Fleetwood Mac: If you book them, they will come.

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It was always a life long dream to see Fleetwood Mac. I spent years in hope that one day they would finally cave in and honour one of Michael Eavis’ pleas to play Glastonbury. After days spent in Haight-Ashbury and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival in San Francisco, I got a feel for what it would’ve been like to witness them in their heyday.
After over a decade without touring the full band line up, I never thought it would be possible to see them in their full glory. But alas my dreams came true when they announced that they would headline the Isle of Wight Festival.
The island itself holds a lot of memories for me, and relatives would go to the original festival as hippies in the 70’s back when the likes of Jimi Hendrix would grace the stage. There was no hesitation in buying a ticket and after countless trains, buses, cars, planes and ferries, I made it to the island and was reunited with my best friend and decade long festival partner in crime.
‘Rumours’ were ironically building building throughout the weekend, suggesting that an undisclosed member of the band was experiencing health problems. There was a huge fear that they would cancel in the camps and in the news, but my Wayne’s World mantra remained; ‘If you book them, they will come’. I kept this up for days. I spread the word with every passerby to send out healing vibes and even reserved a bed with the staff in the welfare tent, should the worst news come.
By Sunday afternoon we were on safe ground and it was evident that they were going to show, I could finally relax. The energy felt amazing and the rain stopped in time for them to take stage. Rumours was my 2015 soundtrack, so it was extremely emotional singing along with childhood friends and a crowd of strangers. It was a healing experience hearing them perform songs so important to me, and even more impressive to witness their power. Seeing a lifelong idol in Stevie Nicks performing her heart out was truly inspiring. With the musical nostalgia combined with festival closing fireworks I was blown away by what will probably remain one of the most influential performances of my lifetime.

Returning to England for a wedding, a reunion and stocking up on supplies

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So I had the opportunity to go back to England for a long weekend, primarily for Sarah and Ed’s beautiful wedding, but I managed to cram in a Geography Reunion, stocking up on much needed English supplies and a whole lot of eating!
The wedding was the quintessential English affair in the West country rolling hills of Tisbury. The best bit about attending any wedding…getting to wear a hat. I raided my Nanny’s house full of hat boxes and narrowed it down to three. Seriously this is an impossible task when faced with over 100 to choose from. The lasting memory after getting squiffy too quickly at a Pimms reception on an empty tummy in the sun was the taxi journey to the train station for the last train. I couldn’t pay for the ride as I had no sterling in my purse. However the kindest taxi driver on Earth let me pay in Swiss Francs as he didn’t want to prevent me getting home. What a darling! I then crossed paths with someone I went to university with, who was also attending another Holloway wedding in the same tiny village. As always its a small world.
I spent a lovely day with my Nanny, my second reason for going home, and somehow I managed to decide on a fish and chips lunch. Something I never do, but somehow it seemed fitting. Over the few short days I was at home I managed to eat for England, treating myself to all the stuff I either can’t afford, or can’t source in Switzerland. This includes but not limited to peanut butter cup B&J ice cream, crumpets with Marmite and proper salted butter and last but not least, proper bacon. Thick bacon, none of this wafer thin burns to a crisp nonsense, in a bagel. Heaven to gorge for a few days but I must have gained a few kilos. Kilos to match the luggage I brought back, 17kg to be precise in one backpack, crammed full of goodies that I can’t get in Zurich. nearly a whole kilo of which was devoted to cheddar! I have now stocked up well enough, hopefully to last me until I next return to the motherland.
The last day was spent very hungover at a Geography reunion. It was so good to see course mates after such a long time. Its always a nice reminder to see people you miss, their lives ever changing but they still stay just the same as you remember, hopefully it won’t be too long until the next.food

NHC – Notting Hill Carnival

Notting-Hill-CarnivalCarnival 2013 for me has been the best year yet.  Last year I was hardcore and went to both the Sunday and Monday, experiencing the difference between the both days.  They are completely different atmospheres altogether, and now a little older and carnival wiser, I think I can safely say I’m a Sunday girl, an all round family funday kind of bird.  No more shall I be the feet coming off the ground and dodging hands up skirts in crowds victim.  Yet again I managed to come away having not eaten anything.  I don’t know how I manage it every time, you’d think the rum would make me crave decent soul food.
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The power of a good drum beat and the excessively loud bass never ceases to amaze me, it is nearly impossible to resist dancing. It makes me so excited for Brazil now too.

