Thursday, August 19, 2004

Goats - are you serious?

Plans to get into the office today are put on hold as I get out of bed at 7.30am and promptly fall over (well fortunately I manage to fall backwards, back into bed).

Driving down the M62 suddenly doesn’t seem like such a smart idea.

On the Greenbelt front I’m generally trying to tie up loose ends, with only a week to go until the festival opens.

A request from one of the Contributors in Pulse is forwarded to me: “can we bring goats to the festival”.

Of course it would quite possibly be possible for this to happen. We’d have to find a space for their pen, OK things with the racecourse, check out DEFRA conditions, sort out the animal welfares aspects and run through health and safety issues.

Do I feel like starting this process 7 days before we go live?

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Smiling through the Pain

Today is full of ups and downs that predictably follow the efficacy of the painkillers. When they wear off I realise just how bad the underlying pain is.

I’m not sure how much of the dizziness comes from the ear infection and how much from the codeine.

Stewart comes around in the evening and after a Chinese takeaway we curl up on the sofa to watch Almost Famous on DVD.

I’ve forgotten how much I like that film – a perfect easy evening in – just what I needed.

Tuesday, August 17, 2004


The ear infection is definitely back. Will power alone makes me fight through the pain and make it into work, but by mid-afternoon I can take no more and head home in agony.

I manage to get an emergency appointment at the GPs, but having to sit in the waiting room for 45 minutes is horrendous and for the first time in my life I realise what it is to nearly pass-out due to pain.

Reluctantly I have to accept a course of antibiotics is necessary and much as I usually tend to avoid painkillers, the two sets of superstrength ones that the doc prescribes are very welcome. They take a while to kick in and in the meantime I spend the evening on the sofa not so much sleeping as passing in and out of consciousness.

It’s quite late before I manage to get it together enough to text Stewart to explain why I’ve ‘gone quiet’. Bless him, he offers to come round and look after me, but right now the only thing I want to see is my duvet.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Drinks before Sunset

Tonight we were supposed to see Before Sunrise at the Cornerhouse, but Stewart remembers at the last minute that he has a management group meeting at work, so we settle for drinks at Kro Bar.

Conversation is hampered somewhat by the fact that my hearing is going in my left ear – I fear the infection is back.

Sunday, August 15, 2004


Usually at this point in the year the spare room would be filled with piles of things that I need to take to Greenbelt. Everything from extension leads and fans for the electric wheelchair/scooter charging room, to piles of paperwork and reference folders and inflatable mattresses to sleep on.

This year however things are running behind (one or two distractions…) and so I get up early (well early for a Sunday) resolved to catch up.

Step 1 – clear the spare bed of all the junk that has accumulated
Step 2 – unpack crates from last year’s Greenbelt
Step 3 – give up and go downstairs

So I’m not too much further on, but in the course of displacement activity I did get completely caught up on Greenbelt emails, tidy the kitchen, mow the lawn and cut back lots of vegetation, entertain the neighbourhood kids for half an hour and finish reading the NME.

Better start back with the packing tomorrow I guess.

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Into town for a haircut and shopping.

In a moment of excellent timing, Caroline calls 20 seconds after Sylvia has added the last of the colour. Accordingly I can take the call out on the stairs and it is so good to talk. As ever though I wish I could do more.

My finger tips and top corner of my phone now bear a shade similar to my hair, but this a small price to pay for being able to talk to her.

After some very quick clothes shopping I meet up with Sarah in Waterstone’s café and in due course Rachel joins us. Several hours later we move on to Wagamama's where Phil joins us.

In the process of Sarah texting Phil to tell him where to meet us, she announces the following fact: Wagamama is one of those rare long words that although is not in your predictive text dictionary, is at least is comprised of letters that are all the first option on each key when you type it in the old fashioned way. Furthermore each consequetive letter falls on a different key, making it very uick and simple to type.

Surely there should be some term equivalent to Googlewhack for words such as this?

Friday, August 13, 2004

Honestly...I am OK.

I’m on leave today to try and catch up on Greenbelt work.

I do what I can, but it’s hard to concentrate when you are worried about a friend. I know she wouldn’t want her friends to be so disturbed on her behalf, but it comes as part of the package when you care about someone. The hardest thing to cope with is the sense of utter uselessness in being able to do anything to ease the pain for her.

