So ridiculously early on Friday morning we set off to Greenbelt. We were on the 6:30 Red Funnel from Cowes, joining with The Oustons and the Murphys. I felt sorry for the barely awake passengers on the ferry who were hoping for a quiet peaceful crossing.
We managed to meet up with everyone in our group in a car park just outside Cheltenham and then joined the long queue in.
The weather had been bad and we had been warned that we might not be allowed to take our car on to the racecourse to camp. When we arrived we were told this was the case but that we could get on to the main camping field with cars and that a steward would direct us. Well at the key point of making a decision between a preferable location where we could camp together and carrying the gear the stewards ran out and we were left fending for ourselves.
In true Gibson indecisiveness we (to the tune of the Hokey Cokey )”we got the stuff out of the car, the stuff in the car, got back into the cars and drove all about” eventually we went back to abandoning the cars and very naughtily dragged everything over the racecourse to get to an empty bit of ground. We were very grateful for Dave’s trailer which did sterling sevice dragging our gear illicitly across to our pitch.
So we got pitched, had some dinner and headed out. We started the complicated arrangements of who had which younger children, who was going to go and queue and what for, what time older ones might come back and when we would all manage to coincide and eat!
Shara and I headed off to a session on food and rituals – this was mostly little bits of talking and then discussion in small groups – it seemed that Shara and I did more food and rituals than others in the group so we didn’t really learn very much but picked up a few nice ideas. then it was off to join the big queue to get the children registered for the kids activities! Only it wasn’t there – there was no queue at all – we went straight in and got them sorted – amazing. although we were warned there would still be a horrific queue the next morning.
So back to the tent quick regroup and off to see the amazing Jude Simpson with Martin. When we were here two years ago we only just managed to get in to see her so we arrived early – we got in easily this time perhaps because she had been upgraded to the bigtop. She was just as funny as we remembered and it was a good start to Greenbelt
Even if you are registered in the children’s area you are not guaranteed a space. Tokens for a session are handed out at 8.45. If you are in the queue at 8.45 and they run out you are guaranteed and afternoon place if you are there after 8.45 you are guaranteed nothing. So people go with their chairs and flasks and papers and wait early. I decided I didn’t care which session they went to so got there about 8.30 to wait. The queue was far longer than I expected and it took me a few minutes to walk to the end of it. When I arrived at the front I managed to get the children’s tickets and headed back to the tent to turn round again and return with the children <phew> just as well i could get tickets for all the children going.