I read the stats this year on policing the carnival.  I have to say they did an excellent job, 6,000 officers present on the Sunday, you couldn’t move 10 metres without spotting luminous yellow jackets, yet everyone was in good spirits and the atmosphere was amazing.  The YouTube footage of the three officers dancing is incredible and restores your faith for future carnivals to come. I have a great deal of respect for the police each and every year, I cannot imagine how daunting it is to manage crowds of millions within a few streets.

britain-notting-hill-carnivalI’m always left a little bit bemused by the grinding.  OK we get it, its carnival, but the rapeyness of some of the acts you witness leave you scarred for life.  You need to have serious strength to resist some of the grabbing. I had to resist photographing some of the ‘sandwiches’ eurgh!

I also have another complaint that makes me sound so out of the loop but here goes…what is the fascination with only playing 30 seconds of an amazing song to then shuffle on the next? IT IS INFURIATING! You get really excited by a track, start dancing and singing along, then it disappears.

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I hope to attend next year but fear a massive let down after witnessing Brazil 2014, but doubt it will stop me turning up all the same. This time I must eat as soon as I arrive, I need to put an end to the NHC Foster famine!

Holi festival of colour

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I had a superb birthday this year.  The memories of turning 25 at Battersea Power Station before it became swanky flats will stay with me forever, well at least the bits before we started drinking.

I was distraught having missed the legit Holi Festival of Colour in India by only 3 days, so I was chuffed when I got to celebrate it in a different light.  The European tour certainly isn’t as authentic as the real deal but it was a great was to celebrate turning a quarter of a century.

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The weather was incredible all day so the colours jump out in all of the pictures. There was a countdown every hour for people to throw paint, so by the end of the evening we had a nice dusty coating of powder paint.

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We formed a birthday cult, wearing disposable jumpsuits with messages written on the back.  The music was great, we were the last people to leave the site, out of the thousands of guests we were truly escorted off nearly missing our last train home.  The bathwater was an interesting shade of turquoise for a number of days afterwards but it was well worth it. I was just so lucky that this took place on my actual birthday and thankful to the Holi staff that took care of us all day.

UK festivals – yoga in a field

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So just going to festivals, let alone working at them can be extremely exhausting work. So if you need an outlet to restore your energies the best place to do it is at an outdoor yoga class. I was fortunate enough to be blessed with glorious weather during the events I worked. Summer 2013 was kind and allowed me to share my practice with willing participants.
Teaching classes in the morning is not only beneficial with the blessing of the early sun, but also peaceful as all the revelers are passed out in their tents. Whether you have been unkind to your body or not at a festival, this is a brilliant way to relax and take stock of the weekend adventures. The healing fields at Glastonbury often has classes if you’re ever fortunate enough to get a ticket.
Luckily for me as a newly certified teacher, I was surrounded by friends who were more than happy to test my new skills. You will be surprised by how many people show interest and join in. After all if you saw a circle of people on mats stretching in a field for the first time, you’d be a bit curious too.
I’ll be eternally grateful to the people that came along to my earliest classes and even more grateful for the rare English sunshine that shone upon us.

