Friday dawned sunny, warm and lumpy - of course the air bed had a leak! Then it was the 30 minute queues for the loos as still down to 2 loos for the whole of our section and the water had completely run out too, grr.
Bacon butties for breakfast, flat whites and veging out until the site opened, with time to kill there was only one thing for it, another coffee and this time with amaretto - we're on holiday!
What was in store today? I've learnt in previous years that the best action is around the Big Top and Pig's Big Ballroom, this is where all the exciting new bands get their gigs and it's usually much better than Castle Stage. However, The Proclaimers were on at 5.30pm and no way was I missing that.
Erth's dinosaur zoo - had to see this as Small Boy loves dinosaurs. It was pretty good, the presenter warned the audience that by the end of it there would be small children crying.....and she was right, the dinosaurs were very well trained and even the carnivore came out to eat, sorry meet the audience.
Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer - this guy is fantastic, with his banjolele too, I heard him on Radio 4 on Sunday morning as he's doing his show at Edinburgh Festival, catch him, he's brilliant. He is a hip hop artist in the Queen's English, chap-hop is what he calls it, love him.
The Proclaimers Brilliant, totally brilliant, "and I would walk 500 miles and I would walk 500 more to be the man who walked a thousand miles to fall down at your door, der der ler der........" became our theme tune for the weekend with a snippet of "der der ler der.." before everyone broke out into the chorus. Thank you lads, a little bit of my teenage days transferring onto my kids, fantastic. Ellie and Anastasia had problems with the trains and arrived at 7pm gutted to have missed them.
After a mooch round the dingly dell with a promise to come back and see the fire show in the evening (never made it, too long a queue and too much else to do) we went back to the tent for fajitas and cocktails, as you do.
The plan was to make our way to the Big Top to see London Grammar at 8.30pm, I've learnt from previous years that you can plan what you like but it's probably going to go pear shaped. It did, spectactularly. We walked past the Wagamama lounge and discovered that David Rodigan, reggae legend was playing. That was it, an hour or raving it up, with kids going for it too and London Grammar didn't get a look in. This was probably the best event of the whole festival.
Next back over the Big Top for John Cooper Clarke. Now this guy is a hero from my teenage days, a punk poet who I loved, my favourite being 'I married a monster from outer space'. I had a friend who new all the words to that. Disappointed, he had an hour set, didn't engage the audience, ranted and was very boring. We didn't even stick around long enough to hear my favourite poem, if he did it. Caught a little bit of Richard Hawley but not really my thing so off to Mr Teas with the kids for hot chocolate - naked hot chocolate in my case - no marshmallows or cream then back to the tent with little ones, big girls on 1am curfew and nothing else for it but to grab a blanket, put the light on, pour the wine and sit outside listening to the music and reading my book waiting for the others to get home.
This is the first time I have made it to Camp Bestival on the Thursday. I usually send Pete and Small Boy down on Thursday to put up the tent and I arrive with the girls on Friday lunchtime having deposited the dogs at their Aunty Sue's for a holiday weekend. On Thursday our friend Grant cooks for everyone. I love it when someone else cooks so this year I was determined to get there on Thursday so I could sit back and eat his yummy food.
The lads got there before us and in past years Thursday has been very quiet. We are in Camping Plus so none of that fighting for pitch and waking up in the morning with someone else's tent pitched on top of yours with a head sticking in your bed room space. This is civilised. Or rather, it's meant to be. I did witness a couple of 'pitch wars' going on.
1. Where someone had their tent pegs and ropes in someone else's pitch. It's pretty clear, you pay £120 for a pitch that is outlined in thick white lines and you're meant to keep within the lines, that's your area for the weekend and you've paid for it. If your tent is bigger than the line you buy two pitches. This is what we do as we have a massive tent and it won't fit on - actually we buy two and Grant buys one so we have three next to each other so we can sort out the cooking stuff together. It really hacks other people off when they pitch their pegs and ropes on your territory.
2. Someone had pitched in the wrong pitch. A lady had booked two pitches together and was explaining to the bod that this tent was in the wrong place. He agreed but said he couldn't ask them to move (why not? They've pitched in the wrong place, flipping move it!) She explained, without raising her voice (not sure I'd be that calm) that she needed two pitches together as they were pitching with friends and sharing food/cooking stuff and couldn't do this on separate pitches. Not sure how this was resolved but 3 hours and 3 loads later she was still talking to bods (multiple appearing now) and still hadn't pitched her tent, it was now 6pm and I was feeling very sorry for her.
Anyway, our tent was up, Grant's tent was up, food out, Grant cooking, wine served, sorted. Posh new loos on site, with the words 'eco' friendly and 'no water systems'.....worried, I had reason to be. They lasted all of 10 minutes.
By 8pm Camping Plus must have been 80% full, we were parked where we parked last year arriving on Friday lunchtime and we got there at 2pm Thursday. The lads said they'd never seen it this full on a Thursday, the reason they arrived on Thursday is that it was empty with most people arriving Friday, not this year. The loos lasted until about 8pm then they broke leaving a 20 minutes queue and only 2 loos working for our bit of the site - joy!
