The Mara has long been the image of Africa. It is hauntingly beautiful, wild and largely untamed land with vast, open plains that roll on for hundreds of square miles. I was struck when I first came here by the way the Maasai seem to glide across each blade of grass, their feet barely touching the ground.
Yes there was amazing music, yes there were unbelievable djs, yes the food was incredible. But for me, what made my first festival so brilliant, were these moments of 'festival love'. The sense of community that seemed to flow through and unite everyone there. We were all having the same experience.
Don't know about anyone else, but once the mercury hits above 20 - I shed the skin of a (semi) responsible person and get utterly side tracked by the pursuit of pleasure. That dead area at the beginning of the week (I think they call it Sunday-Tuesday) becomes a gin-sodden round of boozy picnics, 'just the one' after work drinks/dins and pub garden pick me ups...
It was our own fault that we'd had beans for lunch. And supper. In fact it struck me that beans should never have become a campfire staple. As my son continued to sleep-fart it also struck me that essentially we were sleeping in a highly flammable bag filling up with methane next to an open fire. This not being the most relaxing of thoughts - I decided to get up and douse the fire.
Hiking and camping isn't so simple. It has taken me a month of trial and (mostly) error to realize that I didn't need to bring anything at all. I could have bought everything I needed in the camping shop by the bus station in Chanea, Crete's main port, where I did in fact buy an excellent sleeping bag and mat.
My favourite time of the year is fast approaching; knee-deep mud, a legendary line up and traditionally wet weather can only mean Glastonbury is upon us. Of course, just like every year, there's a chance that we may see some sunshine over the weekend, which leads me to the dilemma I have each and every time I pack for a festival. What on earth do I take?!
We are a country of grumps. You may already have thought this to be the case, but now there are hard statistics to back up your suspicions. A new survey for the Camping and Caravanning Club shows that 63% of us feel Britain as a nation has nothing to look forward to this summer, and nearly as many agreed that they have nothing to look forward to personally.