So, from Friday at 8.30 am to Monday at 8.30 pm I was away at a festival. The website said there would be full wifi coverage, so I decided to blog from the festival, but in the event I couldn't get on the Internet for more than a couple of minutes at a time. So here's a rundown from very recent memory, using Carol's 'six senses' approach. Imagine me sitting in the food tent (like a huge marquee with no sides full of rectangular eight-seater tables and folding chairs) in a grassy field surrounded by morning sunshine, tempting food outlets, interesting people, enjoyable music, and wasps.
I can see:
Stalls advertising all kinds of food: Thai, Indian, a couple of excellent veggie outlets, baked potatoes and baguettes, Welsh, English, Mexican, ice-cream, paella, fuffle (a very sweet confection between fudge and truffle), and the awesome Pie Minister.
A short queue of relaxed people, chatting happily with each other, at every stall.
A portly man in a straw hat, orange shirt, creased dark green linen shorts, black socks and black Morris shoes, talking on a mobile phone.
An boy of 11 or 12, riding a unicycle slowly, with one hand on the saddle and a look of intense concentration.
A lively little blonde girl aged four or five in a pink fairy dress and fairy wings and bare feet, dancing on the grass.
I can hear:
A trio behind me - accordion, fiddle and flute - practising tunes steadily and well (the little blonde girl is dancing to their music)
Three wasps buzzing around my breakfast plate
My eco-friendly wooden knife snapping as I try to cut a fried egg
Chat and laughter
The whirr of a mobility scooter passing by
I can feel:
The heat of the sun on my left shoulder and the cool of the shade on my right thigh
The warmth of the good intentions of other festival-goers
Love for, and from, my friends who are here with me, even the ones who are still asleep
Excitement about the dancing I plan to do, and the gigs I intend to see, today
Everyday cares dissolving in the festival solution
I can touch:
The smooth formica top of the table in front of me
The familiar keys of my laptop
The eco-friendly wooden cutlery, strangely rough to my fingertips
My own smooth sun-warmed shoulder
The wasp taking a swim in my orange juice, if I want to flirt with danger
I can smell:
Barbecue smoke from someone's home-cooked sausages
The brown sauce I poured onto the edge of my veggie fry-up
Shampoo from the freshly-showered head of a passer-by
Bacon frying from the Welsh food stall (free range of course)
I hope that's given you a sense, in a very real way, of my experience. It's a tiny fragment of an enormously stimulating whole. I could tell you so much more: about the delight of exchanging banter with my friends under their gazebo on the bank of the Severn as stately swans floated by; learning Cajun dancing with a good friend (although I have to say the Crippled Chicken nearly crippled me); how glad I was that my Paramour had encouraged me to pack a hot water bottle (I will never camp in England without one again); baked potatoes with goat's cheese and caramelised onions; Gilmore and Roberts and Chuck Brodsky making me cry; Belshazzar's Feast and Chuck Brodsky making me laugh; pogoing in the mosh pit to Bellowhead. It's hard to come down from the festival high and return to everyday life.