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Sh Sh Sh Shambalahhhhhh (Pt1)

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This time last week we were fizzing with anticipation about No.1 daughter’s GCSE results and our trip to Shambala the following day…

The girl done good!  11 GCSEs in total, lowest grades 2 Cs. The rest all Bs, As and A*.  She must not be mine or Bman’s.  A changeling from the maternity ward at LGI perhaps? 

🙂

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And what better way to celebrate than to go on some Adventures in Utopia at Kelmarsh Hall, Market Harborough at Shambala Festival.

I’m not actually sure where to start TBH?  Shambala is a festival of shiny happy people who make you feel like the country isn’t totally full of fucktards, skanks, unfortunates, spice tramps and bellends.  It’s colourful, glittery, sequinned, eclectic, very vegetarian (but not militantly vegan) and not the sort of place where tents get left behind and loos get set on fire.
Where else would you be asked by a young child on the way back to camp late at night, “Do you want to hear the most amazing sound in the world?”  (The answer of which should always be.. “Why yes, thank you, I sure do”) then the next thing you know, you are dangling an oven shelf from your ears on some string with your fingers in your ears, while child in question drags a wooden spoon across the slats of the shelf.  Suffice to say it was one of the most amazing sounds I have ever heard. Right there inside my brain like angels singing into my ear canal.  Try it! Get the shelves out of your oven right now and get dangling people!

 

This year we also took my youngest daughter’s pal Poppy – one of her friends who was hit by a car at Easter.  This made the family dynamic a little different, but I found it less stressful if I’m honest. Perhaps because the three of them went off together, they all got on well and were able to stay out without me, or head back to camp earlier than me. They helped when I was minding my young nieces.  They didn’t appear to fall out at all and Poppy didn’t bat an eyelid when we watched a ‘cunt walk’ fashion show, or me and my sister did stupid things like starting a traditional family pile-on in the Chai Wallah tent, or tried to embarrass them with crazy outfits.

 

 

I did my usual and went to town a bit on the first night.  I thought I was being quite restrained until I felt a bit knackered and fragile on Friday morning after a night bouncing around in the Swingamajig.  Sleeping bag?  Check! Toothbrush?  Check!  Glittery outfits? Check!  See the Electric Swing Circus?  Check!

I know this is me on these pictures but I have no recollection of them being taken.  I blame Thursday tequila amnesia. You will note my go-to facial expression that is more ‘Manic Loon’ than ‘Blue Steel’.

 

The sun played a blinding set for 4 days. The emergency waterproof trou stayed in the bag and the sun lotion was thoroughly used up. I sat on my sunglasses and fell on the tent.  We fashioned a tiny paddling pool for the folding washing up bowl and turned a blind eye to the naked people washing their bumholes under the water taps.  Boobs were akimbo and glittery. The Police Rave Unit were in full effect and gained a new fan in Poppy, who was also a big fan of the Roots Yard (because who isn’t?)

 

 

Had a special moment on Friday night taking the youth to see DJ Rap in the Kamikaze tent.  Getting my old skool rave back on with my kids.  Nice! 

Old ravers never die- they just creak when they two-step. 

🙂

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Whistle posse blow!

Later the band ‘Idles’ were on the main stage.  Allie and Poppy went to the front.  It got quite lairy so Rhona went in to stay with them.  So then I had 3 children to worry about instead of 2 in the moshiness at the front of what transpired to be a very shouty set. 

 

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As my sister and I stood to the side, looking confused and slightly concerned. At one point I thought I might have to go in, Poltergeist style, on a rope held by my sister, so I could rescue the girls and bring them out unscathed.

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We then got distracted, discussing in hushed tones whether or not the dreadlocked man laid on the grass near us wearing a sequinned catsuit, was in fact the Reverend Michael Alabama Jackson of ‘OMG It’s the Church’ fame.  My sister, more gins in than myself at this stage, sidled up to ask the question, “Scuse, me. Are you ssshhexy Jesus?” to which she was told, “No, but I am the Reverend Jackson”.

Result!  OMG and IN!  Turns out, the band were doing a secret set at the Madam Bayou stage on the Saturday night/Sunday morning.  This festival was just getting better and better!

