Two weeks of Sallyvan travels, a basket and some bunting. 

We are not long a home from two weeks away in Sallyvan and I am frantically trying to catch up on the washing backlog. The sun has kindly come out of hiding today so I’ve quickly washed and hung out Sallyvans rugs. And a couple of fleecy blankets.

As much as I love crochet blankets and my lovely thick old fashioned woven wool ones (I bought them second hand at Glastonbury, a fiver each, total bargain) anyone with a caravan knows you do need to be mindful of total weight when towing. With two adults, two teens and a preschooler all packed up with clothes and food for two weeks the fleecy blankets become a blessing. They weigh next to nothing and make a nice heat trapping layer between the other blankets on the beds at night. Enough promotion for fleecy blankets let’s talk about the festivals and stuff!

First we went to Green Gathering. It’s been around on and off for years but this is our first time there. We will be going again next year. Sallyvan fitted in nicely in all her elderly glory and  flower decorated loveliness. 

It was a really chilled out time, the weather was mostly kind. It’s my kind of festival as it’s non commercial and off grid. No gangs of drunken loons, no argy bargy, no sea of litter strewn everywhere everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) had its own recycling bin. The were nice composting loos which are much less nasty than portaloos or ‘long drops’ 

There is no ‘arena’ or burger vans or endless stalls hawking plastic tat and novelties. You come and go as you please, with whatever drinks you brought with you (but they also had local ciders on sale) and it’s hard to tell the stewards from the festival goers except for the yellow tabards. There are lots of little places to discover and sit and chill out. The whole place was bathed in a really lovely vibe. I had a lovely back massage one day (no stupid prices just a minimum suggested donation) then sat in the Healing Field and worked on the bunting for Sallyvan whilst listening to “Heart songs with Bee” (that’s what was chalked up on the board by the healing area entrance I think?) which was some wonderful melodic story telling lyrics accompanied by harp and cello.

You might remember I mentioned the bunting before? Sallyvan has got a really tatty pelmet strip where someone’s ripped off the old velvet flounce so I’m going to pretty it up. I’ve written my own pattern because despite a big long search on the internet I failed to find anything I really really liked. I’m using Drops Cotton Light for them because I really love the colours and it’s quite hard to work with (splitty mostly). I needed to use it for project making little things that supply a mini tah DAH gratification on a regular basis, so the challenge of working with it is rewarding rather than tiresome. 

Here’s the four I’ve made so far. They’ll probably require some gentle blocking but not too much. I don’t want perfection this time. 

You’ll notice they are not symmetrical in all three planes of symmetry because I wanted a definite bottom ‘point’ that was slightly longer and looked different to the top two corners, there is a reason for that. When I make the thickish crochet strip that will obscure most of the tatty pelmet I want the bunting to still look balanced overall. It’s hard to explain. I think you’ll understand when I’m all finished.

I actually have hardly any pictures of the first festival at all. Phones were nowhere to be seen and photos were being taken on Proper Cameras, you know with the changeable lenses and stuff. I don’t have one of those just my phone or ipod really so the devices mainly stayed in the caravan cupboard. It was quite liberating actually.

We had a few days between Green Gathering and the next festival Green Man so we booked into a campsite at Pencelli Castle. The campsite was beautiful and spotlessly clean. I fired through about six loads of washing, drying as much outside as possible before the rain set in again. Our make shift washing line gave me quite the jelly legs hoping ‘The Warden’ wouldn’t come and reprimand us. He was a bit…erm….. stern and acually quite intimidating. 

I seem to like pictures of washing don’t i? There’s something about washing on the line that makes me feel happy inside. 

Here’s the Little Dark Star and Golden Hair (who no longer has Golden Hair btw!) and Golden’s lovely bonkers freind playing cards in the tent. All wearing  fleecy ponchos. We got The Little Dark star her own one from a little stall at Green Gathering. 

Little Dark Star made a lovely little freind to play with at the campsite. The little girl spoke only Welsh and it was funny watching them babbling away to each other and playing happily even though Little Dark Star had no idea what was being said. The language of play is universal for little children I guess. 

Then it was packing up time, we very shoddily threw everything in Sallyvan and Vince (our people carrier) and set off on the twenty minute drive to Green Man. Only it wasn’t 20 minutes in the end more like an hour due to navigational error by the driver “I can’t work out what happened there” he said. 

