Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Clean Up In Aisle 5

After Harriet and I spending the majority of our recent lives readying her shop for opening, we decided we needed a day off and possibly a spot of retail therapy.
By retail therapy I mean a desperate hunt for hair dye in order to address the inches of roots on my noggin in a shade I dislike.
So there we are, having a brief wander around the delights of the local JTF warehouse. I have tracked down the necessary bleaching agents for my locks and we're browsing. Harriet wanders off to look at toys, I glance at the trolley and there's a gaping hole where my handbag should be.
Both hands fly to my face. I am completely frozen as the thoughts run through my head, "my car keys are in there", "all my money is in there", "how will I get home", "how will I get in my home", etc., etc.
I managed to emit a strangled "Harriet" whilst obviously looking like I'm about to pass out.
She dashes over (as well as a woman with a week left till she brings forth a child into the world can dash).

I'm not sure I've blinked and manage a sort of quiet wail of "my bag's gone". She immediately starts to walk away, before turning back and ordering me to start walking up and down the aisles to look for it.
I did a dance not unlike that which accompanies desperation for the toilet. For some reason panic totally disrupts any kind of thought process and the decision of whether to head left or right to begin my search seemed impossible.
I finally began my slow walk down the aisles.
A tannoy noise sounded, my imagination let me believe they were going to issue some sort of code word for 'thief in store'. But they just called a member of staff to the barrier. Quite disappointing and not the red alert I'd imagined.

Several aisles later, more thoughts of "how will I get Harriet home? She's too pregnant to walk!" and "oh my god the keys to everything are in that bag" and there sits my bag on a shelf. Waiting patiently. Just where I'd placed in order to partially scale the shelving in order to reach something too high up.
Ah how clear your memory is after the fact.
I rang Harriet. I explained the fact I am a twat and she came on back to me where I stood shamefaced and more than a little covered in a film of cold sweat.
She suggested that we go sit down and get a drink.
I suggested I go to the loo as I was either going to wet myself or throw up.
Equally pleasing events for a day out.
She then tells me that the tannoy announcement that asked for someone to do the barrier was the red alert I'd imagined.
They'd closed the barrier meaning no one could exit the premises.
So even though I'm clearly an idiot, it was a little bit exciting causing havoc.
But I promise to try and control myself, and my handbags, in future.
Well at least for this week.
Or tomorrow.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

More Wild Dreams

The past couple of weeks I've spent a huge amount of time at my friend Harriet's new shop. It opens on Tuesday and we've all been really pulling out all the stops to get it ready in time. It's involved me catching up on all of her paperwork and the like for her and my goodness there was a lot of it. All I've wanted to do is sleep!
I also hurt my foot. Well, rather I hurt my foot way back in June whilst leaping around at a festival. Following that with more leaping about in July at another festival didn't really help matters. Then a couple of weeks ago I went to a ceilidh. I danced a fair bit and by the end of the night I knew my foot was displeased with the galloping around the room.
As it had been nearly three months, I figured it was about time to get some medical advice (well, you don't want to rush these things), I had an x-ray, it's not broken so I have spent all my evenings resting it. And using a lot of ibuprofen gel every day. It's SO rock and roll.
When I went up to the x-ray department the receptionist motioned for me to take a seat, now we all know this is the point you make a vital decision. Who is going to make the least annoying neighbour?
I sat down, leaving the obligatory spare seat between myself and the gentleman to my right. At this point I am reminded how short I am when I realise that, once seated, I can no longer touch the floor, so my legs swing like I'm a toddler. I then realise I can hear the thud, thud, thud of a repetitive bassline. I had not chosen wisely in my neighbour.
He is listening to his thudding through only one earphone, broadcasting to the waiting room through the other. I sit and calmly consider ways of causing him pain or at least making him go away with his thudding. Then he leans towards me, points at my arm and says "that's a really nice tattoo".

Damn it.
Now I feel guilty for being mean about him in my head.
I felt even worse when the nurse came out and said to him (rather too loudly), "come and put on this gown, we'll need you to drop your shorts."

Anyway, on to the title of this post. I've mentioned regularly that I have some superbly weird dreams, but I think I might have excelled myself this time.


Some of the details have become a little blurry so forgive my jumping all over.
I'm at this house, I don't know who owns the house, but there's some sort of get together. The parents of my friend Harriet are there and suddenly a young woman collapses. Harriet's Mum decides that she needs to use those paddles you use to restart a heart - the name of which is really frustratingly evading me. Anyway, these aren't in evidence so her Mum decides to fashion some out of a pair of barbecue spatula things. (See, I said my dreams were nuts.) For some reason only one end could be a spatula and she sharpened the other to a point. Also, instead of needing a voltage, they needed heat, so she put them in a fire until they were incredibly hot. When she applied them it got a little gory - which is weird as I never watch horror - the flesh sort of burned off and I could see the heart.

I have no memory of whether the girl recovered or not!
But, it was somehow discovered that she'd collapsed because Harriet's parents were secretly evil geniuses and had been giving people this drink which made them split in two, whilst also remaining whole so that they were identical twins, but with only one heart between them.
Seriously, I would love a dream expert to tell me what the hell that means.
But wait, there's more...
In one of those dream jumps that you do to a totally different time, I was inside the house and watching a movie, even though it wasn't my house, when I realised something was going on outside. I snuck out and hid behind a bush whilst I watched Brad Pitt (!) and some friends standing on the lawn trying to come up with a plan to beat Harriet's parents!

At this point my friend Pete rode up on his motorbike and I went into a major panic because I wasn't supposed to be in his house and was really worried he'd be cross.
What in the hell?!

He doesn't even have a house! He's emigrating to New Zealand in a matter of a couple of weeks.
I never found out if Brad Pitt managed to overcome Harriet's parents, but I anticipate a Hollywood happy ending would have come along if my alarm hadn't prevented it.

Tonight I should like to dream about cuddly bunnies. And daisies. Or maybe cuddly bunnies eating daisies...

Monday, 31 August 2009

West Keal & Old Bolingbroke

On Saturday Rachael and I headed out for a spot of walking, just a bit over six miles, although I firmly believe that you get extra credit for walking uphill!
Or maybe the bonus for walking uphill is getting to see the stunning views. Never let it be said that Lincolnshire is really flat.

We started off at West Keal, although were somewhat unnerved to discover that it wasn't even on the map. I made the fairly safe assumption that if we headed to East Keal (which was on the map) that West Keal couldn't be too far away!
I love old churches, I just do, although I'm sure these little gargoyle fellows were crossed with owls.
I'm such a sucker for old things even the lantern looked pretty to me.
I think my camera favours bad weather though, it's somehow managed to make it look stormy out there and although it was pretty windy on occasion, it was a lovely warm day and not in the least stormy, don't believe the grey clouds!
We had ourselves a picnic lunch with this view:
I'll admit it doesn't really look that impressive, but this is Bolingbroke Castle, the birthplace of King Henry IV and to be fair, I'd be fairly ruined if I'd been created in 1220.
However, the walls are carved with the name of a different King:

I like to believe that I can really imagine how it was when this was all moat, when they got to pull up the drawbridge and keep out those damned marauding invaders.