After a wander around the Enchanted Woodlands – a magical Ewok village/Tree-Walk of strange sculptures and hidden gems, I had an early night to fortify myself for another hot day on Saturday and to finally sleep off the exertions of night before. 

 

 

Ciao for now Sinners.  More to come tomorrow. Xx

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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 – 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).

😀

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 – 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.

😀

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!

 

 

 

Spotlight on Beacons

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Aerial shot of Beacons (obv. not taken by me)

Back from  Beacons Festival 2012 with the Crap Posse and about to head off on Thursday to Shambala! (Which Bman insists on calling Shangalang and asking if I am going dressed as Woody from the Bay City Rollers)

OH! NO! I’m not.

I seem to be spending swathes of my summer holidays frequenting portaloos.   Magic Loungeabout’s were not bad but Beacons were shocking and far too few!  ‘Brimmage’  & ‘Overflow’ were the words of the weekend! You know they’re bad  when you catch the toilet emptying man (who must surely be used to that line of work) dry-wretching after he’d opened the door to one particular loo!  Complaints were made and feedback left on the website. I’ll let you know about Shambala shambaloos, but I have high hopes for the self-composting long-drops!

It wasn’t all piss up to the rim of the bowl & empty loo roll though (yuk!), I actually saw a band I wanted to watch without the children and it was after 10:30pm!  To be fair, I didn’t drink as much as I’d have liked to on this rare night out as I had the fear of needing a wee every 15 minutes!

Toots and the Maytals @ The Stool Pigeon Stage – Sunday night.

We have the bunting, as proof that we were there!

Thanks to The Crinski I also discovered Maya Jane Coles (Cheers Crin!)

I was asked to leave the dance floor at the Ladybird Project Dance-Off.  My moves were not good enough.  My littlest was good enough though and won a First Prize rosette for the duet section.  She gets her moves from her Dad!

We also discovered a Flagarinth & a wall of mirrors – how much fun can you have in the rain, bobbing up and down laughing at yourself?

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I think I’d make a fab dwarf!

We juggled; we danced; we ate ice-cream late at night.  The childerbeast played clown cricket with water balloons and were taught how to ‘chase the dragon’ (but not in a Zammo way) – it was a just a game with a poor choice of name!  Much laughter was had round the camping stove with the  Aconley-Ferdinandos and their losing things that they had all the time and drunken lectures on coats and ties!  We pondered and mourned the death of Bruce Forsyth, which turned out to be a festival rumour, begun at the Impossible Lecture tent, presumably, to spark discussion on who would now take over on ‘Strictly’ (and a spate of festival goers in Brucie masks the following day).  We sat on sofas & watched a ‘Pendurance Test’, where grown men and women competed to see who could be first to get a biro to run out by scribbling on pieces of paper.  I didn’t get to see who won or what the prize was (a new pen?), because we were ejected from the marquee when 2 of our company lit up cigs!

Alive Alive OH!

It rained.  It was sunny.  The mist rolled down from the hills and made the site look eerie.   There weren’t enough lights in the camping area, making the spider-web of tent ropes a mission near impossible to negotiate after dark (& a few wines).  However there was a bouncy castle Koppaberg disco!  What more could you ask for?  (Oh yeah – more toilets and some better lighting, and a larger Family Area not right next to the drunken piss-up, foul language  brigade).

There was the usual festy oddities aplenty in the form of random gifts of spring onions; wandering theatrical types; amusing tent decoration; drinking casualties and the seemingly constant hissing sound of people with more money than sense trying to get high with the aid of nitrous oxide & balloons!  WTF?  Head between the knees for a few seconds, then stand up as fast as you can and surely the same loss of brain cells could be achieved?  Difficult to explain to the childerbeast who kept finding the spent silver capsules on the ground.  “What are they mummy?”  Erm, I don’t know love”  (I genuinely didn’t, until I asked someone else!) 

Maybe I’m just too old for this.  The average age of the punter at Beacons did seem to be mid-20’s.  Perhaps I should just start going to folk festivals full of beardies and Real Ale drinkers.