We set up everything again (third time in under two weeks!) then went off to explore Green Man. A much bigger festival with lots of different kinds of areas to explore. We spent a lot of time in the comedy tent once Little Dark Star was snuggled up asleep in her buggy in the evenings. I got to see Adam Buxton who I have loved for many years and randomly happened to be in the right place at the right time later that night to get a picture with him. I did a little happy dance after that! I actually made a happy noise too which I’m sure he probably heard even though I was round the corner by that point. 

The festival got quite muddy due to really lashing rain on and off all day and all night at one point. 

The buggy is now a sorry state…

Its a BRILLIANT buggy though and dealt with the mud beautifully. Its really roomy too so Little Dark Star never minds cosying up in there to sleep, we’ve had it since she was small so its a familiar space for her to chill out. We strung it with pretty lights and she loved it. Our buggy is in my opinion one of the best £45 second hand bargains ever. 

The location of the festival is beautiful nestled in the Brecons and the weather changed really quickly at times from sunshine to rain to rainbows! Often the clouds were low down caressing the hillsides in little tufts or the hill tops just completely disappeared for an hour or so. The Little Dark Star ADORED all the mud on site after the really rainy spell! 

If I had a small complaint it’s that there’s not enough places under cover to just chill out without feeling you need to have bought a drink or some food to be there. Of course there are loads of tents with stuff happening but it’s really hard when you’ve got a three year old on the go who can’t keep quiet for spoken word stuff and that you don’t want to lose in a big crowd in a tent with a band on. Even Golden hair agreed, she missed the no pressure chill out places of Green Gathering and obviously felt it wasn’t appropriate for her to hang about in the bar tents. 

I’d wanted to do some workshops at Green Gathering but never got the chance either because Little Dark Star was being high maintenance and ‘spirited’ shall we say? Or I just wasn’t in the right headspace. I spotted some willow weaving tents at Green Man and the man of the yurt said I should leave him to deal with our little person whilst I did something for myself. So I did.

It was brilliant! 

I made this

It was really relaxing and meditative and oddly the willow whips gave off a smell that reminded me of my previous work as a midwife. Unless you are a midwife with that special ‘sense of smell’ going on, you’ll either think this is bonkers or gross but it sort of smells like when the woman is entering the second stage of her labour. You smell it before you even know for sure she is moving along. Its a unique smell, I’m not mad I promise! other midwives will know what smell I mean. I felt a little sad thinking about that part of my life ending for me, I’ve grieved a lot about it already, but the joy of being creative and concentrating on the work seemed to soften the blow and I was able to let the feelings come and then go gently away again.

These are some of the willow fences in my garden

You can guess I’m pretty excited to try and make some more willow stuff. I’ve already kept a batch of it previously that will now be ‘seasoned’ and are ready to soak for working with. I’m going to harvest more carefully this year and the replanting will be with getting the best whips to grow in mind. 

By pack up (again) day at the end of this second festival we were all really tired but we managed to keep cool and calm and I didn’t even flap when after we were ready to leave the site we discovered Vince had a flat battery. Jump leads were found and we were soon on the road. As we took the last of the rubbish down to the bins I spotted wet crumpled up scarf being slowly churned into the mud. It clearly had no owner anymore as the camping area was almost empty and it looked like it had been abandoned for quite some time. I picked it up and brought it home and washed it and now I’ve got this super silky lovely soft and pretty scarf instead of it ending up in the bins.

Upper middle child took care of the house and veggies whilst I was gone and did a lovely job. I came home to these lovelies. She hadn’t noticed that cucumber getting out of hand secretly tucked away down by the greenhouse path. 

The decorator also did some work whilst we were away (we can’t have any kind of painting going on with Little Dark Star around, she already sabotaged the plasterers handiwork!) so now we are ready to move along with having our long awaited new kitchen fitted. Its been thirteen years of living in this house and inheriting a horrible old impractical non family orientated galley kitchen and finally it’s really feeling like its going to happen. I keep imaging cooking in the new space with my girls able to hang out nearby at the dining table or at the breakfast bar giving me a hand with chopping the veggies. I’m so so excited! 

It’s been a busy but lovely month. Sorry its a long entry but I hope you enjoyed it. I enjoyed sharing my happy times with you.