Tuesday 28 August 2018

FolkEast 2018 - Happy Anniversary to us!


Though we've been back from FolkEast for over a week now, this is the first time I've had  chance to sit down and blog!! This not working for 6 weeks is great but I am filling my time up fast!!

Anyhow back to the festival - now in its 7th year - the 6th on the Glemham Hall estate, this festival is probably our favourite for many reasons. S spent 5 days before the festival crewing and helping to build the site. It meant long days for him but it sounded great fun - where else can you drive around in a golf buggy with a giant rubber duck strapped to the roof?

By the time I went over with him on the Thursday morning the site was pretty much ready - a few last minute jobs needed doing - and once our camp was built, I went out in the torrential rain to help him.

We've camped in many things over the years - a borrowed tent, our late but much loved caravan and now this year we have a new toy - our bell tent - all 4m of brightly coloured canvas. We love it - it easy to pitch up, plenty of space for the 2 of us and oh so much more cozy than the nylon tents we've both camped in before.

Plenty of room for the two of us and all our stuff - we don't travel light these days!!

Our little camp - I love cooking outside - even if its just a simple breakfast of bacon butties and proper coffee.

This year the festival has added entertainment on the Thursday for those of us who were camping the whole weekend - a ceilidh with an amazing band called Stumpy Oak (who did our wedding ceilidh last year) and also music in the Moot Hall tent compared and collated by Mat Bayfield who is a bit of a local folkie legend in his own life time. Very proud to call him a friend - he is a man who has over come some pretty tough hurdles in his own life and is so full of positive energy & love.

Mat is the one next to the double bass on the right hand side. His gig was well attended and hopefully this means the festival will repeat both this and a ceilidh as a Thursday night offering every year.

The Friday morning dawned bright and sunny. Our first wedding anniversary - that year has whizzed by. We made coffee and exchanged pressies and opened cards. S had put together an album of photos from our first married year - he'd listened when I said I regret not printing photos out anymore instead they just get stored online or shared in Facebook albums. He'd been very sneaky and raided my google photos and printed out some for each of the past 12 months. Leaving me space to keep adding each month in the future.

I'd asked one of my talented sisters to paint one of our wedding photos for him;

For the first time we weren't dancing at the festival - we've hung up our sticks and boots for the year as we've needed to concentrate on other stuff this year - we might go back when the new practise season starts in the autumn. This meant we had time to explore the festival and all that it offers - many workshops, stalls, an amazing art arcade with many, many talented crafts men and women, 5 bars - from a tiny pub with one ale to a full sized one with a big range of beers & ciders all for just £3 a pint. This is as well as a full music line-up and several dance workshops and ceilidhs each day. Oh and a knitting/crochet tent run by the talented Social Knitworks ladies.

Two of my sisters had created big pieces for this tent - one a knitted deckchair;

and another a traditional seaside peep board (the knitworks tent had a seaside theme this year);

The Friday night headliners were Oysterband a favourite of S's who he introduced me to when we first met - in fact one of our first dates was to one of their gigs. They were as ever amazing and we bopped and sung along with a group of friends.

After they'd finished we went over to another venue to see the festival patrons The Young'uns - great fun and perfect harmonies. These 'lads' use real stories to create wonderful songs which are easy to sing along too.

Afterwards we called into the ImaGINe Gin Bar for anniversary cocktails!!

I love this picture that a friend took of us earlier in the day - its us to a tee!

Two happy hippies in their favourite field!!

Saturday was another sunny morning - more bacon & coffee required. We knew we were in for a busy day - my littlest sister, her husband and two little boys were coming for the day. We met them in the children's area - we nearly didn't leave!! It had so many fun things and the two boys and their Uncle were having lots of fun!!

Only the promise of dancing and food persuaded the boys away!!

A lunchtime family ceilidh with Stumpy Oak was the attraction - the tent was packed with adults and small children - our older nephew was in his element - dancing with me, S, our niece who was also there, his mum and S's Mum too!!

We went our separate ways for a while - the boys wanted pizza and we wanted to watch a pottery throw down - the 3 contestants, John (one of the festival organisers), John Spiers (melodeon player - exBellowhead) and a Viking!!

It was great fun - especially as the Viking is part of a trio of street entertainers who appear randomly at the festival all weekend - they have a love of Abba and The Bee Gees!!

Time afterwards for some silly jumping on Uncle S games followed by more time in the children's area!

We spent the Saturday evening in the woods - listening to smaller bands. The area is powered by a solar double decker bus and it is gorgeous. Lots of emphasis on eco friendly and recycling. In fact the whole festival encourages this too. This sculpture of the festival totem animal - A Jackalope - was created from plastic bottles - it highlighted just how much plastic families use that just gets thrown away.

The woods area was just gorgeous at night - lots of fairy and laser lights which people old and younger were just entranced by;

Sunday seemed to pass so quickly, we spent time in the Art Arcade and bought some lovely things for us and the house. All handmade and very much one off creations. I love my new dress upcycled from a vintage tablecloth!!

