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(Deer)Shed7

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Spent a glorious weekend at Deershed Festival. There were no deer, but at one point, my head, was in fact, a shed. Not as much as my sister’s pals though. A couple of them were way beyond the shed zone at one point.
Most entertaining. But why did they all have to sit on me?
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Have decided that ‘Getting up for a wee in the small hours, in a tent whilst negotiating sleeping children on air beds and trying not to bounce off the tent walls because you’re still 90% prosecco, frozen mojito, G&T and cider’, should be an Olympic sport.

I reckon I could’ve got a silver medal at least.
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Macca cheese from the Mac Shack for brekkie.¬† Crackin’!

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Discovering the Fairylove shop and the Hippy Chippy were on site. Awesome!

Realising you may need to remortgage the house to afford all the other amazing foodstuffs you want to try. Meh!¬† Missing all the workshops you’ve spent weeks looking at on the website because you fell asleep in the sun outside the circus workshop. Oopsie!

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So no Shakespearean Insults Workshop. No Interpretive Dance to Film Scores. No Mathew Bourne’s dance workshop. I did, however manage to make it to the early morning rave in the Big Top.¬† Back to back 90s classics. (Dubious mixing style) but classics nonetheless and all before 10am!

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Sisterly raving

 

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Not pregnant. Just got low hanging macca cheese gut

 

Loved spending time with the smallfry and their smallfry pals.¬† Story time, unicorn hunting, swingball tournaments and¬†illicitly feeding them edible glitter (AKA unicorn poo) then laughing at my eldest niece saying “Nothing to see here Daddy” when they were busted mid-dab in the doorway of the tent.¬† Also much amused at youngest nieceling rallying the camp to come and look at her “massive poo”.¬† I’m all good thanks.¬† I’ll take your word for it.

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Managed to spend an entire weekend outside, dancing about barefoot without so much as an insect bite.¬† Went back to work on Monday and buggered my calf (other leg this time) whilst playing rounders with Year 6. I jumped to catch the ball and¬† felt my calf muscle just go “TWANG”.¬† I was like, “Oh man alive. Not again!”¬† I was immobilized for nearly 3 weeks last time that happened.¬† I still got the batter out though.¬† Skilllzzz!¬† Injury stopped play so we called it a draw.
I strapped it up and 2 days later it doesn’t feel nearly as bad.¬† I can walk in a fairly normal fashion and it doesn’t hurt.¬† So nowhere near as traumatic as last time, thank goodness.¬† Didn’t fancy lurching round Tenerife like something from Shaun of the Dead.

Meanwhile, my baby girl has had her last day at primary school and for the first time in 7 years I did shed a tear at the leaving assembly.¬† Probably because I hadn’t had anything to do with the production of it for the first time in years, so hadn’t seen it hundreds of times.

The end of an era…but the start of 5 weeks off!

It’s been a long time coming Mofos.

Ciao Tutti Xx

P.S. fave band was Robots with Rayguns

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One of these calves is now slightly more swollen.

Warm cider, glitter & damp clothes

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I could write about the historical political events of the day but I’ll leave that to the rest of the Internet. ¬†To those who really know what they’re talking about (& plenty who don’t!).

It’s Glastonbury time again!

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Let’s simulate our own festival vibe by drinking warm cider all day, glittering our regions, not having a shit for a week and listening to music we wouldn’t usually entertain.

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Did think about putting one of the tents (I have a selection) up in the garden, lighting the firebowl and camping out with the kids, but the eldest basically told me to stick that idea, and the weather forecast suggests thunder storms. So… I changed my mind. ¬†Think I’ll just stick to the sofa with my Strongbow and wait for ZZ Top.

Keep getting messages from Shambala Festival announcing what’s happening there in August. ¬†We’re not going this year as we’re Tenerifing en famille instead, but I’m a bit sorry about that now. ¬†A hall of mirrors area. What could go wrong there when the *acid kicks in? ¬†Lol.

My girls have both said they want to go to Glastonbury when they’re older. Fine by me. They’ll have a great time. They’ve been built up gently over the years, helping me crewing and have become immune to most things peculiar and unusual.

