12 July 2009 (Sunday) - Brighton Kite Festival

Another sleepless night. Not only rain, but wind too. Having lain awake listening to the banners flapping for an hour, I got up at 3am to take them down. I went back to bed, but didn’t sleep, and again at 5am was walking down the slope to have my morning ablutions. In the middle of the field was a duvet. I suppose there are several valid reasons why one would leave a duvet in a field. I decided it wasn’t my problem, and left it there. It turned out that it had been used for second base in the rounders match, and no one had got around to clearing it up yet.

Whilst waiting for brekkie, an entertaining five minutes was spent watching “mollusc wars” in which Lisa was fighting a slug against a snail. Unfortunately for popular entertainment, the invertebrates weren’t having any of it, and both just slimed away. And then the sun came out. We watched people flying kites as we scoffed out brekkie, and then set up the girls stall.

Seeing as the weather was against us yesterday, we didn’t bother, but the plan was to do face painting, flog candles, that sort of thing. The girls chose a good spot just where all the normal people would be crossing from one field to another. And we set up there. The wind was just a tad too strong, though. We decided to take the gazebo down – you can’t run a stall when you are desperately clinging to the gazebo to stop it blowing away.

With the girls ensconced on their stall, we went to get replacement poles. Some of the banner poles have seen better days, and some are just plain broken. We bought three new poles, and put them up to check they were OK. Two were fine. One wouldn’t come down again. Two of its sections had fused together. We had this idea to lubricate them with cooking oil. It was as well that we had plenty in the mess tent, but no matter how liberally we applied the stuff, we couldn’t separate the poles. Eventually we wondered if we shouldn’t take the broken bit back to the shop, but on reflection we decided that filling the thing with cooking oil had probably invalidated any guarantees that the shop might have offered. In the end we replaced the broken section in the new poles with a functional segment from a knacked pole. Not ideal, but it will do the job. Hopefully.

A bag of crisps for dinner, and leaving some of our crew fast asleep for the afternoon, I set off back to the kiddies workshop. With the better weather we had a queue of children all afternoon. The event was only marred by “Thugbert”, a particularly nasty example of the worst of humanity. His dog (which probably should have been muzzled) peed up the tent, and “Thugbert” could see no problem with it. I saw the twit later in the afternoon, who was ranting at anyone and everyone about the incident. Apparently he would have done something about the dog if the people running the festival had “shown him respect”. He then started screaming abuse at the world in general because an insect had flown into his beer.

Having helped the now sunburned girlie-types take their stall down, we volunteered to help tidy away after the festival. We were charged with gathering up eight wheelie-bins, and with lugging a generator across the field. A minor hiccup was that every gate we met was closed and guarded to keep pikeys out. This tended to interrupt the momentum, but then, sometimes momentum is best interrupted.

Back to camp where, with the better weather, we had more success with the fire pit. After a smashing bit of scoff we stood around the fire as the light failed, drinking beer and port, and scoffing two year old pickled eggs. (I’m quite pleased with how the eggs have turned out.) I learned that foxes don’t have opposable thumbs, and that earlier in the day the RSPCA had been selling dead dogs at Asda. (I’m sure that’s what she said...)

And then I noticed something odd on the main road. A dozen vans towing caravans had parked up, and the occupants were eying our camp site. Pikeys!! Our fire had turned out to be a pikey-magnet. In the end the travellers drove off elsewhere, but there was an exciting twenty minutes or so whist we waited in anticipation for… I’m not quite sure what we were expecting, but in the end we were disappointed.

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