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Welcome to the new age (to the new age)

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Whilst the Bman and I were regaling the offspring with tales of our youth yesterday, the question came up of “What ever happened to New Age Travellers?”.  I was trying to explain to the kids that back in the early 1990’s there was nothing more feared by the government and your average Daily Mail reader than the scourge of the New Age Traveller.  Not to be confused with what they would think of as a traveller today – Perma-tanned, fancy caravan dwelling, possibly of Irish or Roma descent and all in favour of the big wedding at a young age.  I’m talking more thrifty garmented, ambulance dwelling, vegetarian crusty juggler types.


This type of traveller


Not this type of traveller – although there were some of these at the festival in 92


Did the New Age become the Now Age and these people have integrated seamlessly into society, living among us, hiding in plain sight like the Autobots?  Giving up their old school buses for basement flats in London. Or are they all living in a commune somewhere up the top of Mount Snowdon? Or did they get bored, get haircuts & slink back home to mum and dad? Their previous personas only showing by their love of quinoa, tofu, hairy jumpers and a nose piercing?

Anyway, due to being a smartly dressed office worker at M&S Financial Services by day and raver by night, I ended up attending such a gathering of travellers once.  Not the legendary Castlemorton gathering of May 1992 that went on for days and instigated the passing of the Criminal Justice Act  but one a few months later.  All arranged before social media mind, or many people had a mobile phone.  A friend of ours had a ‘rabbit’ phone (remember them??)  You could only ring people if you were in a ‘rabbit’ zone (which were scarce to say the least).  Pretty useless TBH.
Anyway, I’ve no idea how we knew it was happening. But I went with my then bf and, I won’t flower it up for you folks, It was fecking dreadful from go to woe!  Needless to say I had an epiphany whilst squatting in a beck to have a pee as dawn broke over the Welsh hills and thought “What the actual Christ am I doing here?”  To this day I believe that Jarvis Cocker must have been at the same event to have come up with that line in ‘Sorted’ when he says “
You want to call your mother and say Mother, I can never come home again”.
I will say this kids.  Probably best not to accidentally swallow 3 purple oms if  you get pulled over by the dibble and then sit in an old Ford escort, hotboxing skunk with a bunch of bucket-hatted scallies and a Penfold lookalike woman who deliberately tries (and succeeds) to wreck your head with stories about worms inside bananas.   That shit is NOT your friend!


Just say No kids

Mercifully I have no photo evidence that this shit ever happened and I can find very little about it online other than these few links and a couple of news pictures on Google and these old news articles …This one time back in 1992 

Hippies galore

Courtesy of Google images

I do have pictures of us at the Northern Green Gathering circa 2008, which was possibly the last time I was in the company of so many ‘Crusties’ as we used to call them back in the days when you were allowed to use affectionately insulting nicknames.
We were welcomed into the fold of a family of said Crusties and offered campfire stew and homebrewed cider.  We reciprocated by sharing a bag of pineapple chunk sweets with their children, who made us promise they were animal product free. Then they hid them in their pockets in case their mum saw and furtively glanced around every few minutes to check if they were being watched, before taking the sweet out, licking it and hiding it back in their pockets. Meanwhile I thought I might get beaten over the head with fire poi by an irate militant vegan with dreadlocks down to her knees, berating me for poisoning her children with sugar.

Good times.

When my babies were babies and enjoyed cwtching up with their mama in the tent to keep warm.


Nice Flumps hat there Bear


One of my all time fave pics of Allie


Aww Noddy Wellies & tiger coat combo


Bit of free dance around the standing stones

So here’s to the New Age Traveller, wherever they are now. I shall always vaguely remember that never-ending weekend in July 92 when Spiral Tribe failed to appear as promised, chickens and goats ran amok. Gypsy children jumped on our car bonnet refusing to stop until we gave them cash or food (I threw a packet of KitKats at them out the window and shouted at them to Fuck Off) and I left an important part of my brain somewhere in a field in Powys.

Nice One, Top One. Get Sorted. Xx


East coast massive

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Me and Childerbeast have just had a mini seaside break in sunny Bridlington. It was hotter than one would imagine for Brid, but then we are going through a bit of the old global warming in the UK just now.


We could almost be in Tenerife


Not quite Bondi.    but you still got to swim between the flags y’all!