Sitting under the stars with cocktails feeling smug that I'd packed the Bog in a Bag and allocating the area at the back of the tent the 'boy loo' zone we were sorted. All we needed to do now was yell at any kids who thought they'd try and scoot through our pitch - it's ours, we've paid for it, walk round you horrible lot, it's really rude to walk through someone else's pitch, etc oh, and I wouldn't walk there as that's the emergency loo? See what I mean, pitch wars.
Finally, Big Girl was left at home on her own for the first time ever as she wanted to come down on Friday by train with her friend Anastasia. On the basis that she's almost 17 and was very well behaved on holiday we agreed. This didn't get off to a good start when I had a phone call at 4pm to say that she'd forgotten to take her keys with her and she was locked out and currently at her Nanas.........OK so you're old enough and responsible enough to stay at home on your own are you?
I spent a long time last night being grumpy and cooking for 6 people for #campbestival today, one of them being a 17 year old coeliac friend of Big Girl who I only found out was coeliac a couple of days ago.
Last 24 hours before setting of to Camp Bestival @campbestival #campbestival, Pete's on his way to Go Outdoors to get last minute camping stuff and we haven't even thought about packing. Still finishing off unpacking from Kos last week so I have that to do before I can start cooking.
Camp Bestival Camping and Planning
Friday is P day - planning night for Camp Bestival, our friends Grant, Daisy and Bertie are coming over for the weekend to do some serious Camp Bestival plotting and I've just had a brilliant idea....
Have you heard of the Disco Shed? These guys are Latitude regular, it's a shed with a disco, really cool, and even better they have GNOMES. No, don't stop reading, I haven't lost it honestly, well maybe a bit but that was a while ago. I love gnomes, this goes back to my childhood, let me explain...
A long time ago in a distant seaside town called Saltburn by Sea a little version of me used to go on the train from Redcar, where I lived, to visit Saltburn with my lovely Grandma as a day out. It was only 8 miles away but for a small girl this meant a really, really long train ride (15 minutes is a long time when you're little). Once in Saltburn my main focus was to go to the park and play on the swings because Saltburn had THE BEST SWINGS in the world, way better than the ones at Locke Park or Zetland Park in Redcar. The road to the swings was filled with huge Victorian houses and in the garden of one of these houses were gnomes. Loads of them, gnomes of all different shapes and sizes.
Walking past the gnome house and stopping to look at the gnomes was part of the ritual of 'going to Saltburn' and that began my love of gnomes. Unfortunately my husband doesn't share this love of gnomes although I have tried to convert him and he has received gnomes for his past 3 birthdays usually followed by a request:
"please don't buy me any more bloody gnomes"
Other comments have been "what would you like for your birthday?" reply: "anything but bloody gnomes", fortunately I realise he's joking and loves them really.
Anyway, I digress, so getting back to gnomes, sorry the Disco Shed. They're at Camp Bestival and hopefully bringing their gnomes with them too. I love their website, it has gnomes.
Now, a couple of evenings ago Grant emailed me about the Disco Shed and suggested that I may like to turn our Surf Shack into a disco shed, that would be brilliant but I've just had an even better idea. We have a barn that houses the warehouse and office for the business which is bigger than the surf shack so this would be even better to turn into a disco shed, but it would be a DISCO BARN, yeay and I could play all my old records very loudly and there would be no way any teenagers would come near the place so I'd have it all to myself....now there's an even better thought.
For now, I'm getting excited about the Disco Shed at Camp Bestival so if you're going come and say 'hi' I'll be hanging out with the gnomes doing 'bad' dancing or 'Mum' dancing as my teenagers call it.
The sun's come out and I'm now allowing myself to get excited about Camp Bestival 2013, plus there are now only 96 days to go, double figures, yeay. The highlight of Camp Bestival 2012 has to be my impromptu interview with Dick and Dom. Yes, I was the adult standing at the back of the audience at East Lulworth shouting 'bogies' very, very loudly and getting elbowed by medium sized girl for being embarrassing, I don't care, I LOVE Dick and dom. However, they weren't giving interviews, well, officially anyway....
Armed with my BBC Oxford mic (it's scary how many places a BBC mic will get you, even though it's local radio it's got those amazing 3 capital letters on it that open doors), I managed to edge my way to the back of the stage at East Lulworth where I spotted the regular bouncers and very attractive brunette whom I deduced may be married to one of them, a long shot but I went for it. Started chatting to her, introduced myself and asked whether she thought they may be up for a quick interview about food after their show, after all they had been talking about Pot Noodles, she said she'd ask them (YES! whoop whoop) and they did.
So out the back of the tent with medium sized girl, who was not as excited as I was I must add, I secured an interview with Dick and Dom about their idea of festival food, this was first broadcast on BBC Oxford in August last year but here's the interview to get you in the mood for this year as they boys are back.
I love their views on the perfect food....Pot Noodle, is it the perfect food? It has carbohydrate in the noodles, protein in the dehydrated meat, water which you have to add from the kettle and vegetables in the form of dehydrated peas and other things I'm sure......so surely that's the perfect food - no way!