Is it just me or does anyone else find those vintage petrol pumps really attractive? I have no idea what it is, I just really love them. At least I don't have room to start collecting them...
The Wolds are an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Goes without saying really doesn't it?
Okay, so I love vintage petrol pumps and I love tree stumps.
This walk marked the virgin expedition of my foraging bag, superbly created by my Mum so that I could collect fruits and nuts easily. It swings over my shoulder, sits on my hip and I can slip all my bounty in there and carry it off home with me.
As we walked I spotted a lovely little apple tree on the side of the road. The apples were quite small but I decided that they looked so good I had to risk it.
I did the gentle lift and twist and they came away in my hand, ripe and ready.
However, aforementioned tree was at the top of a gentle slope populated with nettles, I was scarcely balanced, holding one end of a branch as I picked a few apples. I had not chosen well, the branch I was relying on for support was past its best and decided to leave the rest of the tree. Or rather the twig part I was holding on to gave up and headed for greener pastures, trying to encourage me to join it.
I did that classic arm windmill in a desperate effort not to become one with the nettles, regained my balance, glanced at Rachael and decided that maybe it was time to move on and leave the rest of the apples just where they were.
See how shiny and red it is though?
See how easy it was to be tempted?


For me, the nicest thing about a good walk is when you get to the end and you're not ready to fall over, when you feel invigorated. You've seen the countryside. You've seen it up close, picking those nuts and fruits and you've seen it far off in the distance when the skies are clear, the sun is shining and you can see for miles and miles.
I've realised I'm not a group walker, I want to walk at my own pace, sometimes quickly and sometimes just sauntering along, looking at the butterflies, flowers, grasshoppers and trees. I want to sit on the hillside, eat an apple I picked just moments ago and appreciate the beauty of where I am.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Peppers

As I've been getting into growing my own vegetables this year, Mum gave me a gift of two boxes; one contained compost and tomato seed, the other more compost and pepper seeds.
I duly planted them and small plants grew.
I've happily eaten the tomatoes that have grown like mad in my conservatory and the peppers appear to be reaching the point where they're starting to ripen.
They're called Bolivian Rainbow and the peppers go all different colours, at the same time, on the plant, thus creating a lovely rainbow effect.
Anyway, I thought one looked as though it might be ready to eat.
I gently plucked it from the plant, held it between thumb and forefinger and gingerly gave it a gentle bite.
I barely broke the skin, in fact to look at it, you wouldn't know I'd bitten it at all.
However, I suddenly got the sensation that I'd stuck my tongue to the inside of an oven that had been heated up to temperatures similar to those seen on the sun.
I ran from the conservatory, heading at speed for the kitchen, all the while bemoaning, out loud, that I'd used up all the milk.

I grabbed the cold water from the fridge, poured a glass, then proceeded to sit with tongue immersed in cold water.

I'm not known for my tolerance for heat in food, I struggle even to eat black pepper. I am incredibly glad all I did was break the skin of the pepper, otherwise I suspect I may have combusted.

I looked it up online, those bell peppers that you slip into salad, maybe add to a stir fry, they have a heat rating of zero. That's zero.
Those Bolivian Rainbow buggers? Six. Six! Holy shit! I was lucky my head didn't come off.
So now I have two plants, each with dozens of peppers that I can't eat.
Still, the tomatoes were nice.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

It's A Soapbox Moment

Yesterday morning Mifford woke me at 3.30am. That would be bad enough, except she woke me up by throwing up. In the bed.
Ah, you have to love having pets.
I thought that surely had to be a bad omen, but actually it wasn't a wholly bad day at all.

Later on when I logged into twitter the number one Trending Topic was "fatpeoplearesexier".

I was immediately suspicious and wondered what sort of piss-take was going on, but was really pleased to see that most of the tweets were positive. People agreeing or relishing something that wasn't negative being said about overweight people.
Obviously there were exceptions. What was refreshing was that they were in the minority.
They were still of the mindset that it's ok to be ignorant and rude.
There's an old saying that if you don't have anything nice to say, then don't say anything at all.
Maybe you shouldn't jump at any opportunity that presents itself to be offensive.
This is lovely "gent" is one such example.
Apparently you have to BE fat to find anyone who IS fat attractive.
I guess those men who are thin and going out with fat women are unable to think for themselves.
But wait, he goes on to say, you can only be sexy IF you're not fat any more. He's a great guy.

Then Miss Cherry Pie steps into the mix. She's ever so funny. See what she did here?
She made a whale joke.
That's one of the funniest things I've ever seen.
It's never been done before.

Oh the originality.
Sigh.

I actually feel a little sorry for them. If you don't have some body - that the media/fashion world has defined as perfect, then you cannot be attractive.
One must be thin to be pretty.
What utter bullshit.
And yet, people like the example below, again, have been brainwashed into believing it to be true.
It's sad to me.

This isn't what defines you.
Your weight doesn't define who you are as a person.
To my mind, your actions define you.
What kind of person thinks it's nice to mock others? For any reason, be it weight, colour, religion, disability, musical preference, whatever major or minor thing.
What kind of person finds outright insults amusing? I just don't get it.
How anyone functions with a mind so small is beyond me.

The vaguely amusing point is that the whole hashtag trending topic thing, started out because of this guy, Shane Dawson, and his video:

The whole point was that he doesn't understand why people are mean and narrow minded. As if to prove the exact thing this guy is talking about people have to jump on, what they assume to be, an offensive bandwagon but in the process make themselves look foolish.

While I'm on the soapbox...

I drove home from town last night, the traffic was nose to tail as we moved through traffic lights and I spotted in my wing mirror a large van driving quickly up to the merging point. All other cars were in the inside lane as there was clearly no room to overtake anyone. This van got his nose just in front of my car, indicated and pushed his way in, forcing me to literally stand on my brakes to avoid a collision. I may have gesticulated in anger, just a little.
A moment or two later the road bears to the left, it's a pretty serious bend, you can't see beyond it.
The van? It has decided the appropriate road placement is in the other carriageway, directly facing any possible oncoming traffic. Not just nosing over the line, hell no, his entire vehicle in the oncoming lane. I like to talk to myself and yelled "that's a bend you idiot!" Once clear of the bend he overtakes, I suspect there was just enough room, I also suspect that the car in that lane had to brake rather to allow the van time to make its pass.
I travelled along, at the speed limit, watching this van accelerate away from me, clearly breaking the speed limits.
I felt that satisfaction that every road user feels when I realised he was stuck behind some slower moving traffic with no chance of overtaking.
However, a few minutes later there is a very brief short stretch of road, before a sharp right hand bend. He chose this spot to overtake, rather brilliantly this is also where a large, bright red sign has been erected, warning about the dangers of this road.
My route from home to town is known as a red route, it denotes a dangerous road, this year it would probably average out to nearly a death a week on that road.
This guy is driving dangerously, endangering the rest of us.
You know the worst part?
Guess what it said on the back of the van?

