The big unpack and apres Glastonbury mud removal, and festive dust and slime eradication, has come to an end. I had a very exciting adventure with my fab husband and family, plus many many friends, having not been for two years. Last year was the height of school fuss and also my health problems were too unstable for me to go.
The difference in my stamina and mobility was noticeable not only by myself, but by friends who had not seen me in that time. They noticed the weight loss and the beginnings of decent hair, which of course I tossed around when tutting with the first setting up and unpacking and arrival session. I have actually slowly over time lost a stone an a half now, it is the addition of the right thyroid medication, but my diet and exercise is also very good.
We rattled along from East Anglia in our dented estate car, (we only drive dented and scratched vehicles), towing a folding caravan). With five slightly squabbling inhabitants doing their best with limited leg room. I had the front seat, with my feet up on empty gas bottles, although I was not aware they were empty, if I had known etc, snarl, snap and witter.
Prior to departure he and I had our usual argument about bottled gas, seeing as I always go camping preparing for the worst ie - minus 2 with howling gales and torrential sideways sheet rain. I pack accordingly, beyond the 6 hot water bottles I take, (and yes I do take a kitchen sink), and fridge, I also insist through gritting spitting teeth, several times over, on spare gas for all the washing up with boiling water, he says we don't need to do, and also my make do shower, involving large watering cans and a make do sheeted area in the hedge. He is made to have one of those quick hot showers, every other day, protests wildly, and then says how nice he feels after putting on clean clothes which apparently he did not need to bring along either.
Alongside a full larder of food and of course plenty of wine, gin, vodka and beer. I also pack a very very lavish shower bag, this has become bigger annually, for 25 years. Every grungy musician within a mile of where I camp knows I have all these things and turn up to borrow my wash bag, and as they all sit and squabbling in my caravan nightly I do prefer that they have a wash once in a full moon. Talking of full moons, I did see several of those on a daily basis, (some rather hairy). Being camped on the Green Fields a number of people annually opt for no clothes. Naturally anybody over a certain age, including a naked man on a bike with waist length beard and also a lady wearing only a rucksack with an array of gold teeth, and substantial mobility aid, of course turned out to be old friends of my husband. In fact he did recount a cougar like tale from 3 decades previously when he was in his hippie prime, the said woman asking him to dinner, and then deciding to remove her clothes and take a bath in the middle of it all, he made a fast exit before dessert was served. I was rather relieved as having met her one evening while we were there in her most cloying and lack of clothes persona, I did feel an urge to move swiftly on, as did he I might add. However hats off to her for not giving a jot about clothes. My children did once discover a picture of me only wearing mud at a festival was that was many moons ago, (not hairy moons)!
Once we had arrived, we had our almost annual bicker, people do love it and normally come over to help in order not to miss it. Actually it becomes weekly in the summer, about putting the awning up on the caravan to make a nice shady sitting room, or shelter from the rain, or indeed a bar, lit with my solar fairy lights. Actually it becomes an instrument dumping ground for the various bands that play in our camping area, including my husband's. I spent most of Glastonbury retrieving, mandolines, accordians, tin whistles, tambourines, hats, glasses, wallets, clothes, (all of them), and sandals. He did actually lose all his glasses and end up wearing a cast off heavily mended floral set designed for somebody less rugged than him. We did both manage to keep hold of our silicone ear plugs, useful at night and in my case around the vicinity of an at times irritating male musician who is prone to whining in a minor key in the mornings unless he is fed promptly. I seem to mainly churn out veg omelettes in the morning shoved into wraps and served with compulsory fruit salad and all washed down with vitamin C and Zinc. This then swapped for buckets of coffee later on. My teens are all older now and had tons of friends with them. They all averaged a bedtime of 4 - 5 am, we were quite well behaved and apart from the Saturday night, which saw me not in bed, or him, I was in bed by 2 every night in order to pace myself.
