95 CHAS Cheque Handover, Robin House Visit – 14th June 2017

Location
Robin House, Alexandria 14:00 – 15:00

Mission Report
With one of the patients recently having had passed away and the family preparing to leave for the funeral, the resultant air of melancholy over Robin House meant that this ended up being a short, quiet, event with a few photos before we de-kitted.

I’ll just refer you back to the closing paragraph here, as to why for this cause the effort is still worthwhile…

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90 LEGO Store Star Wars Event – 29th April 2017

Location
Buchannan Galleries, Glasgow 11:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
It’s been a good long time since we were last at the LEGO Store (in an official capacity I mean, obviously with Brickset saying we’ve north of £10,000 worth of plastic bricks in hand we’ve been there shopping about once a month) and due to the timing it wasn’t possible to bring R2 along on this occasion as we’d wanted to.  To be honest I’m not even sure that the Biker Scout would have been my first choice as an alternate costume, but still being massively jet lagged and aware of the heat in the store when the overhead lights aren’t off I didn’t figure on having many options.

After being warmly welcomed as always by Andrew and his staff, we were dispatched upstairs to the secure office to change before being led out to parade the upper floor of the shopping centre to allow their social media manager to post videos and photos of us on behalf of Buchannan Galleries, ultimately making our way down to the first floor and the LEGO Store itself.
For those who have never shopped there, the store is a decent size, but has a number of pillars and displays on the floorspace, while all three walls are loaded with the stock and further display units which unfortunately meant that with a TK either side of the door I felt that regardless of where I stood I was always blocking someones access to something, especially with the find the minifigure hunt that was running in-store.  Fortunately, for me at least, the TKs appeared to be somewhat uncomfortable or bored in the one sport at the door and soon began wandering about allowing me access to the slightly cooling breeze that it provided.

While our previous visit had a requisite to trudge all the way back up to the offices for lunch, the stock room was a lot tidier this time round enabling us to use it to sto for something to eat, albeit compounding my feeling of just constantly being in the way what with the staff coming in for sets or breaks of their own.
As the shop got busier in the afternoon, so the heat increased leading me to seek the sanctury of the nearby air conditioning vent locations on more than one occasion.  A quick lids-off late in the afternoon led to an unfortunate incident where one of our newer troopers strayed too far from the safety of the shop just as the detritus from the Old Firm game that day was floating past which unfortunately only more experience would have told him was a bad idea resulting in a knock to the helmeted head.  An unfortunate incident to be sure but hopefull one that won’t put him off future events…

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87 Erskine Edinburgh Home Christmas Fete – 3rd December 2016

Location
Erskine Home, Edinburgh 13:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
There didn’t seem to be many takers for this event and rather than allow it to be cancelled we made the trek through to Edinburgh despite ongoing car troubles for this odd combination of Christmas Fete and hospital visit.
Luckily we were joined last-minute by Chris as Vader as I’m fairly sure the majority of folks would have had no idea what Gordy and I were supposed to be since neither of us were really wearing an iconic costume.

The venue wasn’t particularly small, but with stall tables occasionally taking up one side of the corridor and some of the residents requirement for wheelchair access circumnavigating it sometimes made for a difficult and treacherous path. The preference for a single route from the entrance past Santa’s fireside and back also meant that we largely kept pace with specific groups of visitors throughout the day rather meaning photos were often with different arrangements of the same families and in the same locations.

I’m not entirely sure I agreed with the brief diversion upstairs to visit some of the more bed-bound residents though. While I can understand the desire to make them not feel left out by being unable to journey to the ground floor, my feeling was that the majority of them had no idea of what these strangers were supposed to be representing and left at least one gent confused and mildly upset by our intrusion into his room…

That said though I can’t complain about the more general reception we received. Our attendance was certainly appreciated and we were well looked after by the staff for the duration of the couple of hours we were there, even if it was slightly extended by us inadvertently standing front and center for the drawing of the raffle tickets meaning we couldn’t quietly slip away as proceedings went on and had to stay on beyond the end time while they drew. Every. Single. Ticket.