All too soon it was bedtime again - the weekend was almost over :(

Time for one last campsite breakfast before tidying up and packing the car;

That coffee pot and mugs have got about a bit this summer - they are packed again for another adventure later this week!!

Car packed, it was time to say goodbye to FolkEast for another 12 months. By now even our flattened patch of grass will have cattle grazing on it again and the whole site packed away as if nothing had happened.

FolkEast is certainly a festival I would recommend to everyone - its relatively small, a friendly crowd of people, with things for everyone to enjoy. The food stalls are good and prices reasonable and of course who can say no to beer at £3 a pint. Early bird tickets for 2019 are already on sale and selling well.

We shall be there either as punters or dancers but we will be there. Celebrating the weird and wonderful in a field in EastFolk!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx

Friday 17 August 2018

One year of utter craziness & happiness

Hi :)

If I have done this right, this post should appear on Friday 17th August 2018 - one year after I married the most amazing man. We will be back in a field at the festival which we had most of our wedding at - we married in the gardens of the Hall next door.

I met S only a few months after I'd split with my ex. We hit it off straight away and and he soon was my morris dancing partner of choice. He was silly and made me smile. For many months we were just friends though the others in the side were already thinking it might be more.

It nearly wasn't - a proper date was arrange for the autumn - on a cold and wet Saturday - and we'd planned to head to Southwold!! Both of us were under the weather - he'd hurt his back and I was coming down with a chest infection!! Anyhow it wasn't a complete disaster and we still kept messaging. Another more successful few dates happened and it seemed to work. 

Fast forward to June 2016 and at the Medieval Fayre in Colchester Castle Park, S suggested a walk by the river and then handed me over a parcel. Inside was a box he'd decorated and inside that was a proposal and ring! I didn't see it easily as my eyes had clouded up with tears of joy.

Once I'd calmed down and said yes - we called both boys. Both were thrilled and very happy for us.

Fast forward through a year of planning and it was our wedding day. In the rose garden at Glemham Hall with a ceilidh reception on the FolkEast festival site. You really didn't think we'd be in traditional stuff did you ??

After all the nerves it was a perfect day - I was walked down the aisle by both boys and they handed me over to S with the words - 'she's all yours'!!

Here's us with the giants;

and then midway through the ceilidh - the giants changed completely - I'd just swapped my glittery shoes for my flowery Doc Marten boots!!

The boys camped the whole weekend - we had our own section of the field which was saved for family and friends. It meant everyone cooked for the boys - they never turn a meal down!!

I just need to show you one more thing - this hanging was made by friends & family and put together by a dear friend who co-ordinated the whole thing - its amazingly  gorgeous and we shall treasure it forever. It was the first thing that got put up when we moved to our little house;

Anyhow if this works - by the time you read this it will be midway through our anniversary day.

Both of us have been sneaking about sorting pressies and the festival have booked us a special treat - our fave band are headlining the main stage that night. So we shall be down the front - singing and dancing. Pretty sure there will be plenty of pictures of that weekend to follow too!!

See you soon - thanks for reading

xxx Vicki xxx

Monday 13 August 2018

Happily still being green!


Funny how so much from my old life has seamlessly joined with my new life. I've always been a bit of a green/hippy/eco-friendly sort of a girl.

If you follow some of the labels in my sidebar you can see mention of recycling etc going back to the beginning of this blog - and before that to be honest. 

As a teenager I spent many a happy afternoon at a jumble sale with my friends - buying clothes which we'd alter to suit our tastes - making jeans skinny before the invention of lycra and turning old mans shirts into trendy collarless ones.

My first home certainly contained many old and upcycled things - a book case made from wine boxes - a Christmas gift in 1969 for my ex-husband. I delivered it back to him the other week when furniture came out of storage - whilst I loved it there is no room for it here so it needed to be back with its original owner.

This house is certainly full of recycle and upcycled things - along with those collected from charity shops, car boot sales and junk shops. Both S & I can't resist a good rummage through others peoples old junk - our little town contains 11 charity shops and we often do a full tour when we have the time.

The latest upcycling project - our old wooden bed into a garden bench!!

Made from about 95% recycled wood - the old bed and some pallets - only the front posts are from new wood!

It's almost built now - and partially painted - just need summer to return so we can get it finished!

Another project this week has been getting my bike roadworthy again. It spent 18 months in an outbuilding as we had no space at the flat. S has repaired the brakes and checked it all over. I have tidied the basket up - the wicker has got caught on stuff on many occasions and it was looking a bit sorry for itself - I decided to repair rather than replace;

I need to use my bike tomorrow - most days I can get to where I want on foot but I need to drop something off a couple of miles away. Am a bit apprehensive as the roads are busy here and my cycling skills a bit rusty!!

With the house we inherited two greenhouses (one full of tomatoes) and 3 raised veg beds - 2 of which were planted!! We have ended up with a glut of tomatoes and courgettes - time for inventive cooking!!

A rummage in the freezer for some mince and hey presto - the base for a lasagne!

