Thursday, 26 May 2016

Rain, Hula-Hoops, Music, Muffins and Mud...


John and I bought a new tent recently, and a little one-ring stove. We were getting ready for last weekend. Like half the residents of Nether Edge, we were all excited, because our favourite music venue, Café #9, had decided to put on a mini music festival!


It was very do-it-yourself: Jonny hired a field, a generator, a couple of portaloos and some hay bales, bought a big star-shaped marque, then divvied up the cost between about 40 participants and everyone else mucked in to make it happen. Various people offered their different skills and we had a bunting-making evening at the café. 

On the Friday afternoon, John and I helped to get things set up.


The sun was shining and the reservoir was glinting behind tall pine trees. Jonny's wife India unpacked buckets of beautiful things and turned our little encampment into a colourful paradise of flowers and lights, pom-poms and cushions. The stage was set!


The music was mainly in the evenings, but people had offered to run different activities during the day. John organised a Saturday morning walk. I offered a sketching session for Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately the rain put paid to most of that... Yes, there was rain. Then more rain.


At least we got our tent up before it hit. By Friday night though, it was pouring down and those coming after work weren't so lucky.


It poured and poured. India's paper stars dissolved. The wind blew the rain in and her cushions and throws wicked up water. It put out the fires. The rain might have dampened everything in sight, but it didn't dampen our spirits. Oh no. We Nether-Edgers are a tough lot.


We huddled under our marquee and ate and drank and chatted and sang. People played guitars, someone brought out a mandolin. Someone arrived with home-baked cheese muffins. someone else brought out a wind-up gramophone and a pile of old 78 records:


In moments when the deluge slowed to a drizzle, kids ran around and people hula-hooped:


Somehow the time became half past two in the morning and we dashed back through the rain to our tents.


Next day started dry, so John's walk went ahead. It was great to see where we actually were. We walked up onto the moors and around the reservoir. We were out for two and a half hours and only got rained on once. It was saving itself...


Yep. Saturday afternoon and evening were EVEN WETTER! Was this possible? John described it best: the rain was biblical. The thing was, even though we couldn't do all the dancing, painting, yoga and star-gazing we had planned, the weather almost did us a favour. Because we spent the whole time together in the marquee, sitting on our hay bales, we really got to know each other and I made so many new friends.


Then in the evening, when the bands arrived the wonderful music totally eclipsed the rain. The main act were the fabulous Goat Ropers Rodeo Band, all the way from Rhyl. Fantastic.


As you can see, I did plenty of painting, though it got tricky as it got dark and we were operating with decorative lights alone.


Some time around midnight the rain stopped. Dan, who had set up a cocktail bar from the back of his van, brought out a record player and a massive pile of LPs. We danced in the mud, in wellies and walking boots, cocktails in hand, to hits from the 70 and 80s mostly. The best boogie I've had in a long while. Numbers dwindled gradually. At half three, John and I gave it up, but apparently the last few stopped up until 5.30!


Sunday was glorious. While those who had to get home packed up their stuff,  we put on the kettle for constant tea and a small encampment of 'morning-afters' lounged around our tent.


There was some guitar playing, a bit more hula-hooping, but mostly we just wanted to chill. The Café #9 bus served coffees.


A bass player was discovered asleep under a hay bale. 


And then it was time to pack up ourselves. The stragglers mucked in to help clear up and ferry things back into Jonny's van and we said our final goodbyes. not that final though - Jonny is already planning another one for mid summer!


Thanks to various people for taking such great photos, especially Charlie Osguthorpe. And of course thanks to Jonny, for such a brilliant idea and having the energy to make it happen.

4 comments:

Charlie Osguthorpe said...

I think an extra big thank you should go to you Lynne, Your drawings and description are wonderful. I look forward to the next one.

Monica said...

Wonderful drawing that conveyed a great time, in the rain.

Jennie C. said...

Hi! I just found your blog because I was thinking of getting your book, Sketching People. I love your sketches, and your enthusiasm and encouragement, so I think I will. :-) Also, I'll be visiting you here again!

Lynne the Pencil said...

Thanks so much guys. Welcome aboard Jenny :-D Hope you enjoy my book!