Friday, 31 July 2015

Latitude festival 2015 Part 2

Latitude 2015

We pick up the tale on Friday morning when I awoke with distinctly stuff shoulders in a rather stuffy tent. After a hurried wet-wipe wash and |I'd pulled on some clean clothes a hasty exit was made into the fresh morning air. We soon felt revived after a coffee and set off in search of a bacon butty (which was to become our staple breakfast for our stay.... with varying degrees of pleasure in the way the bacon was cooked).

There is just so much going on at once that it's inevitable you will miss a few things you really want to see. Hazel bought a program book, it really was a book! We scoured the timetable for things that took our fancy and each day highlighted a few things to try to get along to see. Throughout the weekend I had about 4 things that I particularly wanted to see and the rest of the time was up for grabs; just enjoying the time in good company with some live entertainment.

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It turns out that there is almost always something great going on in the Comedy and Cabaret areas; we saw loads of amusing people (mostly stand up acts) who really made me laugh. I cried with laughter at Alan Davies, he was hilarious. I'm very much a laugher, I love to be entertained and watching so many funny people was an absolute treat which I thoroughly enjoyed.

The weather for the entire weekend was unbelievably good. Warm and sunny every single day, temperatures at a perfect level with a cooling soft breeze to maintain a comfortable equilibrium. We neither burned, nor froze. Naturally we applied sun cream each day and I usually carried a jumper just in case (which also came in handy for sitting on sometimes). The blue skies say it all really. Some mornings it was cloudy to start off with and on the Sunday morning it rained on and off for a while between about 6 and 9 am which meant my vacation of the tent was delayed.

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I was particularly grateful we brought along our camping stove and kettle so we could feed our coffee habit relatively cheaply on Azera (not quite as nice as our Dolce Gusto machine we have spoilt ourselves with at home) and chairs. It made for a rather Royal experience to neither stand nor sit on the floor and instead have a wonderful seat take my weight.

A pint of almost cold cider was relished on rather a few occasions. Somersby. Would recommend for all sweet toothed drinkers. I also tried to stay hydrated with plenty of water and fuelled with plenty of food. We tried to eat a variety of things on offer. My favourite being pie and mash then second favourite was pizza. Oh yum.

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The Lake stage was a dark horse for music; being quite small and pretty much just part of the food wagon line up it was quite nonchalant in appearance but I enjoyed every single act we had the fortune to catch playing. Varying Rae Morris (who had a beautiful voice and we saw most of her set) we arrived at the Lake stage in time to catch the last two songs of each act before they scuttled off, never to return.

The BBC 6 Music tent was huge. Enormous. I insisted we went in for Wolf Alice. It was awesome except mother nature called loudly and I announced with no uncertainty that I had to pee NOW. Sadly, I caught my most favourite track with a lot of added reverb inside a portaloo but I guess I'll remember it at least. I kinda sung along. Catfish and the Bottlemen was another of the acts I wanted to see in the tent and they didn't disappoint. On the whole the atmosphere was pretty good; music too loud, bit hot in there but always a few idiots who think they're special enough to shove their way through a tightly packed crowd to get nearer the front (cue me repeatedly saying SERIOUSLY?)

I can't believe I'm nowhere near wrapping this up yet, there will be at least another part in the Latitude saga, stay tuned!

Sophie

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Mid summer at the allotment

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It's been a while since I did an allotment update, although time has flown by. As I don't get down there a fraction as much as C the plot tends to look quite different every time I do put in an appearance. That 'everything's shot up' moment happened on the Monday we got back from Latitude when I suggested we needed a few hours down there to get things back under control. Suddenly there was three times the amount of greenery on the plants we were growing as well as a large number of weeds. I was on weeding duty, of course. I took before and after pictures (not all shown) but the first shot is before which is why it looks so weedy and horrid! Also, it went from blue skies and sunny to black clouds so a couple of pictures look from a totally day.

The strawberry boom has finally finished. We have two bags in the freezer for making into jam at some point in the future. Apparently the first few raspberries are starting to ripen now so I'm looking forward to them. I'd got rather used to eating a huge portion of soft fruit on a daily basis...

The courgettes have been going great guns, too much so in fact. Our courgettes look like giant marrows and there are many of them which has led to me being somewhat creative in using it up, post of this to come maybe. The turnips have been lovely, I don't think I've really eaten many before but they have a lovely taste and have grown well. The beetroots are ready now too and I'm looking forward to trying ours. We've had a few of our potatoes too which I've enjoyed.

As a first, our cauliflowers have grown up without getting annihilated by wildlife and lurgies which has been brilliant although they are generally quite gritty and bug filled so I'm not a massive fan of them coming into the kitchen before being prepped. The broccoli seem to be fronding but without a big bushy head so we've taken snippets and eaten them. I think the runner beans and broad beans are looking like they'll be ready soon (not a massive fan of these) and the sweet corn are coming along nicely.