Stewart had to take Tor to work with him today and in reward for good behaviour he took him afterwards for food and a movie (Thunderbirds). Not wishing to add a downer to their evening, I purposely wait to reply to Stewart’s texts asking how everything is until after Tor’s bedtime.

This does not go down well. I don’t know how to explain to him that I’m not shutting him out, but rather I’m an independent soul used to coping and therefore saw no reason to ruin their evening as well.

Fortunately it gets resolved via a very long phone call. But we’re going to have to work on this one I think.

On the plus side he managed to pick up tickets this morning for the Polyphonic Spree, so he's scoring 'good boyfriend' points there, so perhaps it's worth the effort...

Thursday, August 12, 2004


Stewart returns from his travels, but manages to arrive on my doorstep just as I am reading this.

A distraught and sobbing girlfriend wasn’t quite what he was expecting to return home to, but he’s a complete angel.

I’m not best used to being looked after, but tonight I’m prepared to go with the flow.

Wednesday, August 11, 2004


Sarah opened an envelope today to find a cheque for £17k. OK it wasn’t actually for her, but rather an unexpected windfall for the beleaguered church that she finds herself Priest in Charge of.

Anyone seeing the church building would know that this is but a drop in the ocean of what is needed, but out of the blue it’s an amazing turn up for the books.

Understandably she feels in the mood for going out and celebrating. I'm in similar mood, though my reason for celebrating is somewhat less impressive - we finally got the Venue Manager ticketing sorted today (surely it shouldn't have been this hard?).

Sarah however also needs an early night and I need to get back at a reasonable time to do the nightly Greenbelt slog.

Celebration…early night…it all inevitably adds up to another trip to That Café to take advantage of the Early Birds menu (£10 for two courses of food of this calibre is value beyond compare!).

I do worry that I’m becoming a bit too much of a regular though, when I’m greeted by “oh excellent, I’m glad you’re here, we just got some Lady Grey tea in today for you”.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Signs it's raining too hard:

  1. You have to drive at 15mph on the motorway and so are late for your meeting

  2. You get soaked in the 10 yards from car park to cabin, despite having an umbrella

  3. Despite being 15mins late you still beat 3 other attendees, who have got stuck more locally due to roads being closed

  4. One of the cabin roofs has fallen in, meaning you watch a growing stream run from that evacuated office and down the corridor towards the meeting room

  5. You stop at Tescos for a sandwich and in the time it takes you to pop in grab a sandwich and pay, the onslaught has been so great that their drain@ge system simply can’t cope and a huge lake has now formed at the entrance, keeping everyone captive in the store (on the plus side it means you remember that your mother wanted you to pick up a copy of the paperback Harry Potter for her - £3.87 – bargain!)

  6. You get back to the design offices to find the lake has burst its banks

  7. Even the ducks look pissed off

Monday, August 09, 2004

Rainy weather blues

Crazy weather, the rain just doesn’t stop. It’s hot, humid and stormy and predictably enough I’m battling a migraine.

I hate this type of weather.

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Lazy Sundays

At last a true lie-in and boy did I need it!

Eventually I decamp to the garden and spend another afternoon switched off from all festival work.

I relent and do an hour or two before heading out with Phil and Sarah to see I, Robot.

Plans to assimilate me (I believe that phrase has some resonance?) into their Sci-Fi world are not going too well. It was an OK film, but no I won’t be reading the essay anytime soon. Sorry.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Late Nights and Early Mornings

George came over for a girly night out last night (that’ll be Georgina for those confused). Lacking in inspiration we head to That Café for some top nosh.

With the drinking before, during and after, I’m fairly well juiced when the phone rings at 11pm and I’m landed with the accusation “Just how drunk are you?”.

I blame the Baileys.

Well actually I blame George who habitually leads me astray down the Baileys road to ruin.

Even so, I remember to set my alarms and wake in time for the box office opening at 9.30am in order to procure two tickets for Franz Ferdinand in October.

After ploughing through a pile of Greenbelt emails and making some overdue Greenbelt phonecalls I decide I need some chill out time and retreat to the garden with a good book, a glass of wine and Terry Callier on the hi-fi. Bliss.

