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Crossing London was wonky all over the place, with me GETTING a javelin train I thought I'd missed but then having to go a super long way round from Kings Cross due to various line closures. When I got ON my train all was well, although things continued strange when I got to Bath and found an Atmosphere. Maybe it was the VERY HOT weather or maybe there was a Sporting Fixture on, but everyone seemed in a bad mood and/or DRUNK. I got a TAXI out to where the DO was happening and the driver seemed rather grumpy too. I told him where I was going and, when it turned out 20 minutes later that he didn't know where it was, he got annoyed with me. "I thought you'd know", he grumbled. However, the pair of us then went on a mini-adventure around the local area until he found it and were quite pally by the end, to the extent that I asked for and got his number to go back again.
The party had been organised by Mrs Amy Osborn and she had done an INCREDIBLE job of it. She'd hired out a field and then basically put a mini-LATITUDE inside it. There was a tent for MUSIC with a stage, lighting system and full PA. There was a CINEMA tent (or AWNING anyway), loads of kids games including an enormous Guess Who and strategic PAGODAS all around the place for when it got a bit hot. There was also full CAMPING, so it really felt like being at a festival site!
Most impressive of all she had kept Gav totally in the dark about the whole thing, so he was in a state of permanent DELIGHT and DISBELIEF as people kept turning up, it was a JOY to see!
The only thing missing was phone signal, though I suppose that is part of the festival experience too. I did find that you COULD get signal up at the top of a hill, beneath a tree which became known as The Signal Tree. I kept going up to check for news from The Leaves On My Branch, who had set out that day to get herself some Guns N' Roses tickets. They were playing in the Olympic Stadium and, after hearing how GRATE the Friday night show had been from a chum who had attended, she had resolved not only to get a seat but also to pay half the asking price for doing so. I was WORRIED about the whole enterprise - I would never have been BRAVE enough to do such a thing and thought it would end in disappoint and/or loss of CA$H but of course she managed it HANDSOMELY!
Spending time at The Signal Tree enabled me to witness Gav in his natural element i.e. surrounded by small children who appeared to FLOCK to him at any opportunity. He seemed to spend much of the afternoon pushing children on the rope swing which dangled from said tree, and when he wasn't doing that he was being PILED ON by mobs of small boys!
Before setting off I'd been a bit worried I wouldn't know anyone, but there turned out to be several chums there, including the Wainwrights and associated children and also Ms G Petrie, with whom I had a jolly discussion about Current Events. She played later on and was GRATE, and I also did a set MYSELF mid-afternoon, during which I did my usual HILARIOUS trick of NOT SWEARING in front of small children but then explaining what I would have said immediately afterwards. I always think this is HILARIOUS and I am definitely sure that all parents agree with me. Gav knows several comedians, notably the really really good ones, so it was a bit weird to be doing GAGS and then realise I was being watched by, more or less, the CREAM of a GENERATION of comedians. If you spot a trend for Award Winning Comedians not swearing and then swearing in front of children in the near future you will know where they got the idea from!
Soon 7pm came and it was time for me to say my goodbyes and head back to the Station, where I discovered that the trains to London had gone hideously wrong. It took me an extra TWO HOURS to get home, but handily this gave me PLENTY of time to worry about whether I had been All Right all afternoon - it is my CONSTANT FEAR that I have behaved like a PILLOCK whenever I am a) unaccompanied b) amongst groups of people I do not know particularly well, but I THINK I was OK. I tried to make up for any inadvertent idiocy by telling the nice lady sat next to me ALL about to claim Delay Repay for a ticket refund!
When I eventually made it back to East London I found myself surrounded by Guns N' Roses fans, who had seeped into the very fabric of Stratford and were EVERYWHERE walking in ALL directions. It was a bit weird - where had they been, and where were they going? Some were going AWAY from the stadium, others TOWARDS, and they were all round the area we live in too. I half expected to find a few lurking under the bed when I got in.
It was a long day of travel, heat, and ROCK, but a DELIGHTFUL one in which to pay tribute to a TITAN of ROCK!
posted 21/6/2017 by MJ Hibbett
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