Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Busy Week

I suppose it’s the irony of blogging that when a lot is happening in your life you have no time to blog about it.

Of course I should perhaps try and pretend that the activities that have kept me from blogging have been utterly glamorous and exciting. A catch up blog along these lines perhaps?

Sadly the reality in my case is far less impressive. In truth a large proportion of my time has been spent on the laptop, frantically trying to pull together some sort of venue management coverage that will secure the ability of a programme packed Greenbelt to go ahead.

It needs a complete hammering to pull back some time and thoughts of leaving to go on holiday on Saturday morning, turn into late afternoon plans and then eventually a phone call to the good Caroline to say “I’ll be so less stressed if I spend tonight blitzing this and then head to you tomorrow morning”.

It’s a good friend that is ok with such behaviour (or at the very least prepared to pretend to be ok about such shocking bad manners). I’m pissed off that the start of my week off is now just 24 hrs in Bristol with Caroline as opposed to the full weekend we’d hoped for.

We did however have a fab time. