Monday, August 9, 2010
Glamping - lights, music and toilet paper!
Now there's camping and there's glamping. Until recently, well last weekend, I was a camper. Camping is that quaint outdoor pursuit that I love, on paper, until the rain starts to tip tap on the canvas before you have even finished pitching the tent, and rarely subsides until you have packed everything up again and decamped back to full plumbing and hot showers.
I've camped in England with varying degrees of success - last time we left early because of relentless downpours and the girls didn't speak to me all the way home and told me I had ruined their best holiday EVER. Forget Caribbean beaches and Alpine lakes, they love not seeing a toothbrush or the inside of a shower cubicle for days on end. What I remember about that particular trip was sitting in the laundry room at our New Forest site with my Manc friend Clare, who is a tough cookie, trying to warm up next to the tumble dryers.
Italy was fun last year but the opposite extreme, so hot that it was almost impossible to sleep.
So with the Big Chill beckoning, and a dry Glastonbury for the first time in years, I felt strangely confident as we packed up all our camping gear the day we left France. The fact that it took up three quarters of the boot, and that was without our months-worth of luggage, hair straighteners, beauty products...three females equals a lot of stuff....was not a worry for me, although Iain had to drive 1000 miles without a rear view.
Then two things happened. We saw the weather forecast for last weekend...showers...and noticed an advert for Yurtel on the BC website...yurts with double beds, proper quilts, electric lights, lamps, even carpet for God's sake. Oh and no forgetting an eyemask and ear plugs for the discerning festival goer who likes to sleep at some point. How did we miss this, opined Iain, who tries to avoid every camping trip with excuses like work, bike trips and frozen shoulders. He also mentioned something about being able to read in bed if the music got too much for him. So with less than 24 hours to go, we booked one and spent the next hour unpacking all aforementioned gear in sunny Herts before setting off.
The fact that we had a. all bought wellies, b. booked a luxe alternative and c. even thought to borrow the waterproofs that had been forgotten in our haste to pack meant of course that it didn't rain at all, well apart from one sharp downpour on Friday, which just meant beating a hasty retreat into the Thali tent for a fabulous Indian.
But if you think that's extravagant, the Lotterys can beat it. N&T had booked a hotel 8 miles away, then decided to join us Yurting, but didn't want to lose the full English breakfast and en suite that even the yurtel couldn't provide so kept their rooms on, sleeping on site and rushing off each morning for three hours to 'freshen up'. Needless to say, Issy became a Lottery for the duration of the trip.
My highlights? Mystery Jets' brilliant set on the Clash stage on Friday night, they thanked the crowd for sticking with them rather than watching Massive Attack on the big momma stage but they needn't have bothered because they were SO much better, and The Magic Numbers yesterday, who have made a few of my favourite tracks ever. Plan B was also magnetic live, not what I expected at all, and went down a storm. Lily Allen proved that pregnancy doesn't have to stop you having a good time and Paloma Faith and Newton Faulkner were also good value. Plus loads of little unknown bands, including Hundred in the Hands, who are really super talented.
Iain's highlights? The dozens of world food stalls serving everything from Lebanese wraps to Goan fish curry and everything in between. His mission was to try as many as possible and reader, he didn't fail.
Issy's highlights? Setting up a three day residence at the dodgem stand, she and Poppy must've spent every pound of their not inconsiderable pocket money whizzing round at speed bashing as many people as they could.
Liv and Lyd checked out the talent at the festival too, most of which had nothing to do with music, so everyone was happy. But the joy of arriving back to a toilet that doesn't resemble the one in Slumdog Millionaire cannot be denied.