Bearded men in drag.  Not bothered.  Women in sequined nipple tassels. Barely batter an eyelid.  Near-naked, rollerskating men in Mexican wrestling masks. Unfazed.  Staying up way past bedtime, eating wood-fired pizza in the woods while mum sips tequila from a pink sparkly hipflask. On it!

So instead of going to Glasto or Shambala, I will share with you some of our adventures under canvas over the years via the medium of jpeg

You had to be there.

Maybe you should come along next year. Fancy dress optional. Leave inhibitions at home. BYO tequila.

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Ramones Tee. Essential.

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How they sleep so soundly astounds me.

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Roller disco. Standard!

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Read this as The Rapies after too many ciders. Thought it was a band.

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Youngest’s first festy

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Tent’s up. Cider open

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Goodnight Utopia, thanks for having us.

*not me or the kids on acid obviously. ¬†I’m too old for that shit anymore & they’re waaaaay too young.

Shambalananegins 2015

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This time last week we had just about set up our living space for the long haul at http://www.shambalafestival.org/ .

 

 

 

Tent's up. Cider open

Tent’s up. Cider open.¬† Flying the Vive Jose Cuervo flag.

Our adventures in Utopia began last Wednesday when we tackled not one, not two, not three, but four trains, with all our camping gear to get to Market Harborough.
Got a lift from the station to our host, DTR’s house, from the lovely Garyman. Cheers for that dude.¬† Much appreciated.¬† The even¬†lovelier Dave, took us down the pub for a late supper.¬† Thank you¬†muchly sir, you are too kind.¬†

I then spent the first of several restless nights, beginning with a banana shaped attempt at sleep on DTR’s couch.¬† I was just about too long for it – hence the banana shape.¬†¬†Lessons learned from that evening.¬† A Woo-Woo cocktail in a can is no friend to an empty belly!¬† I felt like I had swallowed a brick.¬† A brick made of sherbert & alka-seltzer.¬† Step away from the cans of ‘bitch piss’ (apart from the Mojito one – that one’s ok).

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Next day, the ever fabulous Miss Sunshine arrived and it was time to play Tetris with the camping gear & the childerbeast in her little car.¬† A little creative stacking of bags later and we were en route to Kelmarsh – the purportedly secret location of the festival.¬† (Not that much of a secret if it’s been held there for several years).¬†

What a beautiful location it is too.

After the quickest entry into a festival I’ve ever had! ¬†We had a bit of a wrestle with the old Pink Flamingo tent.¬† It was in rather more of a poor state of repair than we had originally thought.¬†¬† A bit of tactical duct taping and re-engineering of the poles¬†& it was finally erect (after a fashion).¬† Not helped in any way by the windy weather!
¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† It was just for Miss Sunshine¬†& the food & drink¬†supplies, so we hoped it would last the weekend.¬† Worse case scenario she would have to squeeze in with us three in the Blue Baloo.¬† (you have to name your tents – it’s the law).

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We’d hardly ventured far into the main arena before Miss Sunshine bought herself a full length faux fur coat.¬† She has several at home but hadn’t brought one with her.¬† With that on¬†& her Trilby, it would have been churlish not make¬†some Game of Thrones meets Huggy Bear gags, particularly on Fruity Friday when we sported our dangly moustache & sunglasses combo.

Frozen margaritas in the Enchanted Woods

Frozen margaritas in the Enchanted Woods

We saw a fair few people who seemed to have over-indulged waaaaay too early into proceedings on Thursday.¬† I did not envy how they might feel the next day.¬†¬† I did find myself saying things like “Let that be a warning to you kids” quite a lot over the days – ¬†but essentially, it was a festival.¬† The very place to over-indulge and party.¬† A time and place to let yourself¬†go.¬†¬†Go barefoot.¬† Dress up.¬† Get naked. Paint your face.¬†Cross-dress! ¬†Throw glitter in the air, roll around in it, eat it, shit it.¬† Glitter & sequins¬†everywhere – like Christmas card making week at primary school!

We did receive a text message on Saturday morning warning that 4 festival goers were in hospital due to been taken ill from drugs & that we should be mindful and take care.¬† (Well done Shambala for the heads up).¬† In fairness, if you do indulge, then you do run that risk.¬† Same can be said for booze of course but that doesn’t have the same stigma attached because it’s legal!¬† Seemingly these people are now ok, having been released from hospital.¬† Allegedly it was something called DMT that they took.¬† I’m 43 and don’t know what that is, but according to Google, it’s some form of hallucinogenic.