The first night I forgot to put the ear plugs in as the festival had not really started, and I was able to gauge the rough arrival of the gang coming back from nightclubs by the level of rustling under the caravan. Underneath is stocked with flapjacks, bananas, juices, crisps and other such things. To survive ten or so days at Glastonbury without illness or extreme tiredness takes some planning with us lot, we all get a very healthy brunch and a super healthy dinner, and the rest is up to them, but I am aware of the drinks they sneak in and the dawn munchies. I might add the same thing applies to us several sheets to the wind at midnight, although we tend to hang out with all our old friends around a camp fire. It is all fun, and I am also on the super alert for younger people who are away for the first time at a festival and may in some altered state of existence stumble upon a quieter place to hang out, met many of the years who I have stayed up with all night if necessary and then seem rather surprised in the morning to find themselves tucked up under a blanket with a cup of tea. Or in extreme cases with the on site GP!
I walked many miles a day around the festival and had lots of wild experiences bumping into old friends and making new ones. Our arrival on site was a tad hairy, to have working tickets alongside the tickets for our teens meant special permission to arrive on site early, of course we had filled in the necessary paperwork and listed the ticket names and numbers but still we could not get in, four hours outside a gate was tedious, but it was hot and sunny so I hung out with some interesting people and waited. Finally an old mate of ours who was part of the first ever Glastonbury wafted past me and told me it was sorted, he is an intriguing character who gets around having no vehicles on site by driving his entire car inside a very large tent and then zipping it up pronto, it is then hidden with a large drape inside, and can't be detected by anybody other than us who make point of searching for it every year. He is normally parked near a rather desperate sauna outfit which disgusts one of my friends Hairy Legs greatly, how he came to receive that name is another story but does relate to these sort of settings. He once at a very muddy festival followed my husband's enthusiastic instructions and joined him at the said Sauna, this to avoid the threatened home made shower I was planning in order to allow my husband to actually share the bed with me in the caravan. Hairy Legs was beside himself over the sordid sauna experience and said he came out filthier than he went in.
So... a very lucky holiday for me with lovely teenagers all having finished their exams, and for once some fairly good weather, only some mud, and even that was welcome, as if it does not rain at all the dust becomes and issue. I noticed I had no hay fever and no allergy for the days I was there other than some tiredness if I over did it. Thank you LDN and thank you NDT you are doing me proud. I even managed to not get annoyed about our annual gas bottle argument, as to run out of gas in the middle of a festival is no fun, especially if wet and muddy. It turns out we had come all the way to the festival with my feet on empty bottles! I managed to collar some guys delivering to a nearby cafe and they sold me one, so problem solved. Albeit the inflated price, but that will make him refill them next time.
Now we are back home, all the mud is scraped off, the washing is dry and plenty of work is going on, against a back drop of me planting up more salad in the garden and generally getting back into nose to the grindstone mode. So far, he has lost more glasses, lain in long grass while at work I might add, and then lost the key to the bike lock and had to be rescued by friends, also lost his bike helmet and more glasses, but now looks stunning in some turquoise blue ones I bought him the other day, when we entered a shop together that apparently he said we did not need to go into, several bicycle bells, hats, glasses and bike lots later, I agreed also we could come out!
My only other news is that the one set of OCD neighbours have been doing special policeman style walks past our drive, as cars parked in the public road, many doors away from their actual dwelling, spoil their view from the microscopic part of their one top window that can see this area from their house. Not our cars, everybody elses, however our half up half down flapping folding caravan caused a commotion as did the trail of things falling out of it. We were too tired to do anything other than sleep and eat, several times over.
The first night back I thought perhaps I was still at the festival as I awoke in the night to find two tabby cats on top of me. I only have one, so presumed I was seeing double. My other cat a black and white one, hot on both their trails. My ancient tabby, now fully recovered from strokes and a heart attack is back on full form at eighteen and a half and has moved an older gentleman in. However I have reason to disapprove as he still lives with his mother around the corner and she is twenty. I keep taking it home to where it should live, owners away, and cat feeding service clearly not giving it the endless attention it wants. Apparently the owner is a rather severe and forceful gentleman who feels he has reason to be infuriated with the entire neighborhood! I feel it is time to thaw him out. Tonight when I am supposed to be doing on line paperwork, I shall actually be writing to his cat from my own declining the offer of marriage in favour of a more relaxed relationship that does not involve living together full time. It will contain photographic evidence including my cat in her basket with the electric fan on! Also his cat sitting in very unsuitable places in our house, including close proximity to an almost stolen raspberry pancake I made this morning for my husband. If that does not work, I shall give up and just march around with it, regularly, stuffed under my arm.
More silly fuss soon