POLICE. COLLISION INVESTIGATION.

I'm composing a letter of complaint to the Chief Constable later today.
That's actually not my nature, but seriously, if we can't get away with driving like that, why in the hell should they?
Especially when there are no sirens and no flashing lights.
Were it an emergency we'd all have let him pass, I just object to him being the one in danger of causing the emergency.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Batter vs Pastry

This is a totally random debate that has been raging for weeks and weeks now, amongst my family, friends and random strangers that get drawn into it.

So the question is: Which is the better food, batter or pastry?

Both can be sweet and savoury.
Both work as starters, mains and desserts.

Batter brings us pancakes. Maybe you like a crepe with a banana and chocolate filling or perhaps a cheesy roasted vegetable filling. What about Yorkshire pudding? Toad in the hole? Then of course there's the batter that goes around the fish in our wonderful English fish & chip shops. Weirdly I miss the batter, not the fish, as a vegetarian. Although I suppose you can still get that batter on a Mars Bar, I've never tried that and I intend never to try it. Tempura batter is another one...

But pastry opens the world of quiches. Banoffee pie.
There's shortcrust, filo, choux and puff. I adore a pie made with puff pastry and I would hate to have a life without chocolate eclairs. I made these superb feta and spinach filo triangles a while ago and they were delicious!

Now it's time to help answer this (very important) question:

So, which gets your vote? Batter or Pastry?
Batter?
Pastry?
pollcode.com free polls

Friday, 21 August 2009

Song Of The Week LXIV

I haven't had a song since I posted the Michael Jackson one, which wasn't intentional, I haven't been inspired I guess.
Then this one has been used in a relatively frequently played advert and each time I've found myself singing along.
It's funny, I've had it in my mp3 collection for ages, years maybe but I never really heard the lyrics, or rather never properly listened, but it's just beautiful.

Bright Eyes - First Day of My Life:

Saturday, 15 August 2009

More Books

I updated my Books, Books, Books post with another list, which has some different titles... I clearly have to read faster and up the number of books I've read!

That said, I'm really enjoying Eat Fat by Richard Klein at the moment. Not your ordinary take on overweight people, that's for sure. I suspect I'll be re-reading it and making notes!

Definitions

The defintion of hard work:

That's a lot of hedge right there, let me tell you - and this is the second phase of cutting it down. I'm knackered!

The defintion of full to capacity:


The defintion of unlikely allies:

The definition of pretty:

To Kill A Mockingbird

A couple of weeks ago the kindly Lovefilm sent me 'Failure to Launch'.
I expected a pretty standard romantic comedy which would be lighthearted, easy to watch and that I'd forget it pretty soon after I watched it.
What I didn't expect is that I'd find myself randomly giggling after recalling a specific scene.
Actually, I have to admit to laughing, loudly at frequent intervals throughout the movie, but, no matter how many times I see this scene I find myself giggling.
The actual scene starts about 2 1/2 minutes in, but I like the way this little clip sets it up:

"Walk away from the light little buddy!"

Friday, 7 August 2009

A Peek Inside My Mind

I was laying in the bath earlier this evening, I'd left my PC running through my collection of mp3's and as I laid there I thought to myself "I'm sure I don't have Cotton Eye Joe on mp3". Then I realised it was Loaded by Primal Scream.
Because those songs exactly alike.
Or not.
I think I might have stood near to too many speakers at too many gigs.

I like to have candles around me when I bathe. It makes for a relaxing environment. What's less relaxing is having one candle piss wax all over the carpet. Especially when you're meeting your landlord for the first time in three years in a few days.

I love water. Cold, cold water. I have no reason for saying that, other than the fact I'm really thirsty and am going to have a big pint of cold water any moment.

I also really love how soft baby oil makes your skin feel. Again there's no reason for sharing that either. It was just a thought running through my mind.

I'd give a telepath SUCH a headache.

Oh and that mean Twitter? Yeah, it is keeping my account suspended it seems.
It would appear I got caught up in this spam invasion as I had the exact same tweet appear on my list of tweets. Still despite being one of thousands affected it's bloody frustrating!

I think I've become addicted to MicroDermabrasion. I keep thinking about when I can do it next. I'm currently at alternate days, but I'm worrying about my (full) pot of cream/lotion/potion becoming empty.
Must consider more important world crises....

Thursday, 6 August 2009

De-Twittered

My Twitter account has been suspended.
Mean Twitter.
I didn't even do anything!
Although when I did log in some weird spam message seems to have been sent from my account. The worst thing is that it contained txtspk. Oh the shame.
So, I've been in, promised them I'm not a spammer, changed my password and will remain confused as to how in the hell that happened.
Maybe I'm a sleep spammer!

Now I have to wait for Twitter to forgive me, or rather figure out that I really don't like spam.
Especially the spam song. Remember that? Crap, that's going to be in my head all day now.
And just when I was starting to get my head around the whole Twitter thing too. Denied.

Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Cambridge 2009

Thursday rolled around and it was time to pack the car, tick things off the list and make our way to Coldhams Common, put up the tent and make a home for the weekend.
Typically the rain kicked in just as we started to knock tent pegs into the ground, I hid under the Jeff's boot lid (my car, for them what is not in th
e know) waiting for it to ease off a bit. Until the rain started to come in sideways and then I took refuge in an already erected tent.
Once the tents were up, beds made we had our wrist bands attached and headed
to the festival site. I had my traditional Nachos Grandee for tea, the sky looked like this:Yet I managed to get rained on whilst eating, so there I sat, gnome-like under an umbrella, keeping those lovely nachos nice and dry.
I seem to remember very little of Thursday night, I know I saw or heard a little of Mumford & Sons. I know I decided that the purchase of a poncho would be a wise investment, in fact it came in very useful when it came to having something to sit down on as I waited for Ruairidh Macmillan to come on to Stage 2. It was also useful to the man next to me who seemed to wipe white paint off onto it and I thank him for that from the bottom of my heart.

We headed off to Stage 2 to catch Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Shepherds, who were great and are playing in Lincoln in the not too distant future so I will be getting myself a ticket for that gig I reckon. Their rendition of All Around My Hat was superb, in fact I'm going to see if a video of it exists for your pleasure. Here it is - go watch!