To be honest, there’s that much weirdness, oddity & at least 39 shades of cray going on at Shambala that any form of hallucinogen is neither necessary or isn’t the best idea, especially in the Enchanted Woods by night… but what do I know. I’m 43 and dull as fuck.

Since coming home & seeing the festival Facebook page, apparently there was a lot of drugs to be had.¬† Some festival goers said that they were offered pills¬†& powders almost every time they went to the loo.¬† Can’t say that happened to us & I’m not sure whether to be happy about that or slightly disappointed.¬† Clearly we actually look dull as fuck aswell!

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Foodwise, I rekindled my romance with Anna Mae’s Spicy Juan mac & cheese.¬† Delighted to report though that the childerbeast still said they prefer mine.

Cheesus loves you indeed

Cheesus loves you indeed

Our favourite ‘back at the tent’ meal was, without doubt, hallumi, peppers & mushrooms skewers.¬† Took about 5 minutes and was so easy that even the childerbeast could do it.
We ate a fair few cheese toasties and of course that festival staple – the wood fired pizza.¬† (That’d be fired not fried kids – read the sign properly!)

We actually found the kids woodland tribe area this year so the childerbeast made a mini raft each¬†& had a go on the climbing nets, whilst Miss Sunshine & I had a child-free hour.¬† They also did their usual circus skills & roller disco while we joined in the krumping and samba workshops, (which were both awesome.)¬† We skipped out on the Withering Tights Kate Bush flashmob though, as we couldn’t hear a thing because of microphone issues.¬†

The carnival theme this year was Cosmic Chaos.¬† Me and the childerbeast had Toy Story alien onesies, while Miss Sunshine utilized her Kermit the Frog onesie.¬† We met several other Toy Story aliens so there was lots of “The claw is our master” & “Strangers from the outside”.¬† I don’t know how much tin foil and emergency foil blankets had been used to create some of the outfits but I suspect it was rather a lot.¬† Shambalans do not disappoint with their approach to fancy dress.¬† I saw a Tuskan raider from Star Wars shaking hands¬†with, & hugging a Jawa.¬† There were several variations of Darth Vadar & other Star Wars characters.¬† Loads of random space creatures, cosmic girls & space cadets aplenty.¬† Kids dressed as Mars bars¬†& Galaxys, to a man dressed as Darwin on one side of his body¬†& as God on the other.¬† Entire constellations of stars & I even saw a man dressed as Shrodinger’s box.¬† Genius.

I particularly liked it when¬†a bridal party appeared on the lawn infront of Kelmarsh House and were essentially photobombed by 8,000 loons in fancy dress.¬† I hope they keep at least one shot and don’t photoshop us all out.

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We have all been chosen

We have all been chosen

 

The claw is our master

The claw is our master

 

Judge me if you wish but I think that exposing my girls to the craziness of a festival is very well-rounding for them.¬† It teaches them tolerance¬†& might even teach them lessons that they’ll remember¬†later in life when they go out on their own.¬† I’m not expecting them to never indulge of course.¬† To truly learn, they’ll have to experience for themselves.¬†

They’ve seen grown men wrestling in a paddling pool of¬†glitter.¬† They staged an intervention & refused to let me buy a shiny purple lycra leotard.¬† (Probably for the best).¬† ¬†I wish they had¬†talked me into buying¬†this stag head fascinator though:-

It's very me... but I didn't buy it. Wish I had now.

I didn’t buy it. Wish I had now. It accentuates the bags beneath my eyes

 

They watched¬†‘Being John Malkovitch’ & ‘Citizen Kane’ & didn’t complain once.¬† We saw a 500 year old man playing the spoons on his own¬†in the dark. They saw a boylesque show (that’s right I said boylesque, not burlesque).¬† They saw¬†just how many people took part in the nipple-tassle making workshop when they all chose to model their creations in the parade!¬† They were completely unfazed.¬† Even by having ‘Frozen’ ruined forever by seeing a couple of Princess Anna’s with beards & by witnessing their mum jumping around to The Jungle Brothers with her mate.

