Monday, 12 July 2010

Walk Awhile, Walk Awhile, Walk Awhile With Me... (Cropredy 2009 Part One)

Photo's from the top:-

Outside Jo's studio.
Haddy and Jo.
Jim, Vicki and Haddy
outside the Hare and
Hounds at Wardington.
Me and Madame at same.
From the left-Annie,
Mickey Windows, Jim,
Vicki in distance in
white hat, Liz and Haddy.
Haddy queueing for armbands
with James in stripey shirt
(the others had all nipped
off to the loo...)

She made it !
Finally… After having to pay our government twice because the bastards refused point blank to actually carry out any checks on me which they could and should quite easily have done to see if I was the person I think I am, or even say I am ?
Or am I somebody else ?
I dunno… But I’ve had to pay twice to get her the visa to get here so referring to that bunch of corrupt and grasping slimeballs without swearing or calling them names is probably going to be impossible ?
She’s managed to miss Rhythms of the World (which is all over on the myspace site or will be when I finish it) because of it, but Cropredy falls just right and she’s here with two weeks to spare and I’m literally over the moon…
This is going to be one really happy time for the pair of us, and to be honest it couldn’t come soon enough.

The last time we’d seen each other there were tears at the airport in Banjul when I left The Gambia, and now we’ve got tears at Gatwick when she’d finally got through immigration control and now we’ve got just under a two hour drive but it’s after midnight as J.J.Cale once wrote, and so we might just let it all hang out and make it home through the cones in maybe an hour and a bit ?
Not that I’m admitting to breaking the speed limit but if those bloody variable speed signs are still working at this time of night then somebody at Thames Valley Plod needs their bloody head examining.
I reckon they just leave them on because they can’t be arsed to turn them off ?

Acclimatising… That’s what we call it.
Getting used to being in a different place and hopefully having the time to just settle in slowly without any pressure.
It’s great !
A meet the parents trip and a couple of do’s at weekends including a trip to my friend Jo’s art studio just to get into the swing of things and a couple of weeks later we’re off together to Haddy’s first ever British folk festival date.
See… The thing is, I’ve been going for years and have rung her near the end of the festival for three years running, and she, being the music lover that she is, has even imported a few Fairport Convention albums into The Gambia where her youngest daughter has taken on their version of Brilliancy Medley/Cherokee Shuffle and actually folk danced it from start to finish.
Ok, it’s more like an African version of Riverdance(ing) but when Mariama and her friend Ida get into it with a couple of their young friends it is fast, furious and frenetic with no holds barred and no quarter given.
You either keep up until the end, or drop exhausted under foot ?
Those are the only two options.

And so here we are, ready to go…
It’s eight o’clock on Thursday morning and the M25 and A41 are beckoning.
It’s going to be her first ever time sleeping in a tent, too…
That’s going to be interesting.
But everything has been checked over and packed and hopefully we’ve left nothing to chance.
She has always wondered why I go to these things ?
Working at them and performing at them she understands, but actually going as a punter is something else again.
These sorts of thing don’t tend to occur in The Gambia but to be honest, they have the talent so there is really no reason why they couldn’t ?
The plan is we all, and there are a few of us, meet up at The Hare and Hounds at Wardington which is the next village to Cropredy at 10.30, but that’s never going to happen as the traffic is going to get worse the closer we get, and if the A361 is jammed as usual then we’ve got no chance.
We text Annie and Shakey as soon as we get on the M40 but they’re about to come off it so we’re about 20 miles behind them and we’re ok for time, until they send a text back to say the 361 is jammed…
No change there, then.
So we’re stuck on the A361 for about three quarters of an hour but finally we’re through and there’s the pub…
And there’s Jim and Vicki, and Annie and Shakey, and Liz, James and Mickey Windows… and then there’s us...
Only another dozen or so to go, then ?
At just past midday we’ve all arrived and have been suitably watered and our cars are now numbered to try and keep us together through the festival traffic.
It’s a good idea which we’ve used for years, and sometimes the Banbury police actually let us stay in convoy rather than splitting us in the middle.
I’m not criticising them, they try their best, which is in complete contrast to most forces throughout the country who seem not to care one iota, but it’s nice to know that they do try.
Maybe it’s because most of them seem to enjoy the weekend as much as most of the punters, and I’m not even going to mention the overtime ?
Who knows ?
They are probably the most helpful police I have ever come across at any festival anywhere, and that is worth a fair bit, believe me.
Another two and a half hours and we’re on site and the tents are up…
Yay !
We’re only four rows of cars from the toilets and showers…
That is a serious bonus.
Karen isn’t here this year as she’s been feeling ill recently and didn’t want to chance it, but Rob’ is, and so the lagers and hot dogs are doing the rounds as soon as is convenient and the general plan is…
More alcohol…
And probably even more alcohol…
And there’s always the festival ?
Looks like it’s the Cricket Club after we’ve all got our armbands, and then we’ll start pairing off between alcohol and festival.
Buzzcocks, Steve Winwood, John Jorgenson, Richard Thompson, Fairport, and a very special guest who shall remain nameless for the moment, here we come…
The weekend starts here…
And the queueing starts now.

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