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86 Dreams Come True shopping experience at Hamleys – 6th November 2016

Location
Hamleys Toy Store, Glasgow 10:00 – 12:00, erm… 08:00 – 10:00

Mission Report
There seems to be a reoccurring pattern of us turning up for events at St. Enoch’s when we’re not expected, the latest occasion of which was for this troop. Somewhere, amongst the Chinese Whispers between the chain of folks involved in us actually being allowed to turn up at events these days, the start time for this got mixed up with the equivalent event in Manchester, thus the majority of us arrived (an hour ahead of our start time) just as the Shopping Experience was coming to an end…

Due to our long relationship with the Hamley’s staff though they were happy to open the store to the public early and have us wander about for a few hours regardless. Although the place was quiet at that time of day there were a decent number of punters passing through the shop and even in the slower periods… well… the staff there are highly versed with keeping immature minds occupied and wandering hands from pulling all the stock off the shelves!

Cementing his place as most sickeningly talented member of the squad, Yee not only managed to knock out an accurate rendition of the Star Wars theme on the piano, but somehow did it using his feet. And while fully kitted up as a Stormtrooper.

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85 Disney Star Wars GO Rogue Experience – 30th October 2016

Location
Disney Store, Glasgow 12:00 – 16:00

Mission Report
Unexpectedly returning to the Disney Store for a third engagement (and doubling my troop count for the year in the past fortnight as a result, a figure not seen since the heady days of 2010) I was presented with the opportunity to change from spotting to trooping.  With the restrictions on costumes considered appropriate by Disney though, I had a bit of a dilemma in that my Biker Scout is getting on a bit to the extend its trooping days are probably numbered and it was too short notice to charge up Artoo leaving only my untried and untested Jawa.

Kitting up for the first time since the clearance pictures was quick enough, but I ran into problems with the sound module.  A slight crackle whenever the audio jack was connected indicated that there was a fault with the board and that left me incommunicado for the duration of the troop.
It also became quickly apparent, before even leaving the changing room in fact, that this costume was excessively hot to wear.  Indeed within ten minutes the sweat was pouring down my face, not helped by my feeling that Jawas shouldn’t really stand still and my constant scurrying around!

Initially my mischievous behaviour included trying to relieve passers by of their jackets and fleeces, but I had to quickly abandon this when the second or third victim appeared quite content to be fully divested of his garment instead of pulling away and fighting me for the prize.

Instead I positioned myself behind the troopers in attendance, partially obscured by the entrance pillars allowing me to pop out and photo bomb pictures of them with various members of the public, returning to concealment before anyone other than whoever was wielding the camera was aware of my presence until the photo was viewed later.  In between, I could peer out of the adjacent section of glass shop frontage until noticed by a passer-by vanishing from view by the time they had alerted whoever they were accompanied by to look in my direction, leaving more than a few folk befuddled.
In fact one such game of repeated hide and seek with a small lad and his unenlightened sister went on for so long, that a good 20 minutes after my last appearance at the window he was still hanging about.  So it was that later on when I heard banging at the glass I assumed he had returned yet again, but saw a gent crouched on his haunches concentrating on transferring his various purchases into a backpack.   He spent a considerable amount of time on this task, under my constant beady glowing-eyed observation entirely unawares of my presence until eventually, task complete, he looked up and saw me, immediately falling backwards onto his behind in good-natured shock.  Which was probably kind of lucky for me because he was a big chap and I doubt I could’ve run particularly fast in the robe had it been a requirement…

As I mentioned earlier, contrary to my previous statue modus operandi at this location, the costume seemed to dictate constant nervous movement so it came as massive surprise to overhear a conversation between two teenage girls about how the Jawa clearly wasn’t real and was clearly and inflatable.  Playing along with this I limited my activity to a gentle bobbing back and forth in the one sport until they were entirely convinced their observation was correct and then just as they turned to leave moved my arms to a different position, causing them to bolt across the shop floor towards the exit with a scream.

All in all not an unpleasant experience, but the inability to communicate made it an odd one.  The sinister blank-faced visage perhaps isn’t suited to an event like this where very young children are coming into the environment unawares and it’s probably a costume that needs…  more…  I dunno… interaction… be it appropriate props, sounds or to be in a bunch of them.  Strange too that after hearing a couple of comments from the public in the same store the weekend before about having traded with the Jawas at Hollywood Studios, and despite carrying a pouchful of tat, not a single person approached me to try and do this all day!

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