I’m back at my desk today after a long weekend away at the Livestock festival. The boys wanted to stay home alone this time, and at 16 and 18 I guess it’s only natural not to want to party with Mum and Dad! I thought it would do them good to fend for themselves (with the help of pizzas and pot noodles!) for a day or two and they seemed rather pleased with the prospect.
The festival was only 20 minutes away from our home, down some very quiet roads, winding through open countryside, a small town and a tiny village. The sun was shining with all it’s might and Hubby and I were as free as birds for the next few days.
After last years long car drives down to Dorset for the Jurassic Rocks Festival and the even longer car drive to Somerset for the Watchet Festival it was refreshing to arrive in minutes, not hours, feeling full of beans, bouncing with energy just waiting to be spent in the dance tents!
This was the traffic at it’s very worst this time – got to admit this JCB did slow us down for a couple of miles, but after last years debacle of five hours to travel 80 miles to Watchet on a grubby, jam packed motorway, stuck behind a huge filthy lorry, this was heaven!
But I’m leaping ahead here in my enthusiasm to re-live my little holiday! Just as last years festivals began with a crochet project, this one was no exception. All packing – for any amount of time away from my beloved studio, be it an hour or a week – must begin with a suitable crochet project for take-a-long hooky entertainment purposes.
I got a great deal on this Rowan yarn in a local department store where it was on the kind of offer you simply can’t refuse (though just for the record, I find it difficult to refuse beautiful yarn whether it’s on offer or not). These were marked down at just £12 for 10 balls. How could you possibly walk on by?!
I wanted to make something to wear this time. The project had to be super simple and easily portable so I plumped for a pretty lattice work shawl made up of rows of linked chains that I found on Crochet and Other Stuff.
My yarn is heavier than that used in the original but I just upped the hook size to a 5 mm and decided to keep the starting chain the same size in the hope I would get a more generously sized shawl – just right for keeping off the evening chills. Yeah, I know, I could have done a gauge swatch but for some reason I avoid those things whenever there appears to be the remotest possibility of getting away without one! This cartoon by Natalie Dee ticks all my boxes with regard to swatch attitude!
I made sure I crocheted up the first few rows before we headed off. It’s a terrible moment when you get to your destination only to find the pattern is indecipherable, or there are bits of it missing, or maybe you just picked up the wrong hook size. Always do a taster session before you leave the house! Having taken my own advice on this matter I can report that this pattern is a dream to work, nicely written, fully complete and my hook size was just perfect.
Looking good so far. Now the crochet-to-go is sorted, and the flower crowns and sun hat are located it’s time to start thinking about all the other less important stuff, you know, like bedding, clothes, food, money, tent…
Hubby is in charge of all the big stuff because he thinks it’s all so much more important than crochet (poor deluded fool!) and doesn’t trust me to get the balance right, fearing we may just end up going away in a van packed to the roof with yarn and very little else!
But see here, I know how to pack… Here are all my essentials. I’m hoping I have every weather eventuality covered. Wellies and flip flops, waterproof and sunhat, cosy blankets and sun cream. That should be enough stuff for pretty much anything the British summer can throw at us.
And just in case I feel like a break from crocheting I’ve packed my kindle and a sketch book. And of course my festival owl purse is coming with me, containing my lucky rune stone and enough emergency money for a few scrumpy ciders.
So let’s go! Well I already told you a little bit about the journey and as it’s so local there’s not much else to add on that subject. We arrived at the campsite in the early afternoon. Still sunny and pleased to soak up the wonderful views of the Malvern Hills. (They’re the ones in my summer banner at the top of this blog by the way).
A lovely first glimpse, which just got lovelier as we rounded the corner into the farm.
We were glad to see oodles of camping space in the fields below. I like a bit of an empty bubble around my tent if at all possible, and here it was very much possible as long as you didn’t mind a five minute walk to the main field, which is fine with me. After a short drive around to find our perfect spot it was time to fling our pop up tent out of the van, pump up the inflatable sofa bed and get all the bedding in to bring it up to a maximum of 11 on the comfort scale.
