Tuesday, 30 June 2009

If I'M too old for this - how about Status Quo??

Do you remember how two years ago I went to Glastonbury, and how it poured down with rain constantly? And how I spent the whole weekend smothered in mud, soaked to the skin, in a waterproof jacket that clearly wasn't? And how the whole fabulous experience left me with a stinking cold, vowing solemnly never to go again?? No, me neither.

Which is how I allowed my cousin Annie (a Glasto veteran -84, 86, 95, 97, 98, 99, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 and now 2009) to talk me into getting a ticket again this year, and going along with her, and her niece Claire (who comes all the way over from AUSTRALIA just to get to wet and muddy). I did, however, draw the line at going for the full five days, so on Thursday I took a leisurely drive down to Wiltshire, in glorious sunshine, thinking how great an experience it was going to be with good weather.

I was however, slightly perturbed by the text messages I was getting from people already on site, talking about thunder, lightning, heavy rain. Oh, I thought, I'm so glad I 've booked myself a room at a nearby Travelodge. No, hang on, don't accuse me of cheating - I haven't finished yet!

Anyway, after a decent night's sleep in a comfy bed, with a proper bathroom, I got up in an optimistic mood, as I was now being told the sun was shining in Glastonbury. I packed up ready to go, full of enthusiasm for the weekend ahead, only to receive subsequent updates on the weather - "It's started raining again", "It's pouring now" and even "It's like the Somme here!" By this time it's now raining in Warminster too, so having got soaked on the way to the car park, I gritted my teeth and continued my journey. I had a hell of a job getting into the car park, cars were skidding all over the place in the mud, and having parked, I then sat in the car for nearly an hour, waiting for it to ease off a bit, so I could get me and my stuff from the car park to the tent. By 11am the rain had subsided to a steady drizzle, so I heaved on my rucksack (I don't do packing-lite) and made my way down to meet Annie, along with the other new arrivals.Good job Annie came to meet me at the gate - I'm not sure I'd have been able to pick out our tents without her guidance - they do pack 'em in .......

Anyway, that was it - I'd heard on the news that the sun was expected to come out by the afternoon - and it DID! Unfortunately, the overnight rain had been enough to make everywhere very muddy, so although the sun was out we still had to wear wellies. (do you have any idea how warm wellingtons are in a heatwave??) But, that aside, it was an absolutely brilliant weekend. Here's Annie and Claire proving that the sun shone -
If you haven't ever been (and if you heard me two years ago, who could blame you?) the site is vast - But it is brilliant place for 'people watching'. What exactly is it that makes a group of blokes say "I've had an idea, lets go to Glastonbury dressed as bananas this year, boys"? Oh, that'll be beer I suppose.
Hang on, I think you've left one behind - but then maybe he's with a different bunch.
Then there's posh frocks and wellies -

And wings .....

And then there's the sunsets ....But mostly it's the music. The three of us have different musical tastes, so we didn't stick together all the time - on Friday I saw the Rumblestrips in the John Peel tent, then The Maccabees, and The View on the Other stage, Fleet Foxes and the Specials on the Pyramid stage, and then off to the Acoustic tent, where I saw the end of Fairport Convention

But I was really there to see my hero - Ray Davies. I managed to get right to the front, leaning on the barrier in front of the stage. I first saw him with the Kinks, in Boscombe near Bournemouth, when I was about 17 - and I've loved him ever since. (I'm nothing if not loyal). He was brilliant, sang a great mix of Kinks songs and his solo work. And my loyalty and adoration paid off, because, if I'm not mistaken, he was singing JUST to me at one point .....He might be old enough for a bus pass, but then I'm not 17 anymore either. No, honestly - I'm not! So, that was Friday, and after a surprisingly good night's sleep (I took the precaution of wearing earplugs to get to sleep), I woke up to another beautiful sunny day.I watched The Eagles of Death Metal who were great, followed by Spinal Tap. They were joined on stage by Jamie Cullum playing the piano, and then Jarvis Cocker who played bass for them. After that we had a wander around the site - and a browse in the 'shops' - I liked this one (but I don't think it was a REAL M&S)

