The sun shone brightly through the canvas of our tent. All around us I could hear the cheerful bustle of happy campers getting breakfast interspersed with the sounds of joyous birdsong. Or not. In reality our body clocks had not yet got fully in synch with the english time zone so I was wide awake at about five o`clock. As ever first morning thoughts tend towards coffee and toilets so I hurriedly unzipped the tent and groped in the gloom for my trusty wellington boots. As my bladder started sending ever more urgent messages to my brain I stumbled around, half crouched, in the low porch that we use to store our chairs and tables. Finally I tugged my boots onto my bare feet and unzipped the outer door. The cold air woke me up and I looked vainly around for the sun. The sky was a uniform grey, the grey that comes with no warmth or joy, the grey of doom,the grey of a thousand ruined english holidays. I gallumped across the grass towards the row of portable chemical toilets.
The field was nice and green, the gateway, however, had been churned to a brown porridge by a few vehicles and a multitude of boots. I stepped manfully through the mud, nearly losing a welly in the process. I open the toilet door to see the floor about three inches deep in what I really really wanted to believe was mud. When I returned to our tent I was wide awake and ready for my coffee. I huddled in a chair as I waited for the kettle to boil and amused myself by watching the spots of rain on the canvas slowly turn to rivulets and then running off the flysheet.
A couple of hours later and after several cups of coffee we decided to head for breakfast. A slightly expensive but very welcome english fry up was wolfed down and accompanied by yet another coffee. As it was Thursday we now intended to head to “The Village” which is an area near the standard camping, which features shops, food stalls, a fairground and more shops. The previous year we had spent a fun day wandering about and spent a very jovial afternoon in the company of some very pleasant young people. ( I know now that as I refer to “young people” I am assuredly advancing rapidly through middle age to old age).
As we passed the hordes carrying their camping equipment and beer towards the standard campsite, we noted that in most instances camping equipment seemed to actually consist mostly of beer. The cheerful attitude of these happy campers was possibly aided by most of them deciding to lighten their respective loads by drinking as much alcohol as they could on their route march from the car parks.
Once inside The Village we realised that in horse racing terms the going was “soft to liquid.” The trudging of thousands of boots had churned the grass to a brown slop. The traders selling gum boots were seen to be dancing and praying to a rain god. I presumed that once they had sold out of waterproofs and wellies, they would swiftly convert and start praying to the sun gods to enable them to shift their stock of sun creams. We managed one slither and slide around the stalls and retreated to the comparatively solid ground of the RIP campsite.
That evening we decided to head for the pub, more to keep warm than drink beer, although as we were there and there was a rather good selection of real ales on offer it would have been rude not to try one or three of them! I even managed to stay awake to savour them. Bed for ten o clock. Still not much of a rock and roll lifestyle, but we are heading in the right direction.