Sole kid

Life, like Tom Cruise, can be very weird. I robbed that line outright from Panti’s set at Body & Soul last weekend. A half hour retrospective sizzling with one-liners and insights as she pieced together the bizarre experience of finding herself a national treasure in recent months. Other highlights included generous helpings of falafel, general good cheer, unidentifiable music powerful enough to get the most stubborn of feet shuffling, and a previously unheard but cracking laid-out on Sunday festival lawn cover of Neil Young’s Harvest Moon, which you can listen to here.

There comes a moment in every aging festival goer’s career when one can no longer put off the inevitable. When it’s time to pause, reflect on happy times, reconcile then with now, adopt some perspective, and finally trade in the sleeping-room-only tent for one with ample standing room. Preferably chosen with the aid of a little video on a website that shows off the interior while the prospective buyers lean in to marvel at its impressive orthopaedic friendly features. We could well have given birth to the average festival weekender by the overbearing youthfulness of them, but by Jesus we’re able to maintain a comfortable up-right position as we lament not investing in some reputable ear-plugs to drown the fockers out.


A middle-aged camper awaits oil after bending his back too often

Which is exactly what our camping neighbours were thinking when they registered our Nordie riff raff status and barely suppressed their furtive glances checking for evidence of our exact position in the lowly caste. “Oh, Honey, where did you put the Buckfast?” Ha, had you there (I thought to myself). By Sunday we were on fake smile terms as our one cheerfully played with little Deloitte, Touche, Morgan and Stanley. Such adorable children. They didn’t even make fun of her when she helpfully pointed out their football was broken. She enjoys the occasional rugby tackle but her experience of them to date is confined to rigorous tickling sessions with her Da on the living room floor.

family camping

Focking right

For all the unlikely bedfellows family friendly festivals peg together, children rise to the challenge without a bother, gabbling away in their native tongue of life in the moment; the elusive moment the pair of us strain to reach through the tent that doubles as a tardis on another return journey we’re not convinced is going to land safely.


Review: Plenty of standing room so no more muscle pulling while entering and leaving. Plus and an abundance of storage pockets. Even the lip balm can have its own storage.

Drifting from stage to food stall, and from bar to ice-cream van, we managed to get within reasonable distance of The Moment. Not quite front row, but close enough to make out its features. To see the self-consciousness of its inhabitants dissolving away, its out-stretched arm offering a non-discriminatory hand to whoever fancied crossing its threshold. The promise of no-strings-attached escapism however meaningless. And meaningless is just as meaningful as life-altering experiences man, that more experienced travellers manage to reach usually with something stronger than warm beer and generous helpings of falafel.

We managed to catch most of the Moment from sitting on the shoulders of a one-child army, victorious on her hunt for every available opportunity for fun. It transpires that living in the moment also means not having to worry about needing the balls or your own two-to-four feet folk to join in. Just hook up with the others already there.

helter skelter

Sífein makes another failed bid for freedom

little house

Flights of fancy


“Wait a minute, where’s me jumpah?”

soul kids

Souldiers of fortune

22 thoughts on “Sole kid

  1. Looks like a lot of fun. Must admit though I’ve never taken to the tenting. Maybe if we’d got a standy up in one it would have been better. They were always too hot and too bright. And gawd the long treks to go for a pee. Lying there with the tent being pinned to my legs in the 100mph winds. Taking it down in after a midge hatching. Nope, no good memories of tenting.

    • I half feel your pain *flashback* The sickening early morning furnace feeling; guessing the time, figuring it’s time to get up, discovering it’s 6 and you’ve only been asleep for just two hours. How can people sound so civilised at that time with or without mind-altering substances? Highly disturbing. We swapped the tent for campervan when she was a baby. What we lost in early morning saunas, we gained in astronomical diesel bills. I’m tellin’ ya – snazzy tent is the way to go. Reclaim the walk of shiver to the loo!

    • Indeed ‘n’ I do, Tara, indeed ‘n’ I do. But alas this year is out due one of the in-laws getting hitched on the same weekend. The height of inconsideration. As a consolation prize, Body & Soul is no dozer, but without a Minefield equivalent, it lacked the unpredictable interaction and verbal mayhem that puts the Picnic head and bare shoulders above it. I’ll be relying on you to undertake all literary correspondent duties with trademark aplomb.

      • But I never remember any of it, Tenderness, and my media usage over that weekend usually consists of me desperately trying with the 1 remaining % of battery on my phone to find Person A who I left in Area 5 but was last seen drinking green champagne in a granny flat with Persons who don’t even look like Persons and keeps ringing me only to let the call drop. Then I fall asleep at a book reading in Mindfield. I tell you Tenderness, I am a hoot and a barrel of laughs rolled into a hurling field of mirth at EP, me.

      • But you still had an AMAZING time though, right? And that’s without sampling the hallucinogenic delights of the Irish language tent. What’s the Irish for zeitgeist? Anyone?

      • It’s the same, only with four fadas, that funny symbol for agus, and a lash of bitterness.

        But yes, always have an amazing time. Last year was tough going though with the 50% extra crowd free so I have this funny feeling that this year could be our last. Not the snobbery thing, now, as in it was all better years ago, but to be fair, it was all better years ago.

      • Ah yeah, quality control has slipped surely. And with Oxygen gone, and the odd one slipped in before the new term started, I feared the infestation of that dodgy breed – the teachers. It remains my anti-aging regime but I could do with entire face-devouring shades from here in. A potential commission for Tark and Mara perhaps. I’m confident they would understand my social anxieties.

      • I’m going to show my true colours here now, but I thought last year there was a noticeable influx of a far more dreaded breed – the under-20-year-old on a cocktail of ingredients, none of which they could seemingly handle even if imbibed or ingested alone. The number of people staggering around crying, angry, and abandoned by similarly addled ‘friends’ on the Friday night in particular was really off-putting. If I see much more of that this year that’ll be the end of it for me. But I might get closure by writing a nice piece where Mara takes one such hopeless twit under her wing…

  2. Not sure if this counts as music related, but your man Nathan Carter has just been on The One Show. Flippin heck what have you lot done to country music??? See I like a bit of Johnny Cash, even Furnace Mountain for the modern stuff. But this? This is just Boyzone in stetsons!! I really hope your wee one sees the light soon. Keep taking her to the festivals, and she’ll turn out fine 🙂

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