Girl I'll house you. You're in my hut now

Girl I’ll house you. You’re in my hut now

The Pink Flamingo will not be joining us on any more adventures into Utopia or, anywhere else for that matter.  The steady, heavy rain on Sunday was the last straw.

The death of the Pink Flamingo

The death throes of the Pink Flamingo

 

We may¬† however, give this festival a miss next year, if only because we’re hoping to have a proper holiday like normal people.¬† One that involves airports & hot sun, with a pool¬†& beaches.¬† It’s about time we had a jolly holly that doesn’t mean sleeping on airbeds or wearing all your clothes at night to keep warm.

We’ll be back though Shambala. With glitter, sequins, furs & facepaints – but not those UV ones – they dry really hard & make your face all stiff.¬† Like ravers botox!

Goodnight Utopia, thanks for having us.

                              Goodnight Utopia, you were fab, thanks for having us.

 

Deershed. Job well done.

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So it’s that time of the year when me and the childerbeast pack up life’s essentials (fairy lights, bunting, ponchos) and head off to live in a field for a few days.

This year, for the first time, my young niecelings joined us for our first time at Deershed Festival near Topcliffe in North Yorks.

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We’ve not been to this one before, but, ¬†conscious that the younglings have never camped before, were attracted to the claim that it is one of the best family friendly festivals around.

It did not disappoint in this regard.

Me and my two travelled there by train and were at Thirsk station by 1030.¬† I regretted not booking¬†a taxi in advance when the man who answered the number I had in my phone asked, “is it for today?” and then scoffed incredulously at me when I answered in the affirmative. Another family were also heading to the site and between us we found another number.¬† We were told “We’ve got nothing but I tell you what.¬† I’ll shout around the town and send anyone up to get you who has a car.

Brilliant.  Thirsk.  Bright lights, big city!

15 quid lighter we were dropped off 7 miles down some country lanes (which my dad Рan ex native Рhad suggested we walk down with all our gear!)  We arrived just in time to meet my sister, bro-in-law and my niecelings in the car park.

We had a hassle-free site entry, found a decent camping spot and began to set up our living spaces.¬† My sister (god love her) furnished us with the ultimate essential of tent erection tools… party hats.

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Party on dudes!

¬†The grated cheese had been left behind in the fridge.¬† We didn’t have enough forks for us all to eat at the same time but at least we had novelty hats on.

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It was a great little festy for young families.¬† So much to do that we didn’t get anywhere near being able to do it all.¬† I tried two days¬†running to get into the Head in the Clouds tent but failed due to not being able to be arsed to wait in the line.¬† Had I been arsed, I would have stripped off my shoes, donned a CSI style forensic white suit and spent 15 minutes trying to find my way out of a marquee filled from floor to canopy with pure white balloons!

And why not? 

I might get on ebay and buy a job lot so I can recreate it in my own home.

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I love all that weird festival shit.  The live music for me is an aside to be honest.  That said, I enjoyed Villagers, The Pictish Trail, Hinds, Ibibio Sound Machine, The Felice Brothers and John Grant. 

We also introduced the younglings to Shlomo for some beatbox and garage vibes.  The youngest was totally getting her rave on and refused to wear her ear-defenders Рfist pumping the air when the bass dropped.  Love it!

Hands in the air!

Hands in the air!

Bubbles were essentially the theme of the weekend.¬† Big old bubbles that drove the younglings nuts.¬† Big old overpriced bubble wands so we could try and recreate¬†Sam Sam the Bubble Man’s bubbleologist show.

Also fab to see some familiar faces from festivals past.¬† Yoga lady and the lovely Pirates (who don’t do anything).

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Bubblicious

Bubblicious

Other than a suspected elbow fracture when my bro-in-law tried to Ollie an old oil drum and failed! I think the only casualty was my eldest niece’s strawberry ice cream, which went for a burton within seconds of purchase.¬† Despite applying the 5 second rule and removing the larger pieces of grass, she was distraught.¬† Aunty Tit employed a bit of subterfuge by telling her I’d go and get her another one¬†whilst actually just hiding behind the ice-cream van and licking the ice cream into a new shape, then emerging triumphant with the ‘new’ ice cream.

I was the best Aunt ever. (if only for a few minutes).

