Carry on Camping, for the love of canvas

You know me dear blog reader, I love camping. 

I've been known to camp in my own garden, and often in campsites less than a mile from my home.
The joy of the birds singing, the sound of the trees creaking in the night (and during one particularly stormy night the sound of a tree crashing to the ground 100 yards from the tent!), the feel of the breeze though a loosely tethered flap... 
But this post is not the convince you that camping is fun, that goes without saying! No one remembers childhood holidays where you stayed in a nameless hotel by a hot beach (well I don't, probably because we never did..but anyway..) but we all remember the joy of a camping holiday, cleaning your teeth in a field, spitting toothpaste into the wind (school boy error), traipsing to a cold shower block at dawn, through cow pats and getting lost amongst unfamiliar tents because you forgot your glasses...ah bliss

 *pause to think of the wild open spaces* 

But this post is to say that modern tents are not the best!! And that canvas tents are not 'terrible canvas Baden-Powell affairs' as a commenter on BBC Radio 4's Today program claimed this morning! 
I own three tents. Two are canvas. One is a Pyramid style, this basically means it has one main pole (steel) that erects the tent. It is the simplest tent in the world to erect and that is why I love it.

There was talk that 'pop up' tents were easier, well that maybe true BUT I have spent many a long hour watching campers trying to re-pack them at the end of a holiday (once I went and got a chair and a glass of wine) and that does not look like a simple job! 

Modern tents vary; but nylon, while waterproof, is thin (not great at keeping cold out or even keeping heat out!) and the sort of tent with the flexible long poles is a nightmare for me, I have CMT and the dexterity required to thread poles without undoing them, and then bending them without hitting a fellow camper is tricky, I usually have DD with me when we use the nylon tent, but my canvas tent I can erect alone, bang in the corners, one yank on the pole and it's up!


The canvas tent smells lovely too, a proper camping smell (I creep up to the loft to sniff it in the winter) and it feels sturdy and safe (it withstood the wind that brought down a tree with barely a ripple to its taught sides. I think that tents coming in all shapes and sizes is a good thing, somewhere there is the right tent for you. But to dismiss canvas as 'terrible' is just silly. It is a tent many campers aspire to, a proper tent, for proper campers. 

 The only downside to a canvas tent is the weight, I confess I need a trolley unless I can park near the car. 

 What sort of tent do you have? Do you have more that one? A favourite? Have you got rid of a tent because it wasn't right for you?

Swamps, Stages, Sun, and Sweat (Glastonbury ...continued)

Friday arrived damp and drizzly. We donned wellies (and clothes, I wasn't allowed to wander naked, the teen DD had forbidden it, tsk, teens eh) And headed down to the festival for some breakfast. The field by the Other Stage was a quagmire. Proper sticky, slippy Glastonbury mud. Hungover festival goers slithered and slid along the walkways, sometimes falling with a satisfying 'splat'. We stopped for breakfast of bacon and egg in a bap (well I did, DD claimed not to be hungry) and then walked about in the mud, we squelched onward and suddenly were forced, FORCED, to eat warm blackberry and apple pie with cream, when we spotted the aptly named Just Desserts (absolutely scrumptious!)
cake shop glastonbury festival 2013
 We then staggered onward to the kids field as DD had been dying to visit and see what was going on there. By this time the sun was out, so I lounged while she played in the spider tower, the pingpong thunderdome and other assorted amusements. I wasn't just watching beards (I was). Later we went to Williams Green to meet Lemon Fancy at the Ecover Bee, we also bumped into Ptolemy the bee's creator. We chatted, admired the bee and then popped into the 'souper' Soup Library, a place we discovered last year at Wilderness, and one we were delighted to see again.
soup library glastonbury festival 2013
We were sad to miss Amanda Palmer but DD was very happy to catch up with Rita Ora's set on the Pyramid stage. We had pizza (cooked in a wood fired oven, smokey goodness) for lunch, and also had to eat crumpets after spotting old friends from Camp Bestival the Strumpets  with Crumpets (I seem to have turned  into a Glastonbury food critic and it's true we did eat ALL THE TIME! but it's hard work festivalling) DD had two luxury jam crumpets, while I had the Bloody Mary - best crumpet ever!
Strumpets with crumpets glastonbury festival 2013

In one of the shops DD cunningly bought a Jessie J T-shirt for a £5 (I say cunning, it was priced at £10, I said no, the guy selling instantly reduced it LOL) And then we went to the Cider Bus for beard watching warm cider. We could hear The Vaccines playing from there so it seemed churlish to move, it's a bit blurred at this point to be honest. :-) We went to watch the rather fab and funny Dizzee Rascal complete with swearing and balloons, a rather spirited and fun performance that DD loved, and we stayed  for the Arctic Monkeys set too because I rather love them. After dark we went back to  Williams Green to see the bee in the dark, and it didn't disappoint, cunning light effects rippled over its body and it looked amazing.
ecover bee at night glastonbury festival 2013

Saturday Morning broke bright and warm. The mud had all dried, and after an  ostrich burger for breakfast we were off!The green kids field was first on the list as DD was obsessed with the climbing wall there. The people in the field were so lovely and friendly too, oh and we were dressed as bees.

