Tag Archives: wickham festival

Chipped, tagged, muzzled or crazed…it’s August!

If we are to believe what we read (and the jury is still out on that one) chip & pin will soon have a whole new meaning. On the local news this week, it was reported that a man has had a chip inserted in his hand that allows him to open doors by waving his hand in front of a sensor, among other things.
I can only wonder what happens if the chip moves. I mean, the vet told me that the chip they put in dogs’ shoulders, often moves around the body and is hard to find when they come to scan it. The next time we see this young man, will he be standing on his head or presenting his foot or another part of his anatomy, to the sensor before the door will open? This could be very inconvenient.
Doubtless the powers that be, have thought of this and the chip will not move – but couldn’t it be subject to a new sort of infection? A new computer virus perhaps? Could a lift of one’s hand induce a totally unexpected outcome? Could it cause mayhem? The mind boggles at the thought.
Apparently, the scientists behind this innovation, do not share my fears. A Wisconsin company is to become the first in the US to microchip employees, according to reports.
Goodness, I have only just got used to Contactless bank cards!
Exciting stuff indeed, if you like that sort of thing. If you prefer to turn a key in the lock then maybe it is not for you…yet.

Apart from taking in local news, I have been busy doing nothing for the past few weeks it seems. A holiday in Portugal, where spirits were refreshed and the body rested, went all too quickly. A weekend of dog and child care while youngest daughter and husband headed off to Rome to attend a wedding, greeted our return. It was good see all the grandchildren again and here are three of them, bathed and ready for bed on a Sunday evening, as they wait for their parents to return and ferry them home.

3 little angels ready for bed

Charlie refused to be nice to the children’s new puppy from Romania, aptly named Beryl, so he had to wear a muzzle for much of the time, much to his disgust. We hope they will become friends eventually.

Play nicely…

Flossie makes everyone welcome of course…

I have walked the dogs, taken grandchildren to the park and resumed my general Grandma duties this week. The weather is changeable, the long hot summer in which we sweltered and said goodbye to quilts and flung open our windows in the hope of attracting the slightest of breezes, has fled for the moment.

The only way is up…

Wickham Festival is here again and last night we could be seen traipsing through the fields in our wellies, our newly acquired camp chairs on our back, identity bracelets on our wrists (no chips here except the deep-fried variety) and as we walked, we slipped, slid and sank into a river of mud and straw. (Glastonbury is not on my list of places to visit). We set down our chairs (comfort essential) on an island of dry straw and for a moment, I had cause to wonder why I was here. KT Tunstall sang melodiously and with gusto, in the background. I had to admit, there was a certain charm as the sun went down…


Today, it is sunny and dry. The day is warmer. The hope is that the mud will dry out and festival goers will not risk life and limb as they wander around in the slippery clay. Come to think of it, there was enough of the latter to throw a few pots last night.
I am a fair weather festival fan, it has to be said. Still, we were there for the first evening and we are sure to be there again during the weekend. My companions are more hardy than I and I will doubtless be pulled along by their enthusiasm.
Here we are, Dave and I, me looking slightly crazed, towards the end of the night. Well, it had to be done!

Slightly crazed…


Filed under Living Between the Lines

Festivals and BBQs

I was never a ‘festival goer’. That is to say, I could never see the attraction of camping in a muddy field, with limited sanitary arrangements, soggy sandwiches and warm beer. Much less did I ever fancy standing with thousands of other people to listen to a band.

Yes, I am well aware that to some people this is absolute bliss. (Jane G, if you are reading this, I admire your stamina!)

I am not sure whether it is my aversion to the mud and undeniable discomfort or my claustrophobic reaction to crowds that bred this dislike of such things in me but dislike them I do.

The only outdoor gigs I would tolerate were those from which I could escape to sit on a hill and listen. Even then, the weather needed to be fair and the toilets reasonable.

So, earlier this month, as the Wickham Festival  http://www.wickhamfestival.co.uk/  got underway once again, I was not there.

It was my husband who bought a ticket for the weekend, sported a yellow plastic wrist-band and booked camping space even though it is only two miles down the road and he was unlikely to stay the night. It was he who trekked down to see Jules Holland and Sandy Shaw and my daughter and boyfriend who went to see Rolph Harris and Toya Wilcox and others of that ilk. I stayed home.

The Wickham Festival is not Glastonbury. Still, it has been going from strength to strength over the years and attracts festival-goers from all over the country. You never know, it may even attract me one of these days.

In the meantime, we had our very own ‘festival’ at the weekend. At least, that’s what it seemed like at the time.

You may recall that every year we, as a family, hold the ‘Barker BBQ Bash’. That is to say, we invite friends and family, new acquaintances, neighbours and work colleagues, into our home and garden for a party that begins at about 3pm and ends sometime after midnight.

For a fortnight before, we scan the weather forecasts hopefully. In the nine or ten years that we have been throwing such events, we have only had one complete wash-out. On that occasion the bouncy castle, hired especially for the occasion, presented a serious hazard and we huddled indoors waiting for the downpour to subside. It didn’t. Attendance was down that year.

We’ve had heat waves in which guests have resorted to hiding in flowerbeds to avoid the sun and cool winds that have sent everyone scurrying inside for a fleece and shivering as they tuck into their burgers.

This summer, the weather has been warm and sunny for much of the time but the forecast for Saturday was – rain! We remained stubbornly optimistic but ordered a marquee ‘just in case’. The day before the party, the forecast cautiously admitted that the sun might break through and it should remain dry in our corner of the country.

On the day, the sun broke through as promised and even when it did slip behind the clouds, temperatures remained warm and no one minded. The marquee we had hired was virtually redundant.

My daughters had organized a lucky dip for the children – many of whom came back for seconds and there were a variety of giant skittles, snakes & ladders and draughts laid out. Despite these attractions, the children seemed to prefer the dogs. Hence, children and dogs raced round the garden to cries of,

“Do be careful!” and, “Watch out!” from onlookers.

We kept an eye on Flossie who was highly excited and keen to play with the two new puppies who had joined us for the afternoon. Forgetting Doris, Flossie concentrated on showing off to her black, Tibetan Terrier guests while Keano foraged for food wherever he could. It seemed everyone was happy.

The highlight of the day was surely the live band who played from 9pm. A friend of ours, Bill Mudge, www.billmudge.com himself a professional musician, had brought along a blues/jazz band – 24 Pesos http://www.24pesos.com/ to play while he accompanied them on keyboard.

We had trusted Bill to do us proud and he did.

24 Pesos were quite simply amazing while Bill on keyboard was awesome.

Setting up on the patio, the group brought a whole new dimension to the party. The weather helped, remaining mild and warm until way past midnight. Our guests danced their socks off.

We were surely the smallest ‘festival’ on their books this summer. Nevertheless, they pulled out all the stops.

What a treat to have such a professional and talented band play in one’s garden! I can only thank Bill who organized it for us and the 24 Pesos for agreeing to play. With bands like that to listen to, you never know, I might even actually make it to a festival or two next year …

…but if there is no hill for me to hide on, perhaps one or two groups would like to come and play in our garden?

*photographs courtesy of Rhys McCarthy with the blurry ones of the three little cousins from my iPhone!


Filed under Living Between the Lines