I'm not sure if this is the 'banana' boys in their Saturday outfits, or another group entirely -I spotted this on the way round to the John Peel tent .... to see Hockey and The Gaslight Anthem. Since I first heard them I thought that Gaslight Anthem were a bit 'Springsteen-y" and seems I wasn't wrong (am I ever?) because halfway through their set, who came on to gig with them, but The Boss himself. A big cheer went up from the crowd, and everyone was clapping - except for a group of youngsters in front of me who were asking one another who it was. When I said "It's Bruce Springsteen" they said "Oh, he doesn't look old enough!" I pointed out that some of us are wearing well for our age.
That evening, amongst about 150 thousand others, I saw Kasabian, followed by Bruce Springsteen, both of whom were excellent. Springsteen went over the midnight curfew by a few minutes, but I think if they hadn't stopped him he'd have gone on for hours. Apparently the curfew is in place because of local residents - but I wonder why you'd buy a house next to the Glastonbury site if you didn't like music?
Another night in a tent, another set of earplugs, and woke up Sunday morning to an overcast but humid day.
I started off at the Pyramid stage for Status Quo - with Francis Rossi minus ponytail - who'd have thought it?Spot the lady doing the classic 'Quo' dance ...I'd decided that I was definitely going home on Sunday night, so Annie and I packed up our stuff and one of the tents and took it all up to the car park . By the time we got back it was time for me to walk around to the Acoustic tent to see Imelda May. I was looking forward to this, as I'd not seen her live before, but I'd bought the 'Love Tattoo' album after seeing her on 'Later with Jools Holland' one night. It's a mix of rockabilly & blues, with a bit of skiffle thrown in. I don't know how a tiny little Irish girl can belt out songs the way she does. She finished with a cover of Soft Cell's 'Tainted Love' which was brilliant.Then I had a bit of a wander, while listening to Madness playing in the background, then up to the Green Fields where I saw these unicorns on stilts. No really, I did ....Then back to the tent for a sit for half an hour, and then off to see Nick Cave on the Pyramid Stage. I'm a big fan, but I'm not sure that putting him on the Pyramid stage between Madness and Blur was such a great idea. Anyway, much as I'd have liked to stick around and see Blur, I knew it would be a nightmare getting out of the car park at midnight (never mind actually FINDING my car in the dark) so I decided to leave at 9pm. All the reviews indicate that I missed a great Blur performance, but I got off the site with no hold ups, had a great journey back, was home by 12.30, and in work by 10am on Monday - much to everyone's surprise. Which in turn, meant I don't have to work on Wednesday, which is good, because it's my birthday. And I'm not telling you which one - that's between me and Ray (if he can remember which year the Kinks played Boscombe, when I was 17)

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Bring on the Marching Bands!

My friend Holloway Jane came over on Friday (and no, before you ask, she just lives in Holloway, she's not an inmate on day release) Actually, she doesn't call herself Holloway Jane, it's just a way to differentiate between her and my other friend Jane, who doesn't live in Holloway. Anyway, we had a lovely day - we had a walk along the river to Ware - with Jane making the inevitable "Where? Ware?" comment that all visitors to the area seem obliged to make (Oh, how we laughed!) Anyway, we had a very nice lunch in The Vine, which I seem to remember used to be a grotty pub but is now a very nice Gastro pub/restaurant, where I had possibly the best Chicken Caesar salad I've ever had (and I am a bit of a connoisseur when it comes to a Chicken Caesar). Then we went in ALL the charity shops and picked up some bargains, including this little bunny that Jane couldn't leave behind. And of course, by the time we finally got to the other end of the High Street, we had to stop for coffee and cake.Then on Saturday I worked at Art Van Go so that Viv could go off to a wedding - Jenny, one of the girls at the shop got married to Simon at Ashwell (where Simon is the vicar) - hopefully, more of that later on AVG's blog - if Viv sends me the photos!
On Sunday, it being Father's Day, my sister and brother in law came down with my Mum and Dad, and we all went to the Haileybury College Military Tattoo, which was in aid of the Army Benevolent Fund. First were the Royal British Legion Youth Band, Brentwood who were excellent - the youngest was only eight years old. Seems to me it's a real achievement to play an instrument, never mind reading music whilst marching up and down at the same time, AND in front of an audience. The sky looked a bit ominous, but it passed over and it was a lovely sunny afternoon and evening.Next was the Harpenden Pipe Band. I don't know if you can see it, but if you zoom in, the guy at the back, with the drum, obviously missed his cue, or was caught short, or maybe forgot his drum, because the rest of them had marched out and he came running along behind a few minutes later. You can see the two soldiers by the door to the right having a good laugh!

