11 July 2009 (Saturday) - In a Field, In the Rain

I got to bed shortly after midnight, and despite having had over a gallon of ale and a lot of port, I slept very restlessly, waking at least once every hour. Having lain awake listening to the rain for what felt like ages, I wandered down to the shower block for my morning shave shortly after 5am. It was as well that I did – I was able to pull all of the broccoli out of the plug hole that we’d left there from the night before.

Back to bed, and just as I finally dozed off around 8am, so Batty arrived with a suitcase full of Lisa’s smalls. He also wanted brekkie, Which was understandable. I wanted brekkie too. A sterling bit of scoff was devoured, and then after washing up, I went for a look round the festival. This year there were a lot more people camping than last, but I think there were perhaps less stalls. Which is probably for the best – I’m a sucker for buying stuff. In the past I’ve spent hundreds of pounds at Brighton kite festival. This year I kept it under a tenner.

There was a rather odd feeling to the morning. It was intermittently raining (which is never a good thing), and a sizeable proportion of the campers had gone off to a wedding. Two of the regulars had decided that Brighton kite festival is a really major part of their lives. I can understand that – it is for me too. But for them they felt it would be quite apt to get married whist at the festival. So for an hour or so there was a vague aura of anticipation, waiting for everyone to return so the festival could continue.

I scoffed a quick sarnie, and then I was on duty. I’d volunteered to help in the kiddies’ workshop where children (under expert (!) supervision) make their own kites from recycled bamboo canes and carrier bags, and then fly them into nearby trees. Despite the incessant rain, we had a constant stream of children wanting to make kites. In fact, after two hours we had to turn people away.

As I was wandering back over the kite field I had quite a shock. Someone hit me whilst I wasn’t looking. As I flew backwards, I was quite upset that someone would clobber me rather than have a discrete word. As I scraped myself off the floor, I saw the wreckage of a fellow kiter also laid out. It transpired that as I’d been walking across the field I wasn’t looking where I was going and I was waving at an old mate. Someone else also wasn’t looking where he was going, and was running backwards with his kite. I’m told by those who saw us collide that the entire episode was really fun to watch. I’m afraid my gob would disagree, and Bow’s back was bad all weekend after the impact.

So we retreated back to camp. The rain by now had slackened off to a medium monsoon and with all kite related activity unfortunately abandoned we started on the beer at 3.15pm. We did have an invitation to join the wedding party for a game of rounders, but it looked rather too wet for that. We decided to stick to what we knew best. As well as the five gallons of ale I’d brought along, Terry had brought over four gallons and Paul very kindly gave us a gallon as well. Those of us with hair had it platted. Those without put their bums through other people’s chairs. We came up with a dozen uses for a cheap Asda plastic poncho, the most important being a shelter under which the girlies could tiddle – our “turdis” had broken at some point. I had a really good afternoon, despite being intermittently dripped upon. The communal mess tent has sprung a leak. I must fix that at some point.

After a smashing bit of curry for tea, and the obligatory washing up, Dave & Tracy came to visit. There is a limit to how long one can hide from the rain, and I had spent all that time yesterday collecting firewood. So we had a go with the fire pit. It took some doing – fire lighting isn’t easy with wood that’s been sitting in the rain for a day, but we got it alight. Eventually.

To bed shortly after midnight – I woke up in the communal tent to find everyone else had gone to bed and left me sitting there, fast asleep….

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