 Highlights for me were the childerbeast in the line to refill the water carrier, saying:-  “Mum I don’t think the tap is working.  That man is just standing there staring at the tap, it must be broken.” Cue 20-something,  acid casualty seemingly thoroughly bemused by the simple operation of turning on a tap, with 3 other apparently witless punters patiently waiting in line behind him.    “Kids, step away slowly and let’s leave them to it & find another tap”. 

Gav & Stace moment while Olympic-standard loafing in the giant deck chairs at the Ladybird Tent on sunny Saturday, Gill shouting to her son “OH!  JOE!” and a trio of young lads at the other end of the field yelling back “ALRIGHT NESS, YOU ALRIGHT?”

This tent amused me every day when we walked past it to get into the main arena:-

I dread to think what his eHarmony profile says!

In the style of the man at the water tap, I stared at this sign for far too long in the ‘Herd of Cats’ healing area, thinking, “What are The Rapies?”

 

or… there are pies…

Doh!  Dumb blonde spacker moment.

Who’s that over there?

OH! It’s me – what a dumbass!

Sunday night was entertaining, when the main arena shut at midnight so 3,000 campers had to find something to do until the wee small hours rather than dance the night away in a marquee!  At one point I saw a large 6-8 person dome tent being carried aloft by several persons down the hillside, spookily silhouetted  by the floodlights near the toilet block.  It had the look of a giant multipedal beetle.  (Is multipedal a word? If not, it should be).  People were cheering as it made its way to the foot of the hill.  We nicknamed it Bruce Forsyth’s funeral pyre. (At this point we were still unsure whether he was actually dead or not)

Such drunken high jinx continued for a couple of hours and then it went suddenly quiet, like all the Strongbow had run out and the nitrous oxide had worn off and everyone crashed unconscious after 3 nights of solid partying.

Have to say, fun times aside, that a low point was the horrendous mess that the majority of the punters left behind, even though they were provided with binliners for their rubbish.  Despite the Programme specifically requesting that the site be left as they found it and nobody leave tents and stuff behind.  This is what the area looked like near us.  Suffice to say the Family Camping zone (all 20m square of it!) was left pristine without so much as a dog-end or a bottle top left behind. We made sure of it!

FYI – we witnessed the yellow tent in this picture being used as a toilet by at least one girl, who had a shit in it at 11am Monday morning as we were packing up!  Skanky dirty minging young ‘uns!

Shitter’s full honey!

 

 

 

 

 

That tent looked brand new when those kids put it up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WTF ?

I wasn’t looking forward to de-camping and heading home by train, but then the Bman rode in to the rescue on his shining steed (AKA bog-green Skoda) with an unscheduled day off and drove to Skipton to collect us.  Happy happy joy joy!  Stuffed the soggy, muddy tent in a bin liner and threw it in the boot, ready to dry off on the line back home.  Genuine!

Clothing all washed, dried and ironed and some of it repacked ready to hit the road again on Thursday to Northamptonshire.  Rumours abound that a certain Mr DTR might be joining the shangri-la of Shambala.  I’ve warned him that if he wants to meet me at Ladies Night on Friday he will have to drag-up!  He says he’s all over it!  (I dread to think – I’ve seen some of his FB pictures, and they were just him in his back garden!)  🙂

Will only have a day back at the ranch after this gig before I head to Chester Y Fronts to collect the childerbeast who will be spending the next 9 days at the Moss with my folks.  Suspect M&D may well tire of grandparently duties after much less time than that!  Will have couple of days there then back here for the last weekend before the September term starts!  October half term I think I will mostly spend doing not a lot at all after this rampacked 5½ weeks!

 

In other news, I am getting a new phone delivered tomorrow.  I am entering into the arena of the 21st century and getting an ‘android’ phone.  I don’t know what that means, but I am hopeful it will be able to do that knife between your fingers trick like Bishop on ‘Aliens’ and also bring me meals and cups of tea.  So apologies if over the next few days I either ignore your texts, ring you by accident during the night or don’t know who you are when you call.  I’ll be busy trying to work out how to use the fucker!

So call me baby, here’s my number!