On Ilkley Moor (& that)


Name that Tune: “I love this record but I can’t see straight anymore” – Just Dance, Lady Ga Ga

Movie Quote of the Day: “We are mysterious creatures aren’t we? And in the end so much of it seems not to matter” – Evening

Well we are back from the wilds of Ilkley Moor & the Moor Music Festival.

I say ‘wilds’ but it was hardly Cathy & Heathcliffe territory, we were actually camped on a lowland flat field on a farm, a very civilized 5 minute drive to the Morries at Skipton railway station.

On arrival we were directed by a steward with dreads down to his knees to the Family & Quiet camping zone. When I asked that he define the term Quiet, fearing for a next day rebuke from the organizers for our combined collective of childerbeast keeping everyone awake, he replied that the adjacent camp area was more likely to contain the heavy drinkers & habitual drug users, so he was therefore unable to guarantee that no-one would fall onto our tent in the wee small hours in a drug & cider fuelled rampage!

We opted for the Quiet camping area & hoped for the best; fingers crossed that it wouldn’t be any of us doing exactly that onto someone else’s tent.

Nothing much was happening on the first night and several of our party weren’t arriving until the following day anyway so it was a fairly calm start to the festival festivities, although we did bust out the ready made Margueritas once our tents were up & various paraphernalia set out: – gazebo up, lime green tent carpet in place; inflatable parrot, pink flamingo windmill & multi-coloured fish windsock firmly attached the tent roof & gaily spinning or flapping in the breeze. Oh yeah! No travelling light for us Brewers. It aint called camping for nothing, if I could have found some solar powered fairy lights in time they would have been covering the tent aswell.

Once we did check out the main arena me & the Bman decided fairly quickly that it wasn’t as good as last year’s Northern Green Gathering, no pizzas in the Wierdigans café this year (Boo) but they had the Guarana & Brandy truffles & the chilli hot chocolate again (Whoo hoo). Pizzas were available from another stall though so all was not lost. In the spirit of the thing we would go with the flow & enjoy ourselves nonetheless.

Ironically & perhaps somewhat ridiculously, the Ladybird marquee, (arts & crafts for the kids during the day) which doubled up as the Green Stage after 7:30pm & went on until 06:30am was the first tent inside the main gates & approximately 50meters from our camp in the supposedly Quiet camping zone. I had earplugs (of course) & spent the night trying to scrabble about in my rucksack by torchlight looking for more pairs to stick in the kids’ ears to help them get off to sleep. They managed eventually but R woke a few times in the night asking what the noise was, (random musical acts from the Green Room & some cider casualties in the opposite camp trying to remember the words to the song; On Ilkley Moor Bat’hat).

On Friday lunchtime the Farndale Posse arrived so we helped them pitch up before we all headed into the main bit to see what was going on. We decided that Friday night was going to be the boys big night so they could have Saturday to recover rather than feeling rough on Sunday when they all had to drive when it came time to leave. Saturday would be for the girls to go out and get lairy & leave them back at camp with the smallfry. When it came to the evening though, Bman had a banging headache from too much sun & not enough water & opted to take an early bath. The ladies weren’t bothered about staying up too late, with not being able to have fires at camp it’s not much fun sitting out in your camp chair in the cold so I jumped at the chance to join the other 2 boys for some after hours time in the main arena. Of course, the inevitable happened… not ever usually getting the opportunity at these things to be out after 10:30pm because I am usually the one back at camp with the childerbeast, I got a little demob happy. After a couple of ciders I disappeared to the stinky loos & opted to head back to camp to see if the ladies were still up (they weren’t) so I decanted half a bottle of Jose Cuervo into a water bottle, stuck 2 lemons in my coat pocket, a salt shaker & the old trusty Swiss army knife, secreted the bottle under my armpit as I breezed past security and then went on a mission to find the lads again. No joy in the Earl Hickey Tribute Lounge (spoken word, comedy & poetry), not in the Green Room watching Manga cartoons, not on the Frii Spray in the bar area or bopping along to the Silent Disco but eventually success:- There they were hunched over a table outside the bar, looking as if they were about to get into a scrap with some acid casualty as they discussed their various takes on fatherhood or something equally way too deep for a Friday night at a festival.

Never fear!

Tequila bird is here!

Did I mention that Friday was Fancy dress day so I was still dressed as a Witch at this point, although the Regatta waterproof walking coat spoiled the look somewhat. I also had a supply of pistachio nuts in the tip of my witches hat for those late night munchies & a sequined head torch on over the wig.