I'm pleased with how it's going so far.

Sophie

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Latitude 2015 Part 1

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Almost two weeks ago now we were setting off for our very first proper festival, Latitude, in the neighbouring county of Suffolk. I'd booked the tickets back in January without taking much time to find out much information beforehand, deciding that this year we were going to get out and enjoy a good lot of live music. It just so happens that Latitude is a much bigger festival than I imagined, with an astonishing number of acts appearing over the weekend (seriously, the mind boggles).

We rolled up in pre-meditated convoy with Hazel on Thursday afternoon and parked in a huge area filled with vehicles, with no sign of the entrance on the horizon. It was at this point I first regretted over packing. Hazel lifted her boot and I saw only two bags, which alarmed me as our boot and back seats were piled high with all manner of camping supplies and sundries. After a brief head-scratch it became apparent that absolute essentials were the priority on the first trip. Tickets, tent and the first wave of oddments. Somehow C managed an excellent impression of buckaroo and piled himself high with a selection of items, three times the quantity I could bear. The walk to the main gate was a sort of draggy-shuffle with bags rubbing against legs and gnarled fingers numbing under the weight of straps. We did make it to the check in area where there was no queue at that point. Once wristbands were secured we burst out into the camping field and surveyed the vast area in front; this was the second time I regretted over packing. With a vague idea of direction we set off in the general setting of 'away from the entrance, away from toilets' before settling on a patch in the red camping area. Being well-seasoned campers (and refreshed with a dry run the weekend before) we made short work of putting up our medium sized, very practical 6 man tent. It was a shame that we forgot the mallet, but pegs were secured sufficiently but no more (and far better than some of the rubbish attempts we saw. At least we put our guy lines out). Once we'd got this sorted I insisted we hired a trolley for the remaining two thirds of our stuff and if you ask me, that was the best £10 we spent all weekend. By the time we'd finished all that I was relieved that it was over.

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The first visit to the toilets was a little alarming. In some unfortunate twist I picked possibly the one cubicle (if you can call it that) without a lock and also there was no sign of any loo roll, thank goodness I had the foresight to carry plenty on me at all times. Toilet paper is on a stand next to the toilets so you have to make a guestimate of how much you are going to need in front of a small crowd. Again, patting self on back for carrying plenty of extra in my bag.

There is something worrisome about a toilet door which shows feet and doesn't lock. The raised tin toilet blocks reminded me closely of the metal crates that cows get lined up in for milking. I was uncomfortable with the concept for a while but 24 hours in resignation took over and just not having to queue for long was a joy.

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The Thursday late afternoon dissolved into evening as we walked through the 'village' and into the main arena area. The village holds a great array of places for the weekend campers, including first aid, a supermarket and the showers. We didn't make it to the showers (yuk, I know. But we used a bazillion baby wipes), the opening hours were limited and the queues were crazy. Word is that they're communal too which doesn't bother me as such. An all in one shower gel/shampoo would be best for an almighty wash down and swift exit.

Not much goes on on Thursday, it's quiet and relaxed with people milling around steadily. We took a wander around the site, trying to familiarise ourselves with the place and find our feet with a trip to the bar. Cider was my beverage of choice for the weekend. Tiredness decided we needed an early-ish night so we headed back to the tent just in time to miss all the fireworks. Typical.

As I've waffled on so much I'll have to post the rest in at least one other piece. Keep your eyes peeled.

Sophie

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

My habitat

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The place I prefer to be at all times; the countryside. The fresh air, it comes in many different natural fragrances; from the heavenly light floral notes of blossom and blooms to the absolute gag inducing smothering smells of animal waste. It's a mixed bag, you never know what's coming. The evenings in late spring are absolutely divine when the warmth of the sun heats up the blossom through the day then the ambrosial perfume is wafted through the air for those who care to promenade at dusk.

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The long grasses which tickle bare legs, the wild flowers nestled within. The spikey spiny thistles who prick fingers, fiercely standing their ground. Stinging nettles lurking in odd spots as well as in swathes; their lanky figures packed in together in a show of strength. Papery, silky leaves laden with poison, just waiting for their next unsuspecting victim to absent-mindedly brush past. The split second delay before the yelp of realisation, stinging, throbbing, soon to be joined by angry raised blobs on the skin which scream out to be scratched. They pulse relentlessly, begging for fingernails to relieve their constant irritation... To buckle or resist? Temptation runs rife.

Weeds that grow over six foot high. Do they know they're unnaturally tall? Do they laugh amongst themselves in shared smug pleasure at how nothing can get between their mighty leaves and the sun, with no-on but one another to cast a shadow.

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Sophie