Monday, 28 July 2014

"Positively Latitudinal"

Last weekend we debunked our motley crew to Latitude festival in Southwold for three days of music, bingeing on family sized bags of crisps and slowly bankrupting ourselves on the giant slide and ferris wheel the kind organisers had cleverly seen fit to position right at the entrance/exit point of 'family camping' (meaning that several times a day our pockets had to be emptied for pound coinage in order to appease the three monsters clamouring for yet another go on a 30 second slide...possibly worst value ever ride?).

One of the highlights of the weekend had to be when Egg and I made for the front(ish) of the outdoor stage on the Saturday night to see 'First Aid Kit' perform "Silver Lining".  Twas wicked. Them Swedes sure can harmonise (though their bizarre American accents were puzzling to say the least).

The weekend had gotten off to a dubious start when we spontaneously decided to ditch the boys' last day of school in return for a full sunny day of gloriousness lying in grassy fields and checking out both the bands and the array of middle class parentage preening about in all their summer finery.

Of course we had neglected to remember that at the very least, such a manoeuvre required that at least one of us was required to ring the school and report the absence of our progeny.

Having had recently handed in not one but two absence request forms in the same number of weeks (one for Glastonbury when the monsters had to be ferried across town the night before we left in order to be foisted on my advanced-in-years father and heavily pregnant baby sister) AND another one when the husband transported the two elder boys up to Yorkshire to watch some Tour de France thingy (don't ask - I don't 'do' cycling nor am I the least bit interested in cycling-related activities - even when it pertains to my brood.  I suspect my disinterest is rooted in my serious aversion to the vile costuming mandatory for the sport, but who knows...)
bacon butties anyone?
Anyway, come Friday morning as the husband was trying to wrangle up brekkie in the form of coaxing some bacon butties from the camper van's tiny little stove for he and the boys, and I was 'taking a moment' to bask in the glorious sun and let my newly applied black Zoya nail polish dry (a necessity in order to alleviate the dreaded 'festival nail', which when left unadorned often causes anxiety due to uncomfortable musing about exactly what shape and form of microscopic vermin lurk in the crevices between skin and nail), it suddenly dawned on both of us that we had neglected to ring the school and let them know of the boy's final absence of the year.  Oops.  Our bad.
black...the ONLY colour for a festival manicure
It being 9:30am and already one hour into the final day of term, I suppose it wasn't the nightmare it might have been given that the day was likely going to consist of the children consuming their body weight in Haribo and watching some Harry Potter film as opposed to getting to grips with advanced timetables...but still...someone had to do it.

I point black refused.  I explained to the husband (in quite a reasonable and heartfelt manner I felt) that since I deal with the school office all year, it was important that he take the hit for this one and allow me to save face for next year - Egg's final year there - when I'm sure a situation will arise whereby I'll have to relinquish my final 'get out of jail card free' and maintain at least a modicum of believability and a smidgen of integrity.  Whereas he could just play the feckless Dad who 'like totally forgot' it was last day of term and had driven out of London with his little ones careening down the motorway in his rickety old camper van, oblivious to the fact that he had thus garnered yet another tick on the 'absentee' chart for the boys.
What responsible parenting looks like in 2014
Making fruit string jewellery beats making sums any day

But he also refused.  So a stand off ensued.  And because my nails were still drying (I swear) and because I was as content as a fat cat basking in a sun drenched window seat and he somehow knew that any form of manipulation or verbal abuse at this point would be utterly pointless, he grunted with annoyance and took himself off to 'make the call'.

I recently finished a great book by Neil Gaiman, "The Ocean At The End Of The Lane" wherein the child protagonist comments upon the fact that grown ups are really just children in big cumbersome bodies. No truer words were ever spoken.  A few short hours later a good friend of ours humiliatingly captured (and posted on Facebook - cheers for that darling) a picture of the husband and I playing out a fairly heated round of 'best out of three' "Paper-Scissors-Stones" for who would have to change the Fat Baby's big smelly festival poo in the heat of the mid-day sun.  I(uncharacteristically) lost. Drat and Buggery.
Anyway, all that was not even worth mentioning in light of what happened later that day when I took myself off to powder my nose in the ladies room (as you do)
and returned to find that under the (un)watchful eye of the husband, Fat Baby had managed to neck over half my supersized tin of Red Bull. Fantastic.  The result of which was a super charged speed chase over hill and dale a half hour later, trying to catch the revved up little bugger as he scampered deftly through festival goers legs and through various fields, cackling with delight as I lumbered after him, unable to catch the chubby little gingerbread man ("Redbull gives you wiiiiiiiings").

But catch him I eventually did.  Then set about trying to locate the rest of our clan who were (surprise surprise) found, predictably, right in front of possibly the worst value children's entertainment known to man...ever...the 'quid a go slide', the impoverished husband wearing a weary facade of boredom and defeat - the children ecstatic.  A bloody brilliant (or was it just the vodka redbull accompaniment?) production of "Cat In The Hat" followed, after which various bands were enjoyed, decent enough foodstuffs consumed, and much fun and frolicking was had by all.
Why pay a tenner for a 'official program' when a bespoke handwritten schedule will do?  :)
On Saturday a.m. things started with a bang as I managed to ditch my brood to go and see a brilliant poet (and comic) "Luke Wright" who I met many a moon ago at Glastonbury, pre-monsters, when I once found myself lost and at loose ends, stumbled upon a Poetry Tent where some hilarious fellow was waxing prolific about Victoria Beckham of all people, in a manner so witty and biting that it stopped me dead in my tracks and there I sat for a great quantity of time, so amused and entertained that I had no choice but to go up to him afterward and beg him to collaborate on a piece of music I was writing.  Which he did.  The result of which is here...

Luke Wright...wickedly witty
Anyway, this time round we met met up again, both of us a few years older, (ironically with a couple of little boys apiece), had a drink, got reacquainted, and so started Saturday at Latitude.  We later hooked up with some more mates, also loaded down with little people, decided to throw all eight of them in the mix, chuck them some pocket money and see if we might be allowed to lay idly by on picnic blankets listening to a fiendish looking Tim Booth of 'James' wallow about 'Sitting Down' or some such for a time.
Is it me or is Tim Booth lately morphing into a (long-skirted) fiend from Hell?...
Eventually they returned, Lord of the Flies-esque, having burned most of the cash on overpriced ice lollies and handfuls of £2.50 cans of orange Tango, which, it was discovered, when shaken furiously and having had a Mento deposited into them, could function as portable geyser.  Who knew?
Twenty-Four Hour Party (little) People...

I loved the weekend.  I loved Latitude.  Like a wise golden-haired little lass once said, "This one is too BIG....and this one is too SMALL...but THIS ONE is JUST RIGHT."

And so was Latitude.

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