End of the night meant heading back to the campsite, grabbing a hot chocolate and sitting to listen to a few folk at the Cold
hams Common stage. I think this is the first festival that I've sung along to Tie Me Kangaroo Down.

Friday means heading down to Sainsburys for a cooked breakfast before heading to the festival site to get a nice spot to enjoy the music from.
This is where things get ugly at the festival.

I wrote last year about the whole space issue. Some people want to sit on blankets, some people don't. Which is fine, so long as we can have a little live and let live. Have your blanket but don't be greedy with your space. Have only as much as you need to sit down. These days I don't have a blanket. I have a roll mat which I fold in half and is perfectly ass-sized. It stops the cold from the ground coming up and I take up only the same amount of space as I would without it, but I somehow feel guilty about it.

I don't want to repeat myself, but I really feel that people seem to enjoy the festival in two ways. There are the people that want to choose a spot and pretty much stay there all day, be that Stage 1, Stage 2, The Guinness tent or wherever. Then there are the people that want to wander, roam from stage to stage, catch different acts. I can't honestly say that either is better than the other. I tend to fit into the former group to be honest, which is what suits me. I'm sure it might be frustrating to some people but I don't always want to stand to watch an artist. Take the wonderful Cara Dillon, I absolutely love listening to her, but I don't need to be able to see her. I am prone to sit, eyes closed, just listening and I do so want to know why that's frowned upon!

Anyway, a spot was found on Friday, the festival opened with Genticorum, wonderful Quebecois music. A nice way to ease us into the day. Then The Shee, who I'd seen previously at Big Session in Leicester and enjoyed. Nice to see a harp on stage!
Then it was the turn of Edward II. I adore this band. Back i
n 1999 watching their farewell gig I could only dream that they'd come back and tour again. Here we are, ten years later and my dream is fulfilled! I danced and danced and danced some more. Absolutely brilliant!
The Waterson Family were on next and have more talent than is entirely fair for one family. I can't even play the tin whistle. It's not right I tell you!


I grabbed up my stuff and decided to head back to the campsite to dump most of it off in the tent as there was a ceilidh due to happen on Stage 2 and I do have such a love for ceilidhs. I didn't get to dance, although I did remember exactly how to do the Boston Tea Party, so that's two ceilidh dances I can probably get through without injury now! I caught Hayes Carll's set and love
d it, checking my programme I saw he was doing the second set on Saturday on Stage 1 so had that to look forward to. Everyone else was hanging around Stage 1 so I wandered around the stalls, then headed to the Internet cafe, then off to the duck ponds for some quiet time, although ended up being stalked by a pair of swans. It was a little unnerving it has to be said!I finally decided to head back to the tent where I could still hear the festival. I just didn't really have any interest in seeing The Zutons.
When I got to the festival on Saturday morning I overheard numerous mumblings that people felt The Zutons shouldn't have been part of the line-up, although from the cheering I could hear I'm sure that there are plenty of people that would disagree with that.
Saturday kicked off with Crooked Still who were great fun and Mum ended up hitting the CD sales to purchase one of theirs later in the day.
Next up was Hayes Carll and I enjoyed him all over again, although I was disappointed not to get a second listen of She Left Me For Jesus, the youtube comments would indicate that it's felt to be a little blasphemous by some and I apologise for that, but my goodness it made me laugh.
To carry on with a really fabulous day, Jim Moray was up next and was superb but I swear the "Bless you, bless you.." chorus is going to be stuck in my head for months and months. I was also a little amused by the reaction of the people surrounding me to his song Lucy Wan which I adore, but some of the traditional folkies were clearly totally unsure as to what to make of it. Excellent, you know you're pushing the boundaries when that happens!
The afternoon set was finished off with sets from Cara Dillon and Blazin' Fiddles. Bloody brilliant both!

The evening set started with Martin Simpson and as he's also playing Lincoln this year I'll be having to find some cash for tickets for that too. We decided to have a move and see what else was going on, ending up at Stage 2 just in time to get ourselves under cover before the rain started. It was heavy for a while and I could almost feel the mud starting to develop.
Diana Jones was playing and I really liked her voice, she was down to play Stage 1 on Sunday so I was looking forward to catching her again and making a mental note to add one of her Cd's to my collection. Then we watched Mairtin O'Connor, Cathal Hayden & Seamie O'Dowd who again should pass off a little of their talent to me, it's the right thing to do. Actually I'd settle for just being able to sing a bit to be honest!

For some reason we were wiped out and decided a hot chocolate was the order of the day. Not just any hot chocolate. Oh no. I'm talking hot chocolate, with marshmallows, whipped cream and a flake. It's chocolate heaven.

Sunday showed the toll that the rain had taken on the festival site.
There was plenty mud and a big truck with a giant vacuum sucking up all the water that it possibly could.
We headed back to Stage 1, Bella Hardy opened, wonderful voice and possible CD purchase.... Then
Mairtin O'Connor, Cathal Hayden & Seamie O'Dowd were on again and just as good as the night before, followed by Diana Jones who did a song that I absolutely have to own - If I Had A Gun. I'm not sure there's a woman on this earth that song doesn't resonate with, as it was written during a conversation with girlfriends about ex-husbands and ex-boyfriends.
I watched most of the set by Lau before heading off for a brief wander to stretch my legs, check out the Internet cafe (which by the way needs much better organisation - I was hassled three times by staff whilst the woman to my right who was there when I arrived wasn't hassled at all, ranty rant.) I got back in time to see Jim Moray and once again enjoy Lucy Wan and ensure that "Bless you, bless you all of the pretty girls" was well and truly stuck in my head for eternity.

Made my way back to Stage 1 just as Eddi Reader was finishing, despite having seen her a number of times, I'm just not a fan and I don't know why as she has a lovely voice. Weird.
I did rather like Oumou Sangare though, and their dancers were superb. We'd met up with Geoff again from last year and he and I attempted the occasional mimic of some moves seen from the stage, none of which seemed to work well for us!
Then a few of us made our way to Stage 2. I had heard good things about Imelda May and decided to watch her instead of Paul Brady. For me, I absolutely made the right choice, we danced until we could dance no more. We danced so much a lady joined us just so she wasn't dancing alone. When some poor man ended up standing amongst us she scolded him that this was the dancing quarter and if he wanted to remain there, dance he must. And dance he did.
She was absolutely superb, we screamed for more, we couldn't help it, when faced with this, how could you not want more?!
I was also surprised after the gig, when I wasn't looking my sweaty best by a fellow Twitterer who had recognised me, turns out the red hair is more noticeable at a festival than I ever realised!

