Well, where to start?
I've had 8 hours sleep since Thursday night. My attention span is not at its lengthiest. Please bear with me.
Last time I went to Port Eliot, it was a literary festival and I went alone, yes, alone. I don't know what came over me. I saw the festival advertised somewhere and wanted to see the Tom Hodgkinson who wrote 'How to be free'. I had no expectations and had a fantastic, if solitary time.
This year, I had great company, my neighbour, K, whose sister, K, lives with her husband and family just up the road from the festival. We had a blast, arriving to the amusement of the doorcheck people, Peronis and pretzels in hand.
K is a DofE graduate so, usefully, put my tent up. I arranged the bottle of fizz and the picnic basket. My tent neighbours were a little sniffy about my wheely suitcase and K usefully pointed out that wheely suitcases are, apparently, one of the top ten things NOT to take to a festival. In my defence it doubled up as a table.
After lobster on the lawn, accompanied by a ukulele band, we mooched to the cabaret tent to catch the last of the most dreadful stand up I think I've ever seen. I don't even want to think about it. Perhaps it was me. We were really waiting for the lovely Evan Dando and he turned up just after ten. He played a great set but scuppered my desire to see whether he'd become even more lovely than I think I remember he was. Unfortunately I had a very good view of his fringe and the top of his head, with the lighting reflecting off his guitar, putting his face into deep shade. He played a good set despite the dodgy electrics and eventually gave everyone what they want and did 'It's a shame about Ray'. He then shuffled off the stage a little uncermoniously but the DJ cranked up and all was well.
K, K & P went home so I made the effort to dance for a bit. I think I'm a little strange as I really do quite enjoy dancing on my own. Mind you, I like shopping on my own too. And going to the cinema on my own. Fortunately, this does not extend to drinking on my own.
I had a little optical difficulty finding the tent but eventually squished myself onto my self-inflating mattress (not very thick) and wriggled into the sleeping bag (not very long). I slept. Just. I woke up concertinaed into the slope we'd pitched the tent onto as expected.
I had the most expensive cup of tea I've ever had: £15.99 for the stove, £2.35 for the butane canister makes a total of £18.34. Bargain! There was a tricky moment when the stove wouldn't light but I got the hang of it eventually.
Camping is just, so, well, horizontal. I really don't think a person of my stature and age should wriggle on the floor while getting dressed. I need to be able to see what I've put on and adjust accordingly. I was envious all weekend of the effortless dressing of almost every other person at the festival. How do these people make it look, well, so gorgeous? I could do several posts on the fabulousness of the outfits I witnessed although there were some 'try to hard, look at me, I'm at a festival' outfits but that's OK. If you can't look a bit of twerp in a field at the beginning of the summer holidays, when can you?
Saturday was a fantastic day - sunny, chilled, great speakers. I met dovegreyreader and said hi. I was thrilled to be quoted in her talk and her snippets from school reports were very entertaining. I wanted to get my crochet out and have a proper sit down and a natter but it didn't work out that way this time. Maybe sometime else.
Jung Chang was just amazing. I was dying to ask where her skirt was made in the Q&A but I suspect that might have seemed shallow. I tripped over her when exiting Rosie Boycott's Q&A on the way back down to find K, K & P. Not very elegant but I was wearing my favourite maxi-dress. I think I should have opted for shoes, not flip-flops. Floor length dresses and flip-flops are quite a health and safety hazard.
Saturday night, we danced at 'the shitty little disco'. I can't even begin to explain that one and ate nuts and mini-poppadoms on the hill overlooking the house. We caught the last five minutes of Edwyn Collins, all of Louis Eliot and the fantastic Magic Numbers who get my vote for 'most entertaining' band of the festival. Lots of jumpy, arm-waving dancing - just up my street.
K&P went home to the babysitter and K & I sought out British Sea Power and a chicken fajita by the boathouse. After a couple of hours dancing (K looked amazing in her vintage 60s, pucci-style dress) we called it a night.
In bed by 3 and 5 hours later, I was back up walking back to the festival to load up the car and drive home. It was raining and it was time to get back to our nearest and dearest. The thought of soggy festival going with a slight prospect of a small headache and a 3 and a half hour drive was not a pleasant one. Sometimes you just need to know when to leave the party!
So...that was the weekend. There will be photos but not until I get back from my next trip.
See you Friday.