Dorset and Camp Bestival

DSC_0366We made it all the way to Fleet near Weymouth in time to wander into the local village pub, to be harassed by a blonde floozy in the beer garden, a retriever that saw Seb and I as its new owners. It was a 5 mile walk in the dark back to the tent which was a great adventure after local cider. We stayed only one night before moving on to Wimbourne.  We spent an afternoon at Tower Park, cooking bacon in the Tesco car park before heading into Splashdown.  I haven’t been there for many years, you cant beat a good indoor water park for entertainment.
We explored the old town in Poole and went on to Bournemouth but the horrific rains had returned once again.  We headed in to Dorchester for some Sunday Lunch and went on to Cerne Abbas to see the giant, which was a great sight.
We then headed on to Lulworth for Camp Bestival.  The cove was beautiful but the winds were tremendous it was a battle trying to get down to Durdle Door, but I managed to land this photo for my yoga page once its up and running.DSC_0374
We stopped the local bin men to ask how they had managed to gather so much litter from the cove.  They informed us that they gather over a quarter of a ton of waste every 3 days from the small area.  I still cannot believe that people are so thoughtless as to litter anywhere let alone one of the world’s most beautiful world heritage sites.  The Jurassic coast in my eyes, despite how many places in the world I visit, will remain one of the most picturesque and West Lulworth is probably still my favourite place on Earth. I’m a true geography geek.

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The Wall of Death at Camp Bestival is hands down one of the coolest things I have ever seen in my life.  Your heart is in your mouth for five whole minutes, I envy the riders for their bravery, yet I would not want to be in their shoes, or seats, night after night.  The jousting was pretty spectacular too, you can see more photos from the festival in the gallery section.  The jousting was superb, never have I seen children get so behind the pantomime esque booing and hissing!

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Other than seeing the Wurzels (whose drummer is in his 80’s!) I only managed to see one act at the entire festival,  Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip. They were incredible, a whole year on since I saw them last, their lyrics are clever and their baselines almost anthemic, perfect for festival crowd.

Cornwall

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After an absolutely diabolic start to our journey, we made it down to Cornwall. The first attempt saw us make it past Exeter, over 2/3 of the total journey before breaking down.  The gear lever universal ball joint managed to simply fall off on the M5 so we had to be towed all the way back to Hampshire because a part couldn’t be sourced in the West country.  Five frustrating days later we set off again having avoided all of the beautiful weather and just in time to camp in the thunderstorms!
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Nevertheless we made it to the beautiful town of Marazion, right in the southern tip of south Cornwall, home to St Michael’s Mount. The island is accessible by day when it is connected to the mainland by a footpath.  We camped at the Wheal Rodney campsite, which at £20 per night in high season is well worth it.  Its quite a small site but has loads of room per pitch, and a great indoor swimming pool. The facilities are immaculate and the staff are so friendly, so its well worth staying here if you’re in town.
DSC_0325Sadly it was horrific weather when we headed down to Porthcurno, but the beaches were absolutely phenomenal, the turquoise water would fool you into believing you were in the South of France.  We had hours of fun playing with jellyfish before hiking back up to explore the Minack Theatre. Rowena Cade really was a cool old bird. We had a stupendous afternoon tea of sweet and savoury scones and wandered down to Lands End.
After a day exploring what Saint Ives had to offer (mostly art galleries and postcard writing in our case), we went surfing in the most torrential rains imaginable with Chris and Steve from Global Boarders in Gwithian. Seb nailed the surfing as the only male student with a huge harem of female surfers, we even got to see some seals. It was an exhausting two hours but well worth the effort.
DSC_0347We finally managed to score some sunshine in the beautiful barely accessible Lizard, truly one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to in my life.  The weather held out as long as the tide that nearly swallowed us. So we headed into Penzance for the evening to watch a film in a gorgeous old picture house.  We saw the World’s End, which in my opinion wasn’t a patch on its predecessors in the trilogy as I fell asleep, however this is something I do to most films and therefore probably doesn’t bare any reflection on its quality!
We were really sad to leave Cornwall when we had to head up the coast into Dorset for work, but we were so glad we made the effort to get all the way down there to see some of the most beautiful coastline that the British Isles has to offer.