Spent the next while having a good old gossip and a fine old time with another lovely Twitterer (is that even the right terminology? Twitteree?) before finally heading to Stage 1 to catch The Treacherous Orchestra. I didn't know anything about them until Geoff told me they were made up from guys that had worked with Martyn Bennett and with The Peatbog Faeries, which instantly made them unmissable. I cannot begin to tell you what an absolutely fabulous time I had.
I had on my dancing wellies:

I rocked those wellies let me tell you. We jumped and bounced and danced and laughed and got hotter and hotter, sweatier and sweatier. It was the absolute best end to the festival. I could literally barely walk afterwards from all the leaping around, even now, on Wednesday, my legs are still sore, going up and down stairs is a slow process!
Do one thing - go here and have a listen - then tell me if that's what you imagine when you hear the term 'folk music'? Just make sure your volume is up as far as you can manage. That's my kind of folk music, where I can dance until I'm absolutely exhausted but so incredibly happy!

For the record I never got to use my poncho! Could have spent that money on a CD!


When I got home I had to thank my neighbour for looking after Mifford, so I made cupcakes, I had a few leftover. Cupcake anyone?
Oh wait, I have one more little tale to share. On Monday night I decided to upload the few photos I'd taken from my camera to the pc so I could do this blog entry. Except my camera wasn't in my bag. I pulled everything out, but there was definitely no camera. Shit. Shit. Shit. I went out to the car, you know, in case it had fallen out. No.
Tuesday morning rolls around, Mum takes my car keys and conducts a thorough investigation. No camera.
I have to go out and do some jobs but on my return, I ring the box office, they give me a number to call. I call said number, but lady I need to speak to is busy. An email address is given and an email is duly written and sent off.
Mum is away at this point, collecting my Step-Dad, Tim, from the airport. He's flown in from France and has brought with him Mum's old digital camera for me to use. In doing so apparently he made catching the flight a close call. So, my photos are gone but I am not without a camera.
I sit down on a footstool by my TV, I turn my head to the right, what is that silver flash I see?
Ooops. That would be my camera. Which has been sitting in front of the TV the whole time.
Do I email the lady again and confess to being an idiot? Or do I just hope she's really bad at her job and never gets back to me?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

When To Defrost?

On Sunday I helped my niece move house.
As we put her stuff away in the kitchen I pointed at the freezer and commented that it was the same make as mine and opened it to see if it was the same inside.

It was rather iced up and I chuckled about it, commenting that it was a good job that my niece was going to swap that freezer for hers.
She looked at me and said I hadn't seen anything yet.
Reaching for the fridge door she opened it and what I saw inside made me literally speechless.
I have never, never seen an icebox that is actually just ice. Or rather like the world's biggest snowball.
I mean really, this deserves a place in the Guinness Book of Records, right?
Holy Moly that's the mother of all ice balls.
I like the way it seems to be glowing.

Even in the desert that sucker would take the best part of a year to defrost!

Monday, 27 July 2009

Snapped

I broke my bed.
I loved that bed.
Look how beautiful it was:

What's worse? I wasn't even in bed when it broke, I was minding my own business when it made a deeply suspicious noise and the corner here nearest the camera looked distinctly wrong.
The problem? I had taken to swinging lightly on this corner as I went to bed - I like to sleep on the right, just so you know. So there I have been for the past few years gently swinging on that Gothic fleur de lys each time I passed it.
I didn't realise I was weakening the joint and on Friday it decided enough was enough and banished me to the spare room for the night.
I have been told it might be repairable and despite the difficulty in typing I am keeping my fingers crossed....

On Sunday I went to help my niece move and she had been looking for somewhere to store her bed and offered to let me have it whilst she doesn't need it! Result!
At about 11pm last night, in very muggy conditions I finally finished deconstructing one bed and constructing the new one. I cannot say how grateful I was to finally fall into bed.
I love being in bed, sleeping is never overrated. I would like to sleep more, I seem to be averaging around 4 or 5 hours at the moment and I miss the nights of 8 hours. 8 is where it's at.

Monday, 20 July 2009

Craic

So here's what's been going on:

I had a weird dream. A really weird dream. Actually I had two, but the second one faded to nothing and I'm really cross I forgot it.
However the first one was superbly surreal.
I dreamt that I had a baby. It was a little boy, I don't remember naming him but a short while later I'd misplaced the baby. Careless and anywhere other than a dreamworld, a really terrible thing! Anyway, I had another baby, this time it was a girl. It was only a little while later and I seem to remember that mid birthing process I decided I'd have a sleep and finish off in the morning. Very realistic obviously. So in the morning I had a baby girl. I was really stressed out because I couldn't decide on a name for her. Then I found the baby boy and both babies turned into cats. Weirdly the baby boy turned into Mifford - especially as Mifford is a female cat. I was really worried that the baby boy/Mifford wouldn't like the baby girl/other cat, especially as I hadn't named her, but then Mifford starting licking the face of the other cat and I was ecstatically happy.
That's weird right?

My choice for a belated Song of The Week is coming up, damn this is a seriously sexy song, there was one video that had some superb photography but I went with this one instead.

Jace Everett - Bad Things:


I've been out in the garden quite a lot, eating almost exclusively every evening from what I've picked fresh from the vegetable patch. Salad is one of my favourite things in the world! Also I've had to put in new sowings of various things. I want my allotment!
Speaking of which.... I took a wander round the village to post back one of my lovefilm dvd's and as I passed the village noticeboard I paused to see what was posted there. I found myself reading, thoroughly, the minutes of the recent Parish Council meeting. I read the whole thing and what worries me most is that I found it quite interesting.
I got to read a bit about what is happening as regards the allotments and it's good to know I might still be in the running for a wee plot of land. Fingers crossed.

Someone ran into my Sky dish. I have a caravan as my prime suspect. What was really a pain was that it was going to take almost a full week to get it repaired. Again. It's sited in a ridiculous place and is frequently getting bash by high vehicles. Anyway, the delightful engineer arrived early on Saturday morning and moved the dish to a location that will require incredible ingenuity to be hit with anything at all. Oh how I missed my TV!

But, on the plus side, it did mean that I found time to sit and watch the entire box set of My So-Called Life. I am obviously deeply in love with Jordan Catalano again. What's rather disturbing is that, as this came out originally in 1994, I am now closer in age to the parents in the series than the kids. Crap. Back then, they were twice my age, now they're just 5 years older. Crap.


Oh, the other week I went to see the Battlefield Band! My last gig for a while, but on the upside I do have Cambridge Folk Festival in just over a week! Must be getting near the time where I have to start choosing my outfits! The weather forecast is not looking pretty so I suspect a lot of my outfits will be revolving around wellies. What looks good with wellies? Hmm? Anyone?
Yeah, nothing.
Can you even dance in wellies? This remains to be seen. Although to be fair, I'm not so sure that I dance so much as flail wildly and jump around. I'm not sure about my ability to dance a ceilidh in wellies though... what a shame there will be no video of my attempts.