Bit overcast on Day2 but still warm

Things I learned over the past couple of days:- 
* Dining out with my friend can be quite the confusing experience for all involved.
* If my friend won £10k, the first thing she would buy is a “big bag of crisps.”
* There’s an awesome disabled loo on the promenade at Brid, with adjustable sinks.
* Two days in Brid costs more than you think.
* There are several establishments serving, “best fish and chips in Bridlington”.
* Black music gets you dancing – it must be true, it said so on the waltzers.
* My friend’s daughter is a menace in a dodgem – My bruised knees are a proof!
* Even the best GoPro ever will still only film brown water in the sea at Brid.




I wish to be a 13 year old boy who works in a toy factory & has sex with a grown woman


Nothing to see here, just a man with a hotdog for gentials


Mmmm ice cream that looks like your intestines


You heard the man – get dancing honkies!


All diversities welcome at the seaside

Meanwhile, our next trip will be to Boomtown Fair in Winchester later this week.
I’m excited and slightly nervous in equal measure.  It looks like quite the immersive festival experience. It could go either way.  I could wander aimlessly with the childerbeast (like we did when I got us lost on the way to the B&B in Brid) or I could end up in the tea and sympathy tent being holistically tended-to by a volunteer in a HiVis vest, while my children look on in ill-disguised contempt and embarrassment because I’ve lost my shit on Mcat or something. (Is Mcat still a thing?)   Click here for a trailer of  BoomTown Chapter 10

We shall see…


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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?
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.

Macca cheese from the Mac Shack for brekkie.  Crackin’!


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!


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!


Sisterly raving



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.


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


One of these calves is now slightly more swollen.

Shambalananegins 2015

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This time last week we had just about set up our living space for the long haul at .




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).


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).


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!


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.


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.


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 – an ex native – had 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.

birthday party hats

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.


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.


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 – fist 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).




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).


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





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 – genius!)  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.


Don’t let my kids ever tell you I never do anything with them

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It is September 1st, there are 115 days until the C word and I go back to work the day after tomorrow, after 6 weeks off – and what a 6 weeks! 

I’ve been to Farndale & Saltburn; worked 2 festivals and attended another as a punter.  I’ve been to Scarborough, Whitby & swimming a fair few times.  Visited Manchester & Chester; I’ve sat in the belly of a metal whale; masqueraded as the Red Queen; soaked in a hot tub on a riverbank; climbed a giant dog turd in Stretford & danced atop a pile of haybales in a field in Northamptonshire.  I’ve met new friends; caught up with long lost old friends after far too long.  I’ve re-lived my lost youth and felt fantastic.  On occasion I have also felt about 89 years old!   I’ve discovered new music and heard some amazing live acts & bands.  I’ve laughed until I ached. I’ve cried buckets & felt  like I was at the bottom of the deepest darkest pit of shite, unable to climb back out (but I did).   I’ve danced in the mud; I’ve chatted freely to semi-naked people covered in glitter; I’ve swirled around in other people’s detritus in the name of research & entered the 21st century with a touch-screen phone with Internet access (it’s the devils own handiwork I tell you – Witchcraft! Witchcraft!).   I’ve been to the movies 3 times and I’ve loafed on the sofa for a whole day watching ‘Murder She Wrote”.   The excitement has been non-stop.

Well now it’s time to get back into work mode and pretend to be an intelligent, highly organised, calm and sensible grown-up again ready to impart knowledge and wisdom on a future generation of young adults.

I’ll let you know how that pans out…


In other news: Blunkett refused seat at Paralympics  Rather mahoosive social faux-pas.  Glad it’s not just me who fucks up on a grand scale then.


Also in home news, Bman tells me that at his work they are to be issued with new name badges which needn’t have their real names on.  They can choose an alternative name, which has to be agreed with the powers that be.  Oh the possibilities…

Apparently the usual suspects e.g. Phil McAvity and Phil McCreviss, have already been submitted (and rejected) but the potential for comedy is fabulous and too good an opportunity to miss.  All last night I was randomly interrupting conversation and TV viewing with things like;- “How about Lou Stools? or I.C. Uratwat”. 

Any suggestions worthy of mention, do feel free to leave a comment.  We have also been considering movie characters or musicians who aren’t too obvious.  We both liked Snake Plissken and Lux Interior but are doubtful they will pass the test.

In the meantime (while you think of names like ‘Mike Hunt’ and ‘Drew Peacock’) here are a few of my favourite pics of what I did on my holidays:-


Next thing to plan for: – HLTA course starting in October (work work work and how the Feck do I get across to the Harrogate Road side of Leeds by 0915) and hopefully our annual Halloween shizzle – this year am hoping for a Dia de los Meurtos theme to tie in with the date.  Sugar skull times!

Later dudes!  Xx