Don’t cry because it’s over, smile that it happened.

This time, two weeks ago, I was stood on an overcrowded London tube with an overweight backpack on, which had a tent, a sleeping bag and a pair of wellies dangling from it. I had two other bags with me, both containing crates of Strongbow. No, I wasn’t kicked out of home, I was on my way to V Festival. The half an hour spent on the tube was immensely hot, crowded and all in all, pretty unenjoyable. But once we got onto the train into rural Essex(!), we all started to relax, cracking open the first cans of cider. An hour further down the line, I was a considerable amount of cider and a welly lighter. The long walk to find somewhere to camp was painful and agonising, especially as we had to walk past everyone elses tantalising BBQs.
Travelling aside, V Festival was fantastic fun. The mood was set when Nic and Mary went in search of my lost/stolen welly and returned, not with mine, but another random welly. It looked nothing like mine, but quite perfectly it was the right size and the correct foot! How much more serendipity can one find in a field? Each day began (at the crack of lunch) with a nutritious breakfast bar and a cider. We would then meander into the arena and see some of the most appalling acts on offer. The one that springs to mind is Peter Andre. Yes, Peter Andre. Not only did he sing what seemed like a tissue load of drivel about Jordan, he made one of the most fantastically appalling pop faux pas when he dressed up as Michael Jackson and attempted the moonwalk.
As the day warmed up and the scent of stale cider lifted, the music got better and after a lovely nap listening to the Magic Numbers, we set about seeing some of the best bands across the weekend. I saw some bands that I hated, some that I expected to hate but really enjoyed and some of my favourites, but to be honest, it didn’t matter who we were watching because it was all great fun. I don’t know which was my favourite moment. Watching the man stripping and dancing in sick to Baggy Trousers? Singing to any old Scouting for Girls song in a ludicrously posh and tuneless way? Having someone snort something suspicious off my shoulder during Prodigy? Or perhaps it was meeting the lovely guys who got us all the way to the front of Kings of Leon? There were so many amazing moments and most of them were punctuated with one word; “Alan”. Alan was the catchphrase of the weekend. Why? No one knows and to be honest, it’s not worth explaining. But, if anyone says they went to Hylands Park V Festival, just shout Alan and they will smile knowingly.
Quite appropriately it rained like a dog all of Sunday night and my tiny tent wasn’t really big enough for two of us, which meant that we were very wet by Monday morning. Monday morning provided me with my first chance to wear my mismatched wellies in the muddy trudge back to the train station. It is one thing having manky hair and smelling of cider and beer at V Festival, where everyone else looks the same, but going on the tube across London and on the 4 hour train to Edinburgh was somrthing else.
Despite a liberal spraying of dry shampoo over my head and an even more liberal dose of deodorant, I still felt so sorry for the people sitting on the table with me on the train. Thankfully, the person next to me was even stranger; he had a thick Glaswegian accent and 6 IRN BRU lined up for the journey. He also insisted on filming his fellow passengers every ten or fifteen minutes. I tell you what. My first shower in Edinburgh was just lovely – it was bliss. My time at Edinburgh festival was a real whistle-stop tour, but we saw some brilliant shows; Kevin Eldon was as wonderful as his reviews made out. Joey Page was a freebie, but turned out to be really good, despite the fact that he made me wear a veil for the majority of the show. The Impro Chums were as sharp as ever and we really enjoyed the long sketch about Terry and Julian. I’m sure that 99% of the audience were lost, but I applaud the person who suggested that. Oh and how could I forget our evening with Jim Bowen watching Bullseye? That was a truly wonderful time, but I am still a little scared that someone suggested we were fangirls of Jim. Concerning.
The next leg of my journey took me a couple of hours north into the Scottish highlands. The people of Perthshire, or more specifically the villages of Killiecrankie, Blair and Pitlochry, seem to be posher than those who hail from Surrey. I was working at Blair Horse Trials and it was as much fun as V and Edinburgh. The week started off well when we had to chase DHL through the village to get them to drop our machines off. Quite surprisingly, I got my first ride in a police car whilst I was up there. Don’t worry, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, we just convinced them to give us a lift home after we had too much to drink. That is how the people of Scotland roll; they are so friendly and willing to help. I love them.
As always, we stayed at the delightful Killiecrankie House and the food was divine. Whilst I lived on a diet of surprisingly little food and a lot of drink for the first week, I think I must have put at least 6 pounds on whilst at Blair. I had a grapefruit for breakfast and a healthy lunch, but the dinner was too much to resist. Their sticky toffee pudding was immense. I even managed to ask for sticky toffee pudding and not stiffy cocky pudding.
So now I’m home. I’ve got tonnes of great memories and I’ve laughed more in the last fortnight than I have in ages. Now I just have to cling on to those memories and look forward to the next adventure.

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