We nearly didn’t get there… Nipped into Oakham at 11am to buy buns for breakfast and Wellies for kids who didn’t have any and having read the weather forecast decided they needed some and we broke down in Tesco carpark… The van wouldn’t start. I turned the key and nothing happened, nada zilch rien sweet FA, not a sound not a grunt not a squeak not a peep, dead as a dodo. Phoned the lovely Callum at Hillside garage in Great Glen- a knight in shining armour if ever there was one- and he said call out the breakdown chappy and if they can’t sort it I’ll come out… and this was even though I knocked down half his wall yesterday on leaving the premises after he’d rushed through my MOT for me… It was a small wall to be fair, invisible to all intents and purposes, but it was his wall none-the-less!
Called the breakdown service (who came super quick by the way- probably because I said I had five children, with me, which I did, and they didn’t ask the age of the kids (16), no doubt presuming we were on some kind of a kindergarten outing, which obviously we weren’t) and embarrassingly it started straight away. Got home and Callum phoned to check if it was sorted. I told him I wasn’t sure as I didn’t dare cut the engine in case I couldn’t start it again. He enquired whether I was going to keep it running for the whole five days I was away or wouldn’t I rather see if it started OK just in case. I agreed that his was probably a better idea, went out, turned off the engine and Hey Presto!!! it wouldn’t start again… So…. the lovely Callum came out AND SORTED IT… in five minutes. Dodgy connection on the starter motor. Genius! We packed the van to within an inch of it’s life and set off- me (obviously) and Ferg in the front, Rosy, Oliver, Adam, Julius and Jip all sqeeeeeezed into the back, along with everyone’s baggage, sleeping bags, tent, cooking stuff, gas cylinders, seven pairs of wellies, 48 buns, 48 eggs, 6 packs of bacon, 10 crates of beer, and all my clothes… Yes, the old van did us proud.
We set off around 2pm and got there uneventfully around 6pm- van drove like a dream- especially now I know to stop and check the oil level every 50 miles or so- and I’ve learnt how to use the dip-stick, not just pour in the whole 5 litre can, she says proudly! Isn’t knowledge a wonderful thing? It took us about 2 hours to get into the site and we were all set up, with tent erected by 9pm. Watched an amazing sunset and pootled off to get our wrist bands and some supper and a few ciders. I came back around 11 to wait for Jo who’d left Yorkshire straight after school had finished, (that’s my sister for those of you who don’t know and she’s a teacher by the way- not a pupil…) We sat up till late chatting and the kids all staggered back, slightly inebriated and buzzing like bees round the proverbial honey pot. We all slept like boulders.
Got up about 9.30 and the sky was a flawless cornflower blue, the sun already blazing. Made and drank much tea. Cooked mammoth bacon and egg butties for 9 peeps for we’d aquired Henry by now too and off we all went into the inner sanctum.
First up was Edwyn Collins. Always been a fan- saw Orange juice so many moons ago I cannot tell you when- and he was fab!
He sang a song with his son, William, introduced him so proudly explaining this was his debut… William was fresh faced, innocent, young and so sweet, looking for reassurance and approval from his father, it was really touching. He did fantastic too. Edwyn himself is amazing- brave and a real fighter to keep performing after his stroke. He’s still quite paralysed down his right side and has to walk with a stick but his singing voice is unimpaired. I’ve heard him talk about how music was one of the main things that helped him get through and fight against his disabilities. Well done that man. Great set too. And he did Rip it Up and Start Again. Cool…
After that we wandered off into the woods and caught Phantom Band, Fool’s Gold and Grouplove who were bloody brilliant, and I cut my ear on a vicious twig while peeing in the bracken. That’ll teach me!
I loved Grouplove. They were one of my faves of the weekend. They have a lot of hair between them, probably about a yak full. Energetic, original, fun, wild, brilliant. The male lead singer reminds me of our very own Tacey and sings like a 21st century Neil Young backed by a more melodic Mouldy Peaches and the girl is the epitome of cool with a great voice to boot…
We just chilled for the rest of the afternoon, drank cider, spent a bit of money on rings and frilly knickers and stripy leggings and crazy socks, as you do, listened to KT Tunstall-always good, and Bright Eyes-OK but not amazing, ate v good goat curry and shark patties, while getting a tad sunburnt, fun, fun, fun.
We finished off our musical entertainment by taking in The Vaccines and Bombay Bicycle Club. The Vaccines were absolutely brilliant. So much life and energy. They were a revelation. I enjoyed Bombay Bicycle Club too but the Vaccines get my vote. Their songs are short and snappy and perfectly formed, like early eighties punk, still edgy and raw but 21st century and just that little bit slicker.
Took in some fab poetry to round off the evening brilliantly.
Saw one of our faves from last year- Brigitte Aphrodite- anarchic, hilarious, wild and very cute. Then caught Luke Wright, Tim Clare (who Jo and I are both a little in love with) and friends. Really, really good, really, really entertaining.
Staggered back to the van and slept like babies until the thunder and lightening and torrential rain woke us at about 10am!!! Oh England, I love you and your erratic weather systems tra la la.
More to follow…