "Grand Ceilidh" in Antrobus next month - that's even further away than Poynton but it's a decent run, nearly all motorways, so I might go to that one too. On the way back I was feeling rather too smug about the number of miles I've done recently without any problems other than the sticking speedometer needle, so Fenchurch decided to start misfiring and cutting out on the M60 (the Manchester ringroad) while the rev counter went haywire. The engine never quite died completely though and I managed to nurse her the thirty miles or so home. I had a look under the bonnet this morning and found the fault in a couple of minutes - one of the wires to the coil had broken inside the insulation just before the crimped connector so it would have been making intermittent contact as the engine vibrated. I was sure it would be something simple like that - there's no computerised engine management systems to go wrong on these old engines.
Speaking of electronics going wrong, I thought my new 500GB backup disk had died because first it kept freezing, then it wouldn't even spin up. I tried swapping it into a different Firewire enclosure and it worked fine again. Either the enclosure or its power supply has died. I have had it for several years and it always worked fine with the 120GB disk it came with but when I tried putting that one back in it would no longer spin up either. Perhaps the new disk put a greater load on the power supply or something.