Thursday, 6 October 2011

Glasto 2011

Its been aggggeeeeeeeeeeees but it’s about time I updated on Glastonbury 2011.

What a fabulous year, even though we were slightly distracted but the fact we had been made homeless a few weeks before and were desperately waiting to hear what was happening with the house we were trying to buy and the inconsiderate tenant who was refusing to move out. However on the bright side of the homeless situation it encouraged us to bring forward our expected purchase of a VW campervan. So we travelled happily down to the festival in our new T25 VW, Beryl.

We stopped off in Lancaster and introduced Beryl to our friends Nin, Doug and Harvey and of course their beautiful VW T25 Honey. We had a fabulous fire side evening with a delicious curry and extravagant strawberry deserts to accompany our stories. While we left Honey & Beryl outside, checking each other out...

The next morning we prepared both the vans and drove onwards to Glastonbury on convoy, Beryl leading the way, struggling up hills and Honey holding the rear, catching us on the hills and waving continually (because the stars we had in the van looked like Murkie’s waving arm apparently)
In honour of my mum Beryl, Beryl the campervan made it all the way to Glastonbury town without any hitches or glitches. We rolled into a campsite a couple of miles from the festival and set up for the night. Nin bought a bottle of bubbly which we cracked open and celebrated for both Beryl’s, for it would have been mums 65th birthday and it was officially our first holiday in Beryl, (even though we had been living in her for weeks)

The next morning we set off happy & excited and reached the country lanes into Glastonbury within minutes and then sat in the queue to get on site for over 2 hours! Didn’t bother me, coz I sat on Beryl’s roof, keeping lookout like a meercat and holding cups of tea in one hand when we had to move like a mascot for the bonnet. Surely a VW mascot would be a woman with a teapot in her hand??
It is the official arrival quote of VW campers surely...“Cup of Tea?” especially annoying to those around you still struggling to put up their tents since you left Scotland. He he
Anyway, much hilarity on the roof, edging forward between chats and making pots of tea in the queue of traffic. By the time we actually got on site, to the sounds of Faithless btw, we were very hyper and not paying enough attention to the lay of the land for parking up Beryl. Honey slotted straight into place, no worries, as she had ‘frontage’ so she would be on the pathway for punters to pass by and clear from the fence, nor needing to be ‘hidden.’ Ourselves...well we had to park up more discreetly behind her, near the fence.

Simply...we rushed the job, the ground was sodden and before we knew it, upon reversing the van closer alongside the fence the ground gave way under our far side wheels and we found Beryl at a 45 degree angle, with a fence holding her up from a long drop into a spiky watery ditch. OOOPS!
There was NOTHING we could do. We tried to get her out, the hippies looked at getting her out but alas, without the help of a tow vehicle or a four wheel drive, which were not allowed on the sacred grounds of the healing field for fear of churning up the site (which it would have) we quickly realised this Glastonbury was going to spent on an angle. This was interesting. Beryl was bending into the ditch!
Poor Murkie, worried sick we would bend the wheels, tried to work out a solution but there was none. The best we could do was jack up the side of the van, use long half tree thick planks to make a platform under the chassis and lower her down to rest on a platform over the ditch. The Glastonbury precipice. It was unmentionable. Everyone else would look and pull faces, eyes wide in amazement. Not us. We could not laugh about it. We had the FEAR. The HORROR. We feared we would wake up one night, with rain spattering the roof and suddenly the clay would give way beneath us and we would be in the ditch, taking the fence with us. As the field filled and other vans and caravans lined the fence, you could stand on the bridge and look down the fence line, perfectly straight; until your eyes reached Beryl...the fence literally bulged around her. Comical now. But not then!

So thankfully we had bought a lot of sticky surface covering with us, so we put it on everything, otherwise all our cups, teapots, plates would roll down to the back corner of the van. Our bed was set up the wrong way round and I slept hugging the cupboard in a foetal position! However it did challenge our gravity awareness when we were slightly worse for wear and one advantage was that the angle was so bad you could stand at Beryl’s door and stand up and survey the surroundings. Usually you cannot do this without stepping out of the van, or crouching to see under the door ledge. But not at this angle.

We had an excellent first night, with the troupes turning up and all of us pitching in with bringing equipment across the fields with wheel barrows, (no other vehicles were aloud on the field as it was so wet.) we helped Nin set up her gazebo on the front of Honey, with her numerous additions of large pretty flowers and fairy lights. It was the most spectacular bit of frontage on the whole pathway. And it gave us all somewhere to sit and enjoy the sights of an ever increasing site.

The next day we got to work with decorating our star gate. This year’s theme took on a world of weave effect. It was beautiful and it was colourful. The weave effect sent us all a bit weird and we weaved off in many directions for the rest of the weekend! Once finished the gate was woven in fantastic colours, and adorned with stars. It was truly a colourful entrance to be proud of.
Once all our hard work was finished we continued to enjoy the good company of the crews around Honey and Beryl while we partied away the hours, traipsing from field to field. We saw some amazing works of art in other areas, including a beautiful hanging pod garden with pond, a wooden wave in Greenpeace, their theme this year was the oceans and very good is was too, complete with sharks fin in the mud and elsewhere we discovered the largest game of twister!

