Tuesday, 16 August 2011

In the Wilderness

Tom has been smelling like a trout lake for the last three days, and I have been smelling like someone who hasn't had a shower.  When we got home yesterday afternoon after our stint in the wilderness, we almost had a physical fight over who was going to have the first shower, and who was going to scrub the tired and cranky kids. It had been three superb days of slighty stressful fun.

I have put on about a stone in weight, because we have been living on a diet solely of pie and chips and cider, apart from the one ostrich burger Tom bought me when I entrusted him to go and get lunch while the girls and I watched The Flying Seagulls show. He was severely reprimanded for this error of judgement.

Tom did a Chi Gung class in a yurt ('even waftier than I expected', was his verdict), he sat on a hay bale in the middle of the field and played a piano, he went on half a foraging expedition (terminated when Dolly's Hula Hoops ran out and she insisted they return to the main site), and he swam in the lake every morning.  Betty threw a pot, made a fairy crown and a felt butterfly, and learnt the art of stone balancing. Dolly spent a few short but specatular moments bashing some drums with a clown on stage. And I made sure there were enough nappies, snacks, and warm clothes at all times. I was almost tempted by the 'gong bath' but was put off by the constant gawping audience, and the giggling kids pointing at the poor person trying to get healed.

The festival had a Boutique Babysitting service, which was absolutely fantastic. Their tent was so warm and welcoming that I would have quite liked to spend a bit of time there myself. And the staff really went the extra mile. I took the kids along to have a look at their tent, and they loved it - in fact it was their favourite part of the whole festival. The lovely lady said we could leave them there til 11.30pm if we liked, at no extra charge.

So we dropped the girls off with great excitement and a tremendous sense of freedom. We could go and watch a gig, hang out at the masked ball, eat fine food, listen to a talk, drink cider, anything we liked. We ended up sitting in silence in a beer tent opposite the babysitting service, eating pie and chips and watching for any signs that our children might want us to come and get them. The pressure became unbearable after about an hour: we collected them and went off for an early night. We lay there smugly in our sleeping bags, listening to people stumbling around in the dark trying to find their tents and tripping over guy ropes throughout the night. The sun had not yet gone down when we'd gone back so we'd cleverly avoided that problem.

On the last night Betty and Dolly dressed up in their fairy/princess costumes and rocked out to Mercury Rev. Tom had promised to take Betty dancing all weekend and this was the moment. There was a fabulous atmosphere, it wasn't raining, and for a while we were all completely chilled out and happy.

It all went tits up when Betty and Dolly, in their excitement, accidentally bashed heads, so we bundled the wailing pair up and started making our way across the field towards our tent for another early night. Then the opening strings of the song 'The dark is rising' drifted across the site, and lured us straight back to the gig. Tom had wooed me with this song ten years previously, in a flat in Bayswater, and now here we were listening to it live, in the company of a couple of miniature humans who looked like us.


Wilderness, is a new three-day festival of music, food, theatre, literary debate and outdoor pursuits located among the lakes, forests and ancient parkland on Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Estate - a weekend of freedom and inspiration for all free-spirited festival lovers.   
http://www.wildernessfestival.com/

15 comments:

Nel said...

That sounds like fab, mucky, smelly fun!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

Brilliant time had, albeit a little stressful, lol. Never a dull moment when there's kids about!

CJ xx

Elsie Button said...

Hi Nel, that's exactly what it was :)

Elsie Button said...

Hi CJ, yes, it's funny tho, Tom and I were thrilled at the prospect of a child-free evening, but when it came to it, I just wanted to go back and get them back almost straight away! x

Emma said...

That sounds fantastic!

Elsie Button said...

Hi Emma, totally recommend it! x

MelkshamMum said...

Sounds fab, may have to check it out further! It wouldn't be a full festival experience with kiddies if it didn't go tits up at least once whilst there!

Vera said...

Sounds like a jolly good bash! However, methinks it is not quite so hectic as dealing with five baby chickens who think I am their mum!

Nora said...

I have to laugh about your Baby Sitting Service experience. Sounds like something I would have done back in the years. I always missed my kids too much, you know?

Elsie Button said...

Hi MelkshamMum, yes, things went tits up a few times, but like you say, it's all part of it. On the whole tho, the kids were really good - they just loved it!

Elsie Button said...

Hi Vera, ha ha oh dear! I have to say am a little envious - I LOVE baby chicks - i am not an animal lover but chicks I love!!

Hi Nora, I am glad you have said that, because i did feel a little pathetic about it all - i just felt the whole fest experience was actually more fun with them there

Sam Cleasby said...

Hi there

Glad you enjoyed Wilderness, we had a blast!

Hope you enjoyed the stone balancing, you can find out more about us at http://www.responsiblefishinguk.co.uk or on our facebook page where we have posted loads of photos from the weekend, have a look at see if you can see yourselves. http://www.facebook.com/pages/Responsible-Fishing-UK/180617181970001

Great blog post!

Sam
Reesponsible Fishing UK

Elsie Button said...

Hi Sam, thanks for visiting! yes, my kids loved the stone balancing - you guys were v impressive!

Iota said...

That sounds FANTASTIC, and I love your last line about the miniature humans who look like you both.

I have been that person lying on the floor while someone beats gongs above my body. I didn't giggle, though it was hard not to. I tried to feel what it was doing to me, and did persuade myself that it was resonating with my body rhythms or something. I wouldn't ever pay for it as a therapy, though. It was a free demonstration, and I was picked out as a 'volunteer'. Bet you didn't know we had stuff like that going on in the Midwest.

Elsie Button said...

hi iota, i must confess, the main reason i was tempted is because I fancied a 10 minute respite, and a lie down...