The boys later said that I had appeared out of the dark like some apparition, torch on full beam, rescuing them from this random barfly who had latched onto them & had begun slicing lemons before I had even sat down. They also told Bman the next day that I had smuggled the whole bottle of tequila into the area inbetween my butt cheeks & the last time they saw me I was running naked across the field pouring it all over myself, laughing manically.

So untrue! It was way too cold for any of that malarkey! 😉

No idea who the barfly was, I only recall some half-hearted deep & meaningful convo about parenthood, think possibly he was about to become a father & was suffering self doubts, or his missus wanted kids & he didn’t, or something along those lines. I forget. I was too busy slicing lemons & dishing out shots.
Managed to misjudge a slice & almost took the end of my finger off. Funny how such things never hurt that much at the time but completely wreck the next day when the anaesthetic wears off.

I awoke the next day after somehow finding my way back to camp without the boys who stayed out later (apparently I didn’t tell them I was leaving, I just vanished in the same puff of smoke that I had arrived in). I was still fully dressed in the morning although I had taken off my boots & wig, although the wig may have just slipped off as I no doubt crashed through the tent door like a tsunami. The toe of my fishnet tights had become attached to the zipper of the bedroom door during the night so every time I did switch position and moved my leg, I also kept unzipping the tent a little.

I eventually surfaced late morning to a ripple of applause, groaned & crawled onto the rug outside the tent & laid there pretty much inert for the duration of the day. How the boys who, I am sure had drunk more than me, were mobile & able to go back into the fray for another day of it I really do not know. I was a spangly head torch adrift, possible down a minging chemical toilet somewhere, feeling like death warmed up & looking like a hot contender to have joined in with the mass participation Zombie collective being staged at the Big Chill festival that my sister was at.

With the childerbeast taken care of my the ladies & Bman & occupied by being creative in the Ladybird tent I was happy to loaf like a dying slug contemplating what, if anything, I should eat or drink to try & get me back into the land of the living. It took a good dose of mother/daughter laughter between me & R taking silly photos of each other to hoist me from the tent (to which I had slunk back to even though it was a blazing hot afternoon). It was 4pm when I finally took myself off to the main field. Pizzas were ordered for the childerbeast & I had a disappointingly dry falafel kebab & lots of non alcoholic liquid to irrigate the old system. We kept the little ones up until 10pm when we had hoped to send them off to bed after watching a little educational Burlesque in the Green Room but it was not to be. Instead we got some strange man playing instruments made from bicycle wheels, lightbulbs & old gramophones, which don’t get me wrong, was most diverting but wasn’t quite the corsets & feather boas we had taken our beanbag seats for.

Note to the organizers; Please try and stick to the schedule that we all printed off from your website.

Still, the childerbeast slept well that night, in fact A fell asleep sat on my knee wile we were waiting, which may have been tiredness from her busy creative schedule making fizzy bathbombs, dream catchers & lanterns & generally painting herself in various shades of yellow, but I suspect the passive inhalation of smoke from couple sat infront of us enjoying a recreational cigarette of dubious content may also have been a contributing factor.

So us ladies took our Petite Ya Yas back to camp & got them into bed. Mine woke up & had a second wind for about half an hour. I promised them hot chocolate & a (half ten) midnight feast so they ate flapjack & sang along to a most unfestivally ‘Take That’ tape while I waited an age for the kettle to boil on the camp stove. When I eventually served them up the promised hot chocolate they had fallen back asleep! One of the ladies had opted for an early bath herself & the other was having a rare night out with her husband, romantically churning up some mud in the Homespun stage to the Utah Saints. Bman was still out there somewhere, but after my fun the previous night I was happy to just chill (quite literally as it was a bit parky out, even with my 2 mugs of hot chocolate to keep me warm) & get into my sleeping bag & snuggle up to the childerbeast & get my head down.

All the music stopped at midnight which was a bit strange for a Saturday night, especially as the running order stated that stuff was meant to be going on until the early hours. I was happy though. I was out like a light.

Sunday was time to pack up which is always the worst bit about camping.
One of the Petite Ya Yas got his finger trapped in the mechanism of the folding trolley our friends had to help transport everything from car to site. It was a pretty severe cut so he got a ride in an ambulance, sirens blaring, more to wake the hungover masses than because it was such an emergency. We though he had lost the tip but it seems that apparently it’s just a fracture, so he won’t be able to try & impress girlfriends in 15 years time with the tale of how he lost the end of his finger at a festival when he was 2.

On that note it was time for us all to depart and another Crap Posse Camp was over for another year.

Good Times Indeed. If only it could be like that every weekend.

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