Friday, August 06, 2004

Shaun's map

This is what Shaun calls a rough sketch:

Tis a thing of beauty I think you'll agree. The fuller version is available here.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Meet the Parents

Drinks tonight with Stewart and Sarah in town. Sarah is the only one there with a clear conscience. I managed an hour of Greenbelt emails before coming out, but more remain and Stewart is supposed to be packing for his trip with Tor to see family in Norway.

Stewart and I arriving together to find Sarah in the bar, feels a bit like some exercise in meeting the parents. I’m nervous as we wait to see if Sarah can get beyond her amusement re the whole thing and actually be OK about us being together.

It’s a little awkward at first, but Ok in the end. I think.

Some of the tension of the evening is relieved by bumping into Jo and Ian, who I haven’t seen for years. Jo and I started together as graduates at a former employers nearly 11 years ago. Together with Pete and Katy we used to meet up regularly for meals at each other’s houses. Slowly over time we drifted apart. Katy moved to rural Lancashire and Pete went first to Africa and then to London.

Jo and I decide to put this right and resolve to organise a meet-up for the four of us some time. She is still in touch with Katy and I have vague email contact with Pete. It would be nice to catch up with everyone again.

Light at the End of the Tunnel?

You know that Greenbelt is close when Pete starts sending through the 10 day weather forecasts. Frighteningly enough these started coming through this week, as the early stages of the site build will commence in less than 10 days time.

Up until now the forecasts did not make great reading; grey clouds and threats of rain. Today however, for the first time there was a chink of sunshine peeping out from behind the cloud graphic for day 10.

Matching this, there seems to be a downturn in the number of emails flooding in and many of those that do arrive reflect the completion of an issue rather than something new. Could my festival workload also be lightening up?

Let’s hope both these trends continue.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Could this be the end of my tether I see before me?

All the good work of a night off last night, is undone when I log-on this evening and find piles of Greenbelt emails waiting for me. This in itself wouldn't be too bad, but I'm pushed over the edge by the one enquiring as to why I haven't got back to them since Monday night about a favour they're after.

I won't tell you the response Stewart suggests I make to this; probably my actual response involving references to a day-job and a life was rude enough.

Just as I'm starting to feel really bad about hitting send on that somewhat terse response, I speak to Ben and discover that the same request has been made independently to him. Like we're not busy enough already without unwittingly doubling up efforts!

It also transpires that despite very detailed and specific discussions with people regarding who Ben and I were ticketing this year, people have still managed to go against everything that was agreed and we're now left trying to sort the mess out.

Fortunately my growing bad mood is lifted when I open Shaun's fabulous graphic of the camping area, which will hopefully be on the website soon and serve to resolve some of the confusion. I was hoping for a passable sketch and we've ended up with a thing of beauty. Boy, did I ever ask the right person on that one!

As George and I always say about Greenbelt stuff: we love it when a plan comes together...

Tuesday, August 03, 2004


Miserable weather. Hot, humid and tipping it down with rain.

The office and it’s supposed climate control is just stiffling. And out the window all I can see is rain lashing it down across the lake. Even the ducks are sheltering.

Conditions on the motorways are predictably bad and it takes me the best part of 2 hours to get back to Manchester.

And still it rains.

It rains so hard that even this cold-hearted moggie hater, relents and agrees that on this occasion the cats should be allowed back into the house. In typical cat fashion however, they show no gratitude for this compromise and spend the night scratching and whining outside the bedroom door, desperate to be let in.

Not a chance.

Monday, August 02, 2004

Notes on...

It’s the time of year, when my social life gets pretty much shelved.

Accordingly, and not having even read the first page of this week’s book, I bunk off book group and spend the night in the now familiar pattern of sitting with the laptop wading through the day’s inflow.

So if anyone has read Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal, please use the comments below to let me know what I missed…

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Local Sounds

Listening to the sounds drifting in through the open window today it seems that

a) my neighbour’s kids may well have kicked a football into my (partially roofless) garage again
b) that alarm is going off again
c) someone has taken to racing cows around the neighbourhood

We can’t be bothered to get up to investigate any of these, but we decide after a while that the cows may actually be trail bikes on the Nutsford Vale land.

Personally though, I prefer the thought that the cow-parade cows may have come to life over night.