Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Glasgow 12:00 – 15:00
Going on for a decade after his construction, it’s always a rollercoaster of emotions taking Artoo to an event. Excitment about getting him out of the house, stress over whether the batteries will charge, worry about whether he’ll actually function and ultimately depression when he invariably fails somehow however this event reached new hights, or more accurately lows, of frustration.
To be honest I should’ve been suspicious fate was setting me up for something when he was loaded into his transport relatively quickly and easily, but having had to purchase a new set of transmitter and receiver batteries at the last minute, hoping against hope that they woud arrive charged, I assumed I had conquered the hurdles to be presented this time round. There’s hubris for you. Imagine my surprise and delight then when we unloaded him from his transport platform and his right foot fell off entirely!
Managing to temporarily reaffix it we got off to a literal flying start, the replacement motor fitted after his last event, driving him along the curiously narrow and equipment cluttered corridors of the first two wards-worth of our visit at eye-wincing and toe crushing speeds.
Unfortunately it was not to last as the plucky astromech noticeably began to slow and become more difficult to steer. With no behind the scenes area to retire to it was difficult to determine where this new fault lay and while we gamely soldiered on for another 15 minutes or so pushing him along to compensate for what appeared to be only half his drive motors working and a vague smell of burning from within his barrel-shaped torso, there appeared to be a very real danger of causing permanant damage from them trying to shift his mass and he needed to be retired for the day.
A huge blow and a personal disapointment to be sure and as much as the others tried to downplay it later by pointing out that the risk of serious damage didn’t warrant trying to continue or how much longer it would have taken to make our way round all the wards had he been fully functional and available for the multitude of photo opportunities the rest of the troop enjoyed during the day, it was small consolation given the effort expounded by everyone involved to get him there…