Tuesday, 31 August 2010

A magical Cornish weekend

Penwith is magical in the sunlight. This bank holiday weekend couldn't have gone better. It started with a trip to Porthcurno beach on Friday, where I jumped in the sea and soon got smashed back onto the shore again by a big wave, sand all over me. Then we went to take a look at Porthgwarra. No beach as the tide was high, but the views here, as the sun sets, are just incredible. You get a panoramic view of the tip of England, with the Atlantic below and the rugged cliffs beyond, the sun sparkling on the sea, heather on the ground and birds flying overhead. Perched on a rock on the edge of a cliff, this is a place to feel free.
Saturday was a lot of fun too. We headed to Sennen, to set up Pippa's 30th beach party. We trudged across the beach a number of times to get all our tables, windbreaks, pasties, cupcakes, cider, wine, flags, bunting and children, to a spot perfect for buskers and rounders games, and set up a wonderful party area as requested by Pip. The sun shone and a fabulous time was had by all, many going for a surf or a swim as the weather was so good. As the sun set we headed up the cliffs to our campsite, and sipped pink champagne as we waited for our curry to arrive.
On Sunday I met up with my school friends, who talked about houses and jobs and other such grown up things of which I know very little. Then we spent a long time making our way via Perranporth and Newquay to Polzeath, a part of Cornwall I don't know very well and which seems like the posh part. After a quick and exhilerating dip in the sea, we set up camp and headed out for a night in Wadebridge, only to find ourselves stranded as apparently no taxis work over the bank holiday here. We managed to hitch a lift back and spent a cold night on a clifftop.
Monday was spent walking along the beach to Rock, with a stop for a picnic, and catching the ferry to Padstow, which is a town made almost entirely of food and fat people eating it. Ice-cream, pasties, fish and chips, fudge... Not a lot else goes on here as far as I can tell, apart from the odd art gallery or jewellery shop. Oh, and clothes for posh people. Fat posh people. So after a pint in the pub we headed back, along the sand dunes this time, all the way to the campsite and into the car for the trip back to Bristol.
A wonderful weekend filled with buskers, bunting, balloons, beaches, babies, pasties, pink champagne, camping, clifftops, swimming, sunshine, family and friends.
I love Cornwall!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Boomtown Fair

I want to be back in the land of Boomtown Fair, where drinking all day is encouraged, mechanical horses carry children through the crowds, the music is mad and the people are smiling. I've just come back to earth with a bang after a fabulous few days in a field in Buckinghamshire. Yesterday I woke up in a tent, worrying only about how many wasps were heading inside my mouth (three got in during the course of the festival, it must have been all the hot cider I was drinking). Today I have a monumental headache after having my wisdom teeth pulled out. Ouch.
Boomtown Fair began life as a one day cider festival in a field in Bath, graduated to become Recydrate the West somewhere near Hay-on-Wye, and finally became a fully fledged festie with a new name last year, in the Forest of Dean. I have been there to witness all the changes, and I intend to keep up this tradition. I love Boomtown, because the music is mental, an incongruous but incredible mix of ska, reggae and gypsy-jazz, designed to keep you dancing. I love the people and what they wear, everything from flouncy, flowery dresses, stilts and superhero outfits, to nothing but body paint. I love any excuse to watch the Bristol based Invisible Circus. And I love drinking cider all day.
Boomtown may have grown up, but most of all, I love the fact that for three days straight, thousands of party goers can forget that they have too.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Edinburgh Festival

I've just spent a few days in Edinburgh catching up with a friend, helping to celebrate his birthday, and taking in some of the festival. I'd never been to Edinburgh before, and I was surprised. It's very beautiful, with huge old dark stone buildings, wide streets, and gardens and hills all over the place. It's also very cold. I had to dig out some winter clothing, and ended up shopping for more layers. Most of all, in August, it is busy beyond belief. The cash points run out of money and the city runs out of space. It's hard to find somewhere to rest your weary legs after a heavy morning of theatre viewing.
I was really lucky, as Ben was working for the festival, so I got to see loads of shows for free. It's astounding just how much there is on offer, as almost every theatre, pub, cafe, university building and open space is turned over to music, comedy and dance. I saw some fantastic stuff, favourites being a comedy play called 'No Son of Mine', an improvised musical by Showstoppers, the comedian Andrew Lawrence, and Axis of Awesome, a comedy band.
As I had a lot of time on my hands, I had a go at writing a few reviews, and after sending them off to various editors, have returned to Bristol with quite a busy week ahead of me. Writing, teaching, festival going... I can't imagine how I'd fit a job around my hobbies, and I'm getting quite nervous about getting one now! In the light of the madness of Edinburgh, I've come to realise just how calm and lovely my life has become this Summer.