A wise woman once told me that I should take wellies to a festival. Naturally, I ignored her, because she is my mother. Naturally, she was right - my Ked's and I paid the ultimate price. I don't think either of us will be fully clean again...
Let me explain. I was at Bestival last weekend on the Isle Of Wight. Trying to be clever (don't all bad plans start that way?), I travelled via a quick detour to Goodwood Revival in Sussex because I'd been offered a ride in a Ford GT40 round the track. I arrived for my over-night armed with spa kit and a wheeley case shoved with impractical-but-cute clothes (I'd raided the Missguided festival edit), plus frighteningly little camping gear. I'll admit freely that there were several holes to my plan.
Over lunch, it was gently broken to me that the weather forecast for my Bestival debut was borderline horrific. I confessed I hadn't packed anything that might keep me remotely warm or dry "because it was sunny when I left London". Somebody bought me a poncho.
As team Ford merrily waved me off on my voyage (seriously. It took me 2 trains, a ferry, a bus and a long walk to reach my new temporary abode. If you can even call it that..), it vaugely occured to me that I probably should have taken the whole festival part of the weekend a little more seriously. But Amazon had sent me a tent, which was safely stowed in the aforementioned wheeley. I felt nothing but practical and frankly slightly invincible. I'd been in the army. I was gonna nail this.
I didn't nail this. Sarah and I arrived on-site around 8.30pm, just in time for the place to be plunged into darkness, highlighting nothing but failure number one: no torch. We ambled along the rows of tents until we found a space that sort of looked like our tent might fit in it, maybe. We set about erecting the thing, dilligently ignoring the instructions and quietly making a sea of enemies amongst the better-prepared campers now subjected to our noise and (we thought) hilarious inadequacy.
If I'm honest, the tent never really resembled a tent. More a sheet with a couple of poles sticking out at odd angles. So why I was surprised to wake on Sunday morning to find a veritable lake running through our sleeping bags, I'm not sure. I really had no right to be.
Note: This - clearly - was not our tent. But I am so ashamed of our efforts, I'm using some creative licence here...
We abandoned Chez Sarah & Olivia with extreme haste, wrapped ourselves in the Parajumpers jackets I'd brought purely because I liked their colours, (note: not at all for the practical benefit. which transpired to be simply mammoth), and headed for the refuge of the Jagemeister JagerHaus. Slowly, I might add - I was aquaplaning through the mud. No wellies, remember.
Turns out, a rainy Saturday is VERY well spent working your way through a Jager cocktail menu and the contents of my last-minute snack pack (somehow my KIND bars avoided the flood. Sadlly, the prawn crackers did not fair so well. The less said about that soggy disaster the better...).
It was around 5pm as we watched Craig David that Sarah and I began plotting an early departure. I'd been wearing the damn poncho from Goodwood over my clothes and backpack all day (my new Cannon from Curry's PC World was stowed in there and no way was that falling victim of the day), and was generally bored of feeling gross. And then the sun came out. Which I think Craig David loosely took credit for (I mean....). I was too busy doing a victory dance. All was forgiven - we stayed.
I'm going back next year.