I'm attempting to slowly take down my hateful conifer hedge. I don't strictly have permission to do so, so am attempting a very definite trim of the hedge in the hope it won't survive. If you feel like lopping off a few branches, please don't hesitate to pop over, for I shall not hesitate in handing to you the loppers! I'm wildly generous that way.
Mum is coming to stay for a while so I'll offer to let her cut some hedge too. See, my generosity knows no bounds.

Oh and finally, I have not sustained any new injuries! Remember that incident with the hand blender and my finger? The fingernail dropped off. Nice eh? Not in a gross way though - which is what I was really worried about. The slashed nail grew until finally it was too weak to carry on. It was a bit misshapen for a while but I think it's actually going to be ok, I'm sure that's a massive relief for everyone. I will have normal (ish) fingernails. Well, until the next time I do myself an injury that is....

Monday, 6 July 2009

Cats & Ducks

Thursday last week, I made my way down to Bristol to watch The Cat Empire. Always superb live and great high energy fun.
With the exception of missing one junction - which I will continue to blame on poor road signs - I made it without a problem, even driving into the city centre and finding my destination without a wrong turn. Without sat nav. Not half bad!

Met up with Siobhan and Aaron and we went for a pizza dinner, trying out the one of the new Leggera pizzas. God, just the word pizza makes me hungry.
Afterwards we headed to the venue and made our way in, taking up my traditional spot towards the front.
The support came on and were pretty good.
I told Siobhan that Felix in the Cat Empire was beautiful. She asked whether he was really beautiful, or just my idea of beautiful.
I think she might be trying to infer that I have occasionally unusual taste in men.
I assured her he really was very beautiful.
The band took to the stage, I pointed at the stage and said "That's Felix".

"Oh my God, that's like a real life Patrick Dempsey" she said, then turned to Aaron and continued "I'm sorry, but I might have to leave you".
Look how beautiful he is:


That man was standing just feet from me and I was able to contain myself. That's self control I tell you.
And for your viewing pleasure, here they are live, doing one of my favourite songs, in fact the chorus is my ringtone on my phone.
Oh, and check out the dude in black on the trumpet. That's Harry. I wouldn't be turning him down either! Plus that Harry, he can really scat.

A little bit of the lovely Harry (I'm generous today eh?):


So, after they came on stage the crowd got a little, well crowded, a lot of pushing and shoving commenced. After a song or two Aaron decided to bow out and during the next song, Siobhan and I nearly ended up getting pushed over. I grabbed her wrist and despite her declarations that she was fine I insisted it wasn't safe and we made an exit. Or rather I shoved a number of people and trampled on a lot of feet. We headed upwards and watched the gig from tv screens and where I was free to dance like a dervish, as is my wont.
Despite the crush at the front I had a splendid time.
When they did The Chariot (the first video) it went to an instrumental in the middle before suddenly morphing into Billie Jean, which was awesome. None of the band sang the verses but as it moved into the chorus the whole crowd started singing. I sorely missed someone doing a moonwalk but it was just brilliant, as they morphed back into The Chariot, Felix said they felt he deserved a tribute and it was an excellent one.

Post gig we headed back to Siobhan & Aaron's place where I kipped for the night, before heading home at lunchtime.
I again missed the damn junction, for the exact same road, but this time, brilliantly, I managed to not only miss the junction but then get caught up in the tailback following a small pile-up. And thus welcomed an extra couple of hours on to my journey.

Finally made it home in time for tea and started preparations for the picnic I'd arranged for Saturday. Only a small affair, but as it was the annual Dunston Duck Races I thought it would be a laugh for some of my mates to come over and bet on a duck or two.
So, at 11pm on Friday night, I was busy whipping up a couple of batches of cupcakes. I'll be uploading the recipe for the cupcakes with mascarpone & fruit on my cookery blog soon and you must try them, find any excuse you can, they were just so very, very good.

Saturday rolled around and it was picnic time, I took a sack trolley and made my way up to the green, laid out blankets and started to feast. To begin with it wash just Rachael and I as it was also a massive airshow just down the road and traffic was rather heaving. I suspect we looked quite funny with this enormous amount of food and just the pair of us, bit by bit other folks showed up. The kids ran up and down the beck, slowly getting wetter and wetter, but it was so warm that they seemed to dry almost as quickly. There's something about kids just jumping around in water, free fun and they make seemingly endless games out of it!

A little while later the races commenced. I bet on races 4 and 5.
Below is my duck, number 43. It's safe to say that this little grouping of ducks is towards the rear. I was in no danger of winning.

These would be the ducks making it under the finish line. Mine was still feasting on weeds or stuck behind an obstacle. Quite frankly number 43 let me down.
Truth be told, my bet on number 7 didn't go any better either. Ah well, it's a good job I'm not a gambler.

I managed to get a wonderful circular spot of sunburn on my back, having not thought through the keyhole part of my top very well. I just can't reach there with suncream!

Everyone but Rachael made their way home after the racing had finished. Rachael and I headed to my garden where we reopened the picnic leftovers. There was more feasting. I had made fresh lemonade and some elderflower cordial but Mifford wasn't allowed any, so as not to be outdone, she found her own sweet nectar:

Got to love a bit of watering can water, although that might only apply if you are a cat, or Mifford.
Once the sun started to cool, we headed in and watched Transporter 3, which I enjoyed. I know it's not a good movie, but I do like the Transporter movies, they make me laugh and the violence is just so wonderfully choreographed!

A final couple of notes. I totally ran over the big toe on my left foot with the sack trolley, I cannot tell you how that smarted. I did well not to curse in a number of different languages.
So, on Sunday my big toe was clearly swollen and I therefore decided that the ideal way to proceed would be to stub my little toe and hard. So hard it went a purple/black shade and I wondered for some time if I'd actually broken it.
It's a talent.

That's all for now folks, I have to go pick tea from the garden.
Oooh, it's raining and the sun is out, I also have to go see the rainbow.
I'm easily excited, me.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Salad Days

There is something about getting your lunch fresh from the garden that I just love. The freshness of the lettuce, the sweetness of the carrots and those peas. I have spoken many, many times about my love of peas, but these, just minutes old from the plant are wonderful.
I really, really hope that I'm able to get an allotment because I need more peas. I'm sure that I could exist on a diet of peas and lettuce.
With the odd block of chocolate, naturally. I only wish I could grow that myself too!