bee on a wall glastonbury festival 2013

We took a walk up to The Park to the Crow's Nest hoping to see  Professor Brian Cox but it was so busy we couldn't even get close, reminded me of stories of people trying to hear Jesus! So we took photos of the lovely view over the festival, and had some lunch then walked back past the stone circle (where we saw the most romantic of marriage proposals, he: down on one knee, she:crying and saying yes, everyone:hugging) We went to watch some comedy next, DD's choice, and chanced on Torann Drummers (young, hunky, sweaty topless drummers, what's not to like?) and then listened to Jeremy Hardy and some other people that raised a giggle or two. Tea was a fishfinger butty while watching stunt men lay on beds of nails. Which fortified us to go and see The Proclaimers in the Accoustic tent.
bed of nails glastonbury festival 2013

We nipped back to the tent for chairs and shmangles so we would be comfy for The Rolling Stones later. The field was heaving with fans and we were far far away but it was amazing. I was exhausted just watching them for over two hours, incredible the stamina they have and Mick was clearly loving it all.

Rolling stones glastonbury festival 2013

Sunday. Dressed as bees again today after washing our hair in a bucket by the tent, no queueing at showers for us! Even though there were free showers in the Green Futures field, stocked with Ecover products. We caught a bit of Zulu Winter on the Other Stage, and DD danced about with her breakfast ostrich. We went to the West Holt stage to see Riot Jazz (mostly by accident, you really do find all the best things by accident at festivals)
Then we spent an hour or so at the Circus Pavement (DD's favourite spot) watching such great acts as Great Dave, Billy Kid and Mr H. (no Photos of Billy Kidd though - too busy cringing as she dislocated her shoulder to escape from a straight jacket)
juggling glastonbury festival 2013
 And at 1:30 we were back at the Other stage for what turned out to be my favourite act of the festival (and the cruel BBC didn't film it!!) Stornoway, so there I sat sipping gin from a tin, listening to lovely music on hard baked earth that had been a swamp only days before. Lianne La Havas (someone we discovered at Wilderness and instantly loved) was great on the West Holt stage later, I sat eating Goan Fish Curry (delicious and very spicy) while listening. Mumford and Sons performed a stonking set later, much of which we listened to from the comfort of bed, we really are wimpy festival goers :-) Monday. I'd been dreading getting the trolley back up the hill but I needn't have worried. Delightful friendly men helped us at every steep bit, one guy helped push for so long that we awarded him a medal (I bought some at the 99p stores for just an occasion such as this, we had already awarded one to one of the litter picking team) and so we were gone, driving away from several days of action packed fun. I miss being in the tent, I can't wait for the next festival.

All the photos you've already seen plus a whole load more are in the slide show below. (Well done if you read this far) 

Created with flickr slideshow.

Glastonbury: beats, bars, bands and bees

Early on Wednesday morning (I say early it was actually 8am - the time the gates opened at Glastonbury) I set off with some trepidation, (and DD)  to the biggest music festival in the UK. The journey was stupidly easy, no queues anywhere despite AA signs and dire warnings online of long waits around the site. We arrived at the Purple car park as instructed and were shown to a parking spot about as far from the main festival site as was possible without still being at home.
over packing for glastonbury
The view from the car park (which was high on a hill) over the festival was amazing. We had packed light (we hadn't) and so we put the trolley together and set off. We camped on Hitchin Hill as the family camping was already full when we arrived at 11am. It was very steep but luckily DD's beauty and my feeble helplessness attracted manly types to grab the trolley and RUN with it to the top of the hill in a show of awesome macho-ness. We pitched the tent, dropped the trolley and our valuables off at the free lockup and then wandered off to the Green Fields, through the circus fields, to Williams Green where we could finally see the holy grail of our journey, the finished Ecover Bee sculpture by Ptolemy that we had previously seen in pieces in Brighton. The bee looked amazing. So different to last time we saw it. (more of that in later posts)
ecover bee at glastonbury
We bought ourselves a Glastonbury T-shirt each and moseyed on back to the tent via the craft field and the 50p tea tent (the clue is in the name there) where oddly everyone was spilling their tea.... At the tent by 7pm and DD was out for the count, all that healthy exercise, early morning rising and hauling a stupidly overladen trolley across Glastonbury will do that to a person. I had a gin and watched the sun setting. On Thursday we were raring to go, a great nights sleep (although my hips were aching - I must be getting old - not sure how that happened) We started the day with coffee and hot chocolate at the tent (ah ha bringing the camp cooker suddenly seemed like a better idea!) And then went down to the festival site to shop, stare and eat. We spent time at all the best places, the Cider bus, the kid's field, played giant twister, made stick people in the green kid's field and then....then it began to rain
glastonbury festival 2013
fun and games sign glastonbury festival 2013
dragon glastonbury festival 2013
playing twister at glastonbury 2013
 We braved the rain for some time, chatting to friendly hot pork sellers (ooh er) and getting wetter and wetter. Finally as there were no bands we were desperate to see we went back to the tent. 2 early nights...what was going on! It continued to rain all night, and when we woke it was still raining, luckily I had two pairs of wellies... to be continued .....

glastonbury mud 2013

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