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Not enough gin in my plum & gin sorbet but at least I didn’t drop it.

If only I had a tent that had insulated walls. It was bloomin freezing on the second night.  (Have invested in some thermals for the childerbeast for our next festival foray to Shambala at the end of August).

It takes a couple of nights camping in inclement weather to make you appreciate the small pleasures.  Simple joys like not having to put your shoes on to run across the grass to the loo in the dark.  Not having to cocoon yourself into your sleeping bag with just the tip of your nose poking out.  Hot running water.  Being able to take a shit without being conscious of a waiting queue outside. Bed.  My lovely, cosy, comfy, bed.

Family fun times in fields are awesome but getting home is blissful.

Still going to do it all again soon though.

Accio broom!

Accio broom!

Up up & away

Up up & away

Roar!

Roar!

Science

Science

Group hug

Group hug

Giant hula

Giant hula

Well done Deershed for being so super clean. An outstanding array of different food outlets.  (A fish finger sandwich van no less Рgenius!)  Not having any lairy, laughing gas inhaling acid casualties to alarm the children and for having the happiest, most polite security team ever.

We will be back next year.

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Festivals are a bit like Marmite

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I wrote all this out yesterday but them somehow managed to delete it during the editing process.  Laptop operator ineptitude, clearly!

In¬†the words of King George VI;¬† “Fuck, fuck, bugger, fuckity fuck fuck, shit, bugger and tits!”

I forget what the post was about to be honest.¬† I’ve had a sleep since then.¬† Basically it was about my having watched Glastonbury again this year from the sanctuary of my own bed.¬† Hot and cold water laid on and lavatory facilities to hand that don’t involve an arduous hike through fields and a guy ropes.
I’ve yet to attend Glastonbury and every year I say I will go – ¬†but then can’t be arsed.¬†

Oh my Christ! Feck that!

Oh my Christ! Feck that!

No stranger to the¬†hygiene-impaired portaloo, I’ve attended a few festies in my time.¬† Indeed the childerbeast have pretty much been to at least one a summer, either as crew or punters for the past 6¬†years, as my regular readers will know.¬† We missed out last year but our ‘living space’ will be out in force this summer.¬† Fairy-light bedecked and camping stove fired up to turbo.¬† I will do my usual and hate it the first night and swear I will never attend one again.¬† Then I will quickly turn feral and start free-dancing in a yurt with a yoga guru called Tabby or Tristan.¬† The childerbeast will beg to go to bed and I will berate them for being dull and make them skank in the reggae tent in their pyjamas till the wee small hours or watch inappropriate films, accompanied by weird men playing tunes on old bicycle parts.¬† I shall openly discuss buying a camper van and retiring from the world to travel the countryside, home-schooling my children.¬†¬† This idea will last approximately 48 hours and then I will recover my sleep patterns and have detoxed and normal stagnant reality will resume anew and¬†I will pack away my poncho and hat for another year.

My girls have seen some sights bless them (and I don’t just mean their mother dressed as a witch, still mashed up on tequila, laid prone in the tent doorway.)¬† I think taking them to music festivals (and yes I do screen them from the unnecessary sights) will make them more tolerant and well-rounded individuals as they grow up.¬† Either that, or they’ll end up as nutty as their mother – it could go either way…

Before long they too will be going to these things on their own and falling asleep in an empty marquee then waking up in the full throes of someone’s set, surrounded by people dancing around them.*

I think the festival appeals to my eclectic taste in fashion.¬† If I could get away with the short shorts, wellies and poncho combo every day at work, I probably would.¬† Generally, Management & the Inspectors take a dim view of that kind of thing though, so I try to make an effort.¬† Went in my slackydaks today as I was out on a sports thing.¬† It’s been a while – I felt a bit like I was at work in my pyjamas to be honest.¬† I may not have gone into work wearing them had I known we weren’t setting off until 11:30 and the school inspector was in!¬† She didn’t see me so it was okay!

Meanwhile, do enjoy some snaps of festivals past…

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Capacity crowd at 0900hrs

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charging up my phone via pedal power

 

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Waiting for DJ Yoda

  

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Don’t ask….

 

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Mini Crew Members

Mini Crew Members

 

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* It was 1996, before I had children, s0 no need to call Childline!