Monday, 29 June 2009

Twittering

I joined Twitter. I hate being new at something.
I've realised this is a part of my character, I want to completely understand something, see how it works and investigate every part of it so that I know what I'm doing.
Those first moments though of having no clue what the hell I'm doing, I hate them. I get really frustrated by not knowing what the buttons do, or how to get to where I want to be.

Many moons ago, when I was practice manager of a dental surgery, we had a new computer system installed. I must have driven the guy half mad with my "how does that work?", "what does this do?", "how do I make it do this?", "where is the button for....?"
Anyway, the first day that we went active with the system we had one of the developers come to stay with us for the day to help with any issues we had.
Except he went home at lunch, he said there was no point in staying when I'd got it all sussed out.
I can't help it, I have to know how to do everything!
Well almost everything, I know I'll never be quite able to do any plastering.

I think everyone should be mentored on a new website, they should be shown around, just like the prefects at school should take care of the little new kids, you know when they show them where the classroom is and the toilet.
I mean, I can find my own toilet, thank goodness but still, I should like a little tour and have it all explained to me.
Oh, maybe I'll have to relent and read the instructions.
Or the FAQ.
I'm sure I'll be tweeting along with the rest of them before long...see, I've even got the lingo.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Baslow Edge - The Peak District

On Friday Rachael and I went for a wander in the Peak District, now it might look a little overcast, and it was a little windy, but my goodness it's beautiful:
video

It didn't take at all long to get there and it's remarkable how the scenery changes in such a relatively short distance. From the almost flat Lincolnshire, to the distinctive hills and valleys of The Peak District in just a couple of hours.
I loved these rocky outcrops, the way they appeared to have been positioned, whilst they leave me wondering just how long they've been there. Some have some wonderful shapes to them, as if they've been carved out by a human hand.
I have no idea why I didn't expect to see cows, but I didn't, and this one was interested in the scenery too. Or me.
Whilst this one was clearly disinterested in me. Harsh.
Now I know I'm only short, but those there boulders are bigger than I am, and that's the footpath that runs between them. It got pretty intimate between those rocks and I at times, let me tell you.
Then I found this:
I'm not at all sure what it is, we'd wondered about it being a plague stone but it seemed a long way from any developments. Or maybe that's the whole point.
I'd really like to know what it was for, and in fact what those carved letters represent. I find myself becoming more and more interested in the history of these things, in a way I never was before.

Now, this is Eagle Stone:
Apparently young gentlemen would have to climb it in order to show their fitness to marry. Rather them than me. It's hard to see the scale here, but I guess it's at least 6 or 7 times taller than I am. As we slowly made our way towards it, there was a man definitely attempting to climb it and he didn't appear to be doing very well, so I'm guessing he's going to remain unmarried for a while yet.

I'm such a genius. I was standing and staring at this carved stone sign trying to work out what on earth it said. I stood there uttering the words as they were carved:
CHESTE
RFEILD
ROADE

Chesty? Arfield? Roadey? What the hell?
Oh no, wait.
Chesterfield Road.
Of course.
I won't embarrass myself by admitting how long it took me to get that.

They totally spelt field wrong though. That was what confused me. Ahem.

And then there were more cows. With big horns. Really big horns. With sharp points. However it would seem grass holds far more interest than ladies with rucksacks.

Although this might be how a cow looks disdainful. Got it down hasn't she?
I have a feeling that she might be smirking at my windswept appearance.
Anyway, our walk progressed, I moaned petulantly each time there was an uphill stretch. I like the flat, I'm not built to clamber over boulders. I'm just not, I know my limits!
That said, I will accept it's good to stretch myself, even if I do end up a little puce in the face. Or rather, glowing in a ladylike manner.
It was a really good walk, we went through the heather, then through the boulders, through woods (I'd like to thank the mosquitoes for all of their attention) and we made our way down gashes in the hillside.
At one point the instructions told us that the way would be clear but overgrown.
They weren't kidding.
The path in front of me became precarious and I felt obliged to photograph it.
Now, it doesn't look that bad, however, those dead leaves, they're like inches and inches deep. Your whole foot disappears, causing you to be a little wobbly.
I must have sensed something as I took this photo, as immediately after it was taken I attempted to descend, which I did, albeit faster than I'd intended and made a graceful landing into those ferns at the top of the photo.

I sat there for a second, one leg in front, one behind, totally (impressively) uninjured and started to giggle. The giggle became a full blown guffaw and I absolutely couldn't stand. I could barely breathe through the laughing. I had no idea where Rachael was as she'd descended before me and vanished from sight. Apparently she heard me go down, I probably swore (profanity is my friend), which was swiftly followed by my hysterical laughter, so she figured I was ok. She said afterwards that she could tell I was laughing so hard there was no way I'd be getting up.
I swear, I have not laughed that hard in a really, really long time.
There's something about those real belly laughs that are really good for your soul.
Even now, I'm having a wee giggle to myself.

We apparently were only walking for 6 miles, but I'll tell you it felt a lot, lot longer. With the heat and the climbing and clambering I was absolutely shattered. As we rounded the corner to the road that led back to the car park, I repeatedly called for Jeff in the hope she would become like Michael Knight's car KITT and come and fetch me, but alas no, she waited for me to emerge, somewhat ruffled and pink.

As we were almost at the car park I noticed something in the road.
"Look!" I said to Rachael, "someone ran over a snake! What are the odds of running over a snake? It's an adder too, they're not even that common! Did you see it? A snake, I mean I've only even seen an adder once or twice before, that's amazing."
At this point in my babble I remembered that Rachael has a snake phobia. I'm a good friend, me.

Finally Jeff's lovely turquoise features appeared on the horizon, I stumbled into the car park, flung open her doors and hugged her. Because the rear door slides, like a van, you can actually hug her when the front door is open too.
It was a good walk, but by crikey I was pleased to be done.

Michael Jackson

Song Of The Week LXIII - Michael Jackson - Man In The Mirror:

I wonder how many blog posts are out there written about Michael Jackson and his sudden, unexpected death.

I heard the news and felt the shock. Sometimes you feel as though some people are going to live forever. The fact one day they will die is a concept you can't even begin to grapple with.
I watched the news, read the reports, saw the pictures but somehow you still expect that they'll turn round and tell you it's actually not real.

As a child I idolised Michael Jackson, I was a real fan. My best friend and I collected everything we could find about him, I had folder upon folder of newspaper & magazine clippings and dreamed that one day I'd see him perform live, that I'd get to be one of the girls that why always showed on TV in the throngs desperate to see him.
We went to see Moonwalker at the cinema so many times we got to know all the lines and sat in the back row singing along, being asked by the ushers how many times we'd seen it. I'm actually not sure of the number.