Then it was the turn of the Band of the Blues and Royals who looked immaculate, and played a really varied selection of tunes. Then all the bands came on together, joined by the standard bearers.
It was a great afternoon, enjoyed by about 600, and given that it was such a lovely day I'm surprised there weren't even more.
Not my usual kind of music, I know, but I'll be addressing that shortly!

Monday, 8 June 2009


I won a prize!!!! I was lucky enough to be picked out of the hat for the prize given by Fan My Flame on the occasion of her 300th post. Gina also happens to be my lovely, talented and inspirational tutor on the Machine Embroidery City and Guilds course I'm doing at Studio 39. The parcel arrived today, and it was so beautifully wrapped, I was loathe to open it. But in the end, I couldn't contain myself ..... and inside was this gorgeous handmade book with a machine embroidered cover! And as if that wasn't enough , there was another package tucked inside the pages of the book. Again, beautifully wrapped, and inside this parcel was .............................Chocolate!!! Thank you so much Gina, it's a wonderful generous present and I'll treasure it. Well, maybe not the chocolate. I'll probably save that for a special occasion. Like a wet Wednesday evening in June. Oh, that'll be tonight then!I had another surprise today. I've got a phormium (or is it a cordyline) growing in my garden. As I was looking out of the window today, I noticed a large stem coming out of the centre, with what appears to be buds on it. Do they flower?? I can't wait to see what happens to it, I'll keep you posted. (Well, that's going to keep you all awake at night, bursting with excitement, isn't it?) I had to go up to London last Monday, and as the sun was shining, rather than travel all the way on the luxury mode of transport that is the London Underground, I got off a couple of stops early and had a walk through St James Park. I stopped to take another picture of my favourite view ...

and then I turned around and took a picture from the same bridge, in the opposite direction. I don't know who lives in that big place at the end but they must have a few bob. Imagine what the council tax is on a property that size in central London.On Wednesday, the aforementioned Gina took the envelopes we had made at the previous class. They were made from calico, bonded to vilene, then we stitched our names and addresses on the front. We machine embroidered onto water soluble fabric, washed that out, and then laminated the result, which went into the envelope. Then we just added a stamp, and 'teacher' posted them back to us. Anyway, mine arrived in the post the following day - how clever are we and Royal Mail. Big thanks to my postman. Last Friday we had a silk painting day at my friend Val's. We used steam fix paints in the microwave. The vinegar that you have to add to the mix to fix it makes the kitchen smell a bit, but it's all in the name of art (and it wasn't MY kitchen!) This piece of silk was twisted tightly before adding the dye ....
And this is it after 'cooking' when it was unravelled . Great colours...........
Here are the other results ...It was good fun, and we all came away determined to do some more. And, after all, it's not like my microwave is ever really used for cooking, is it?
And I'm just including a photo of these flowers that Val had in her conservatory, for no other reason than I just love the colour combination.

That's it then, I'm off to put my chocolate somewhere safe where you can't find it.