Although the land was incredibly muddy for the first few days, once the weekend arrived the sun shone so hard it hurt! We went out in our best dresses, longest lashes and twirling our sun parasols.

Bands we saw? In order of brilliance (according to me) Pendulum, U2 (although Bono’s ego was incredibly annoying, they pumped out the anthems and kept everyone happy in the torrential Friday night rain), Chemical Brothers, Hard-Fi, Plan B, The Wombats and Paul Simon was awful.
As usual we loved Arcadia, trash city and Shagri-la the most and found ourselves repeatedly gyrating back to this crazy intense psychotic part of the festival so big now and so popular after the main stages have shut that they have had to create a one way system for it! One way I tell Glastonbury! But what a place! Ginormous tripod flame throwing DJ booths, inner city buildings with trains and cars sticking out of them, confusing tunnels of indoor clubs and sexy sultry goings on. Many places to lose yourself and many faces to lose.

Murkie and I spent a few hours there after U2. Me desperately trying to dry off and loose on the pounds of excess weight I had gained by being idiotic enough to wear all woollen protection from the torrential rain that evening. My hat, jumper and poncho became so water laden and heavy that eventually, at about 2am I could long longer hold up its weight. I was struggling to dance even though the flame thrower was warming my threads and steam arose rapidly from my fancy foot treads. Murkie was making me laugh with his happy moving and a grooving, all in his light weight weather gear, looking as skinny Minnie and attractive as ever... but it was not good, I was just too woollen and wet.
We went back to Beryl and I changed into another dry outfit. We prepared a huge travel mug of hot chocolate heavily laced with Southern Comfort and went back to Shangri-La! We danced until day light and a little beyond. Shaking and sharing our mug of hot chocolate and having a great time. Pete in his five hats. Me unable to blink because of my huge eyelashes weighting me down. That morning, when I did blink, I had some of the longest blinks of my lifetime. The surroundings changed considerably my eyes were shut for so long. At first it was quite an amusing, yet slightly shocking sensation, then it became more like “WOAH!” (grab Murkie's arm and sway about a lot. I kept saying (forgetting it was the fault of the eyelashes and both the laced hot chocolate) don’t blink Murkie!’s a new world when you open your eyes! To which point he promptly kept reminding me in his five hat native Indian wide eyed dancing Lou...that’s just you. Eventually we pulled off the eye lashes! And normal blinking could resume.

We crashed in our wonky, over the edge van, as everyone else was rising for work. It was a great fun night. My favourite night.

We put more flowers in the water garden again, in memory of mum. And sat in there for a little while. And we met lots of nice people this year. Wandered aimlessly admiring other people’s crazy ideas and creations.

We had some hilarious moments with Nin and her shop like set up on our side of her van. As her sliding door and frontage onto the main pathway was set away from us, she would sit in her driver’s seat, with the window down and chat with us, share drinks and pass food through to us. It really felt like a shop front and we talked on many occasions about making her a shelf and canopy. In fact some days she would write a sign and pop it in the window...tea ready in open soon. It was really very silly but great fun.

Sadly, great festivals come to an end and Glastonbury did as ever with sadness but exhaustion. Honey and Nin were packed up on the Monday and away in no time. We were jealous. However we had three more days before we needed to be back in Scotland. We had no home to go to. So the open road on the way back north was ours to traverse as we decided. But we did want off site quickly.

However there was the predicament of our tricky parked position, the fact that there were still people camped in front of us, and the issue of finding an AA man.
Well THAT part was easy. As Murkie and I trundled off to find the Glastonbury AA compound...there was a yellow van! Sitting right on our crossroads. What a nice man! We just had to phone in the location to the special Glasto AA hot line. Which was a weird conversation...yes we are in the healing field which is up through the Greenpeace fields, under the big flower archway, turn right near the yellow and blue therapy tent, and drive around the fire garden and if you reach the white angel head you have gone too far! When I saw that yellow AA 4by4 truck trundling up the hill towards us I was soooo excited, I clapped like a seal and whoop whooped like a gibbon.

They drive right over to Beryl and before we could catch up on foot they had her hooked up to a tow winch and pulled out of the ditch. But then they drove her around the sacred water garden, trying to get her started. The drove her round and round, churning the grass, making lots of noise and eventually withy Beryl coughing and spluttering fumes all about her. The hippies across the whole field stood up in unison, in disgust like fucking Meercats and scowled at the goings on with the AA. We promptly thanked them and thanked them, whilst apologising to nearby hippies about the smoke. Oh well. And to add insult to injury we were unable to cheerfully beep beep our farewell coz Beryl’s horn doesn’t work. It did make us chuckle though. All the way to Cheddar Gorge.

Which isn’t far from Glastonbury but was far enough to get away from the dirt and checked into a camp site with a flat loading bay and a nice shower block. Bliss. Happy as larry with a million memories of shits n giggles we then slept forever. Here ended Glasto 2011.

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