When the allegations hit, huge numbers of his fans stuck by him. I don't think those die hard fans ever believed he was capable of the terrible things he was accused of.
There was something about Michael, they called him Peter Pan, but to my mind he really had never grown up. He seemed barely to have progressed beyond adolescence in his mind.
Being in the spotlight for 45 years of your life has to take its toll.
Adults are a judgemental bunch and children so much less so. I really felt as though he chose to have a large part of his life around children for the freedom it gave him to be himself.
I remember an interview he did with Oprah, they had shots of a cinema he had built, which had hospital beds so that sick children could come, have fun and be cared for.
It never struck me as the behaviour of a man who would wish to cause children harm.
For those who chose to ignore his complete acquittal of the allegations made against him I feel a little pity, that they choose to believe the worst about people, I only hope that if they were ever placed in the same situation the world is kinder to them.
To loosely quote one of Michael's friends interviewed on the news; "I hope history will be kinder to Michael than contemporary media".

I remember, many years ago, when River Phoenix died I felt a profound sense of loss. I couldn't explain how I felt this grief for someone I didn't know. For someone who existed for me only on a screen or through the words in a magazine, but it was there and it was real.
I knew that I was not alone in that grief but it wasn't until I found a magazine article by someone explaining the reasons they felt a grief for this movie star that I really understood my own.
They ended the article by saying:
"We wondered how anyone could comprehend the grief we felt. How could they understand when he belonged to our generation. We understood because River spoke our language, voiced our worries and fears about our future. Only in the years to come will they realise how much he meant to us - a symbol of both our frustrations and hopes. Like his name suggested, he rose from the ashes of obscurity and flew in the face of public opinion with a poetic grace that matched the rhythm of the times."

Michael Jackson was a part of my childhood, my formative years, I practiced my terrible singing, I wanted to make a change, I wanted a pet chimp to be my best friend. I did feel almost as though I knew him, I felt his shyness and maybe I appreciated his eccentricity, knowing I carried my own with me.

I feel a deep sadness about his death. I feel for his family and his children who must now feel so bereft.
There's little to say that hasn't already been said, but what a real loss to the world of music too. He might not have released anything for a long time, but his catalogue stands up, as someone said, his World Record Album sales for Thriller will never be topped. So much is sold online now that that number of real world sales will just never be beaten.
That's one hell of a legacy.

I am to be found regularly joking about my age, about getting old, but then when someone just 16 years older than you are, dies, suddenly you appreciate how young you are. 50 is no age to die. I'm not sure what IS the right age, only that at 50 you expect to have decade upon decade left in front of you.

So, I join in with all those other grieving fans and people who felt like they knew him, who grew up with his music, those who
don't care a jot that you couldn't put him in the pigeonhole marked 'normal' and those that will miss the opportunity to know what he had left to show us.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Sessions

This is very much how my weekend went:It shot past in a tremendous blur, although it was a very enjoyable blur!
I headed to Leicester to go to the 5th Big Session festival and had a superb time.
Friday saw me picking up Gary, loading up the car with tents and bedding and heading off to find ourselves a camping spot.
We put up our respective tents - I'm still sporting my vintage tent. It's so noticeably different from everything else it stands out really clearly in the field. Which rather suits me down to the ground.
Friday evening brought me the Peatbog Faeries and the Levellers. It's almost perfect I swear, I got myself to the front and danced, danced and danced. Included in that dancing was a lot of jumping and bouncing. I just can't help myself. It's safe to say I was thoroughly exhausted!

When I woke up on Saturday I was aware of several things. Firstly it was my birthday, I'd made it to my 34th year. Secondly my left foot was distinctly sore, I had a suspicion I'd landed funnily during a session of jumping and the sore foot was proof positive. Not only that, I appeared to also have rather hurt my ribs somehow. I'm clearly not built for that much bouncing.
As I laid there, thinking about opening the cards I'd brought with me, just so there would be something to open on my birthday I heard singing begin outside.
"Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you"
What the hell?
They were women's voices, they clearly weren't singing to me. I listened to multiple birthday greetings, finally rousing myself and exiting the tent. I queried who was celebrating and when she stepped forward, I told her it was my birthday too!
What are the odds that in that big field two birthday girls would camp literally next to each other?!

Gary and I ended up spending most of the day in the Big Top, there's something strange about laying on a blanket where it feels clowns and acrobats should surely be dashing about. We listened to the bands that played without really moving to go the main stage until later in the day, but when we did I was suddenly taken by what I could hear. I felt myself being drawn to the stage and cursing myself for not having been there earlier. On stage were Baskery and I can't even begin to explain how good they were, I went to the CD tent to get their album almost immediately, I just had to have it, but they didn't have any! I was going to have to wait till I got home to hear more!
I'd intended to go back to the Big Top and dance in the ceilidh but the foot injury was clearly going to prevent any leaping about in a crazy fashion, much to Gary's obvious relief.
I ended up seeing Eliza Carthy for the third time in a couple of months and started to feel not unlike a stalker.
And as for the two women who talked for the entire set oh you're going on The List. I see a maiming in your future.
Gary was excited to see Billy Bragg who was next on stage, I made a swift exit and headed over to see Edward II where I danced most sedately, predominantly on one foot. These guys are doing a 12 month reunion, 10 years on from when they originally split. I am consoling myself that come hell or high water I am going to go and see them in November and dance properly! (That's like a maniac!)

Oysterband were closing the festival on Sunday and I was so excited about getting to see them again, I just always enjoy the camaraderie that comes from being in a crowd that has a deep love for the band on stage.
But before that Gary and I settled ourselves back into the Big Top as the sun was making infrequent appearances sadly.
I was most impressed with Fatima Spar & The Freedom Fries - definitely worth seeking out, I'll probably pick myself up an album at some point. They weren't at all like I was expecting and I do so love being surprised.
Gary had opted to stay and watch Adrian Edmondson & The Bad Seeds when I headed off to see Oysterband.
I was restrained and stood at the front but off to the side so I wouldn't be tempted to start leaping around!
The very last song they performed as an encore was done without microphones, and as such was very quiet, John Jones sang the first verse and without prompting, the audience all quietly joined in when it came to the chorus. There's something about that which I love, the knowledge of the songs, I feel like part of a shoal of fish, all moving without any apparent trigger to tell us what to do. I don't mind being a sheep in times like that, it's like a community for that song.
It's like knowing how a song goes and knowing that although there's a slow start, soon the fast part will come and as that first beat hits, the crowd raises as one into a big jump. I can't explain how exhilarating it is for me.
Without music I think I'd lose a part of myself.

I've written previously about the fact I'm not excited about Cambridge this year, but the Big Session has fully left me in the mood for it, I'm looking forward to seeing some new bands now.

When I got home and had to cut off my wristband, I felt a moment of loss, it's over for another year and the anticipation of what will come next year begins.