After the interview we were wandering around aimlessly (as you do at festivals) when I was tapped on the shoulder by a chap in sunglasses with a big grin and a 'hi, how are you doing?' yep, it was Dick, this time the children were impressed with retorts of 'OMG you really are famous Dick from Dick and Dom knows you, wow', to my 10 year old son's eyes that was it, his Mum had made the big time. He was gutted he wasn't there for the interview and so was my 16 year old daughter, maybe this summer they'll get the chance if you're up for another interview guys?
Feeling sad on Sunday as it's the last day, love this event, it's just so relaxing, in fact it was so relaxing I realised that I had absolutely no recordings for my BBC Oxford show Feeding the Family and I ought to get my finger out and DO SOME WORK WOMAN! So I attacked my mates Laiyee and Spencer and got some brilliant material from them, great advice on food from Laiyee and fab tips on camping cooking kit from Spencer, going to go and buy one of those triangia cooking stoves, they sound like the ultimate in camping stuff. However, this is what happens when you leave the kids in the tent and nip off for 20 mins......
I have come to realise that the key things you need when you go to festivals to sort out the food are:
1. My mate Grant
2. Lots of money to spend on the amazing food so you don't have to cook
3. If you want to cook you need WINE, in cartons from M&S or Tesco, or a box, but that may be a little too much, OK, OK, let's stop being silly, I'm supposed to be writing about feeding the family and trying to put on a sensible front, but let's be realisic and change that - once of those whacking great big cartons from the supermarket, preferably red as you won't be able to keep white chilled unless it's flipping freezing, or one of each just in case it's cold.
4. Proper camping cookware and a triangia (is that how you spell them?). Pre cook, chill quickly and freeze the meat/poultry/fish then heat it through thoroughly until it's piping hot and serve.
Ren Harvieu was amazing, so need to get her album
The early edition was great for a Sunday morning
Michael Winslow - brilliant and the kids loved him, we were all in stitches
Rolf Harris, really disappointed we were looking forward to seeing him the most but couldn't hear a word as the sound wasn't working properly, bad show Camp Bestival
Ethan Ash - watch out for this guy, brilliant.
Fairy Free Hugs - the lovely Amy who was dressed as a fairy giving hugs out to everyone, lovely, lovely, lovely
Best bit of the whole weekend was Dick and Dom, Bogies! They were on in East Lulworth and yes I was the adult shouting Bogies at the back, don't care, I love them. Sneaked round the back of the stage and armed with my BBC mic I managed to get an interview with them for BBC Oxford. Made my weekend, their tips on food at a festival, something that is easily transportable, food safe, will last the weekend, has all major food groups and 5 portions of veg.............Pot Noodle. Thanks guys, you were brill. Later on Sunday we were mooching around when a chap tapped me on the shoulder and said 'Hi, good to see you again, you enjoying yourself?' - Dick, my kids were impressed! New best friend, not sure he knows that though.
To round off the night were Happy Mondays, not my thing, should have gone with the teenagers to see Ethan Ash again but Blues Brothers were amazing, then off to the double decker for hot chocolate and toast with small boy before bed.
A damned good weekend, counting down to next year.
Ooh and the flying cow, that was class
We got to bed around 1am, with the teenagers and Dads getting in around 3am after the silent disco which apparently was rubbish. Morning dawned lovely and sunny and out came breakfast, Grant totally showed us up with:
Smoked Salmon and cream cheese bagels
We had a measly selection of pain au chocolat, croissants, waffles and cheerios of with crepes and sugar and lemon which were not great. But we did have the new Myspressi Twist show off coffee maker with nitrogen capsules, OMG total show off coffee making on a campsite, sorry Grant, that blows your smoked salmon out of the water.
Lunch was on site at Chapati Man, our regular meeting spot throughout the week, listening to Jimmy Cliff and Rizzlekicks (brilliant) back for afternoon tea at the tent with homemade cakes then supper out at the Young British Foodies place. The standard of food, as always, was amazing, Scallops with Garlic Mash - this is a festival for goodness sake, so middle class it's untrue but exquisite.
The headline group for Saturday were Chic, didn't catch them as eating supper, Earth Wind and fire and then Kool and the Gang, bit too much of a good thing, could have done with one of them rather than all of them, Kool and the Gang were on at 9.45pm and were a bit boring for a headline Saturday night, more Sunday afternoon lazy music and after Rizzlekicks they just didn't cut it.
Unfortunately the wind started up and it got cold so we huddled in Pig's Big Ballroom and caught the amazing Ethan Ash, the girls went back on Sunday night for his other set, he's really good. Then headed over for DJ Yoda's set, now this was good, way better than Kool and the Gang and Grant and I wished we'd gone straight there and not bothered with the Castle Stage. We've had this before and really should listen to ourselves in future and just hang out at the big top.
To finish off the evening Small Boy and I retired to the top of the double decker bus at midnight for hot chocolate and toast, heaven, we weren't first to be though, got back to find Medium Sized girl already tucked up with rolling pin in hand with the 'what time do you call this?' routine - Mums, you just can't get proper ones!