Festival Owl graces the doorway of the tent…
…and the nibbles and liquid refreshment are ready and waiting, it’s time to study the programme and start making a plan of action…
…which basically was to get down to the main field to see what we could see. A lot of people, a couple of stages, a double decker comedy bus, sunshine, flags, hay bales, food bars and a beer tent. Lovely!
I whiled away some of the afternoon adding rows of relaxing chain stitches to the shawl.
A delicious dish of seafood paella and a pint of scrumpy to wash it down with is a sure way to get the mood on an upswing.
We watched our shadows grow longer as the sun sank lower.
By the way, I’m not actually trying to make an ostrich or a diplodocus shadow puppet with my hand here, just trying to get a good perspective by holding up the camera!
As the sun sets on the first evening we take some time to admire the awesomeness.
Then get our groove on at the main stage, bouncing up and down enthusiastically and singing very loudly and way out of tune to The Feeling, who were in tune enough and loud enough to cover my less than perfect voice. (I never do karaoke).
More food and a few more glugs of cider later and it was time to settle down, backs against a hay bale and wrapped in the blankets we brought from the tent, to watch the film – Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. A nice way to end our own lovely day off, and with a few more to look forward to yet we wended our weary way back to our tent, happy and tired in equal measures. After a little moon and star gazing we had one of the best festival sleeps ever. The extra five minutes walking to the outskirts of the site paid dividends and the Quiet Camping Field was exactly as it should be. A bit of peace after all the bustle was very welcome and I drifted off to the sound of Hubby snoring. Nothing new there then!
In the morning we woke refreshed and ready to head off early to Tewkesbury to treat ourselves to a full english breakfast on a proper china plate with proper stainless steel cutlery and a drink of tea that doesn’t come in a paper cup (impossible to find at festivals!). A look around the town resulted in an unexpected purchase. I’ve actually been searching for two new chairs for the kitchen and a second chair for upstairs in my studio for ages with no luck at all. Then, lo and behold, on our way back from our breakfast we find three perfect candidates all sitting outside a second hand shop. I just had to have them, so they ended up back at the tent with us.
They’re going to fit in a treat back at home, though I must admit they look a little incongruous in a camping scene!
You can see that the shawl was growing nicely by now thanks to the leisurely few hours sat in the pub over our long and lazy breakfast. I’d used up about four balls of yarn at this point and so still had six left. Definitely enough to finish up on this project with plenty to spare.
I’m really pleased with the way it drapes, the yarn is incredibly soft and not a hint of a prickle or an itch when you hold it next to your skin.
As for the evening we pretty much repeated what we did the previous day, this time with Toploader and Scouting For Girls as the main music acts and Monty Python’s Life of Brian on at the outdoor cinema.
We found time to go back to the tent just after it got dark and saw a most excellent sight of the moon rising from behind the hills opposite our tent. It always looks so huge when it’s close to the horizon and sure was a pretty thing to rest your eyes upon. These photos don’t even nearly do it justice but I wanted to share a few anyway because it was just such a special and lovely thing to see.
The following day we woke up to yet more sunshine. A late breakfast of a fried egg roll and black coffee coupled with more crochet work on the shawl kickstarted my good mood as we sat and listened to the first bands at around midday.
The battery on my camera ran out here so this is where I have to leave you all but I’m sure you get the idea by now! It may have been a micro festival compared to the likes of Glastonbury or Latitude but we had a thoroughly good time, though after day three we were both ready for a real bed again and some solid brick walls around us, especially as the weather began to take a turn for the worst.
I’ve loved living the good life out here in the fields, getting back to nature and away from the familiar, but it’s good to be home again and to find that the boys managed to look after themselves, the house and the cats admirably. Oh, and it’s quite nice to be plugging back into the grid too. I missed my computer just a tiny bit!
Now it’s back to work, hitting the ground running. I’ve got lots to be getting on with this week. Looking forward to sharing it all with you in my next post. Thanks for stopping by!