Wednesday, July 12, 2017

My Glastonbury 2017 Review: Part 3, The Road To Bella's Bridge


When I saw the weather forecast before I went to Glastonbury I decided to treat myself to a new pair of sunglasses and I lashed out £33 on a nice pair of shades in Boots of Warminster. I thought I would look really cool wearing them. On the Tuesday morning when I was tidying my tent I found they had broken on one side. At first I thought it was my fault and I must have rolled on them in the night but a couple of days later they broke again in exactly the same place on the other side. That was annoying. Next time I am in Boots The Chemists I will tell them what I think of their sunglasses. When I met Odele at breakfast she gave me a couple of plasters to mend them with. That was kind of her but instead of looking cool I spent Glastonbury looking like Jack Duckworth out of Coronation Street. ( Ed, since I wrote that, Boots replaced my broken sunglasses even though I didn't keep the sales receipt. Big shout out for Boots !)

Anyway, our little band of brothers and one sister met up at 9.45 and set off down the lane towards the Pyramid Stage. Everyone found it very amusing that John had slept with the rake all night in his tent which caused a few comments. I volunteered to take responsibility for not losing the rake today. I balanced it on my foot and said to Odele, “Look Odele, Rakey Heeling”, (Reiki Healing, geddit ?). We all knew the ropes by now so Tony more or less let us get on with it. We stopped for lunch at 1.00. I put the rake in one of the sheds and we arranged to meet up by The Samaritans at 2.00. For lunch I bought another falafel because I like them and a cup of tea and sat in the shade of the tree by the Cider Bus. The afternoon passed quickly and we finished work at 4.30. On the way home I bought some postcards and Odele and I went for a drink in the Acoustic Bar. I had a large gin & tonic with ice but Odele only had water. She didn’t drink the entire festival which is quite admirable. We amused ourselves by taking photos in the giant deckchair which they had there. 

Back at base I went for a shower because the work had been so hot and dusty and rinsed out my t-shirt  which was filthy with dust and draped it on my tent to dry in the sun. The food they serve the workers at Glasto is nice. I eat better at Glastonbury than at home. Tonight I had West African bean stew with peanut butter & couscous. Then I wrote my post cards while waiting for the quiz. Our team were called ‘The Glastafarians’ and there were three survivors from our team who were victorious in 2015. That was me, Odele & Robin. This year we were joined by the rake guardian John and Odele’s friend Roger but he only arrived near the end. In the picture round we had to identify some of the team leaders and I was disappointed that I didn’t recognise Jeremy my leader from two years ago. I appointed myself captain and I over-ruled John on one answer which was fatal and on some of the name the year questions we were unlucky to be only a year out on at least three questions. In the end we came second and were beaten by two points which was disappointing. I had brought my camera along for a picture of the winning team which I thought would be us. In the end I just took a photo of Odele who went back to her tent early hoping to get up for the Solstice. I can’t remember what I did for the rest of the evening but no doubt it involved alcohol.

Next morning I was awake at 4.30. It was the Summer Solstice and  hundreds of people had gone up to the Stone Circle in Kings Meadow to greet the dawn but I wasn’t one of them. By 8.00 it was already very hot. When I put on my t-shirt it was still damp but I didn’t mind that. The gates opened today and the festival goers were pouring in by the thousands every hour and racing to get a good spot to pitch their tents. It is incredible how quickly the fields fill up with a mass of tents. The gulls always start arriving on Wednesday, hundreds of them. They must come from fifty miles away to scavenge at Glastonbury. How do they know it’s on?. Word must travel fast in the seagull community. Work continued as the day before. Our only problem was when we stopped for a break finding somewhere shady to sit down. I let myself down badly at lunch time because I like to be veggie at Glastonbury but passing a pie stall I thought, “Those pies look nice”, and I ate a chicken & ham pie before I realised. While I was waiting for the others after lunch at The Samaritans tent one of them started talking to me and asking me questions about myself but when I asked him where he came from he got all evasive and said, “We are trained not to talk about ourselves”. “Fair enough mate”, I thought to myself, “But I didn’t want to talk to you in the first place, you started it”. Most strange.
We got through the afternoon in the heat and dust and finished at 4.30. Walking home up Muddy Lane I saw something I had never seen before at Glasto. Muddy Lane is lined with trees and hedgerows and there were dozens if not hundreds of people sitting in chairs all the way up Muddy Lane to shelter from the sun. After this year it ought to be renamed Shady Lane. After dinner which was really nice lasagna & salad. I went for a walk around the site and although the music didn’t start officially till Friday there were a few things going on. On the Bandstand in the market area there was a band on called Three Daft Monkeys who I think I have seen before at Folk festivals so I sat down and listened to them for an hour. Then I went back to Tom’s Field and by the end of the evening Tom’s Bar had run out of cans of Thatcher’s Gold cider which I found a bit worrying because it is only £3.00 in there and £4.60 in the other bars. Luckily they replenished their stock the next day.

The next morning at breakfast I met Peter from Bristol who had been a good mate at previous Glasto’s and a member of the glorious Glastafarians of 2015. Also I got talking to a lady from Peterborough who had worked at the same places as me back in the day which was a bit of a coincidence. Thursday was our last shift so there was a lightness in our step as we followed our leader down the hill and tore into the work with gusto. We were all in a great mood and at break time we sat around telling jokes. I told my joke about the Balloon family and the Red Indian who knew everything. There were teams going around from Water Aid who cleaned the toilets. Total respect for them. I named them ‘The Poo Fighters’. Finally our work was done and our little team went our separate ways. Tony had been such a great team leader we all chipped in and bought him an ice-cream and Odele made a little speech when she presented him with it. Also, we promised Tony that we would go to Bella’s Bridge at 11.00 to see him and his wife perform as Wayne & Wanda.

That evening I had delicious Moroccan Tagine for dinner and we chatted to Kevin who is a nice bloke and comes from Newcastle originally but now lives in London. He had decided to cycle to Glastonbury from London but gave up at Reading  and came with his bicycle on the train. Later it was the recyclers party with Glastonbury supremo Michael Eavis the guest of honour. I sat outside with Odele and her Irish friend Bronagh who comes from Drogheda and we had a good chat about politics mainly while we were waiting for Michael to arrive. We were hoping for a photo opportunity as we did two years ago but he pulled a flanker on us by arriving at the other side of the marquee. I did manage to get one snap of him but it was packed in there so it’s not very good.

There was a band on at the party but they got on my nerves after a while so I went for a long walk which ended in the Theatre Bar. One thing I love about Glastonbury is that everyone is so friendly and total strangers talk to each other which you don’t get so much in everyday life. I got talking to this nice couple called Megan & Joe from Manchester and when I was leaving they asked where I was going and I said I had to be at Bella’s Bridge because a friend of mine was performing there at 11.00. This aroused their curiosity so they came along as well. The bridge is over a stream at the bottom of the Theatre field and is in memory of Arabella Churchill who played such a huge part in Glastonbury’s success. We met Odele & John of the rake. At 11.00 we heard music and then Tony & his wife floated out from under the bridge. He was dressed at Kenny Rogers and she was Dolly Parton and they were singing Islands In The Stream. It was brilliant and hilarious.

After that, me, Odele & John walked back via the market area. On the bandstand there was a really good band playing called World Government so we listened to that for a while and had a bit of a dance. I think it was about 2.00 when I finally crawled into my sleeping bag. We had been here five days now and the festival was only about to begin. What a fantastic day the next day would turn out to be.

TO BE CONTINUED …………



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