We also inherited some squash plants - these were really quite tiny and seemed to struggle at first - however a bit of rain and some attentive watering and boom they grew like crazy. It was only after a veg gardening book was acquired on a recent charity shop trawl we discovered they like to climb!! Fortunately when the large bamboo plant was removed our friend saved the canes - more upcycling!! These now are supporting the ever growing squashes - come the autumn I will need some new recipes I think!!

Another step to becoming a proper blogger again is taking place as I type - my little camera is being charged!! Going to try to use this as well as my phone to get photos as it does take rather lovely pics.

Right I had best go and hunt down our camping gear - we are off to FolkEast later this week - to celebrate one year of being married!!!

See you soon with plenty of festival photos!

xxx Vicki xxx

Wednesday 8 August 2018

2 have fun in Dorset


We are not long back from a fabulous mini break in Dorset - staying in a Shepherds Hut next to a steam railway line - just how Famous Five is that!!

We booked this trip in the cold and damp early part of the year - before we'd sold the flat and when we were caravan and tent less. (Our little caravan has retired to be a children's play hut - it was no longer fully road worthy & had some furry visitors living in there over the cold long winter).

We'd looked at cottages but nothing had really appealed - had almost given up when S showed me a picture and I immediately said 'Yes'.

This took me several attempts to get!! Those steam trains don't half move fast!! Outside was gorgeous - but inside even better. A cosy bed, plenty of storage, a little stove for cooking, a fridge for keeping tonic & cider cold and even a proper flushing loo!

One worry was whether it would be too hot at night but the windows allowed through breeze and we both slept so well - possibly aided by lots of walking and some Dorset beers & ciders!!

We left home early on the first day to make the most of our 4 days. We were on the beach at Studland by 10.30! and in the sea not long after we'd set up camp. Two things to note - Vicki's do not normally do the sea nor do they wear a bikini! However the water was calm, not to deep and very inviting - also I had found a perfect 50's style bikini which covered bits I am less keen on and actually flattered my curves!!

Just lovely to feel the sand between my toes.

We spent several hours on the beach - in the sea and then having a picnic and reading. 

We left early afternoon and headed to the campsite - unfortunately we chose to arrive when the campsite office was shut - so decided to head into Corfe Castle village for a wander and to get some essentials. S remembers visiting here as a small child and we went to find the pub his family used to visit - currently closed for a refurb - never mind there were plenty to choose from, we ended up at one in the shadow of Corfe Castle;

One pint of Dorset beer and one of Dorset cider - all accompanied by a one man pub singer who played a montage of popular tunes!

As we had been up since 4.30 we weren't late to bed!

Up early next day as the sun was peaking through the curtains. Time for coffee and bacon sandwiches;

We had planned to spent most of the day in Corfe at the castle and then a trip into Swanage on the steam train.

We found possibly the last parking space in Corfe and headed up the footpath to the Castle, stopping for a quick game of Pooh sticks;

So cool in the shade of the trees - quite a contrast as we walked up the castle mound;

W eventually made it up there - the views were stunning - even those of a trackside fire caused by a spark from the steam train!!

Seems this happens quite often and Dorset fire service have a cute little 4x4 which can scale the countryside to reach places the bigger engines can't!!

After all that excitement - time for a cream tea in the National Trust tea rooms;

and then a quick wander to catch the train - they were running again at this point.

You do get a lovely view from the train;

Even one of our hut as we passed the campsite!

Swanage is a fairly typical seaside town - lots of shops selling postcards, inflatables for the sea and all sort of holiday souvenirs. We opted for fish & chips on the seafront washed down with ginger beer (what else!).

Time then to head back with some more cider and watch the sun set;

Day 3 and up early for a similar breakfast to yesterday. Then time to get the chain ferry over to Poole and catch a ferry to Brownsea Island. I am not a boat fan but the water was dead calm and soon we were on our way;

Brownsea Island is gorgeous - I have wanted to visit for years but the boat fear has always stopped this.

We got a map and headed off on a long walk around the island - the views are amazing;

We did manage to see red squirrels but they were far too quick and no photos were managed.

My giants were both Beavers, Cubs, Scouts and Explorers so I wanted to visit the site of the first scout camp - 111 years ago;

I loved the huge collection of brightly coloured scout scarves from all over the world;

Time then to make our way back to quay for lunch before the return ferry;

You are always guaranteed a good pasty from a National Trust tea room!! This one was no exception - keeping it safe from the gulls was a bit tricky!!

Time for one last campsite dinner and then packing to do.

We spent a final morning on the beach on Monday morning before coming home.

It was a short but packed long weekend and we are already planning a longer trip next summer in our bell tent. We treated ourselves to one this year once we knew for certain we'd be moving and have space to store it;

Here it is at Ely Folk Festival last month - it has another festival to go to soon and camping trip is planned for the end of the holidays too! Next time I will get pics of the inside - we have this glamping lark sorted - a comfy bed, colourful rugs and a proper duvet all make camping great fun - oh and fairy lights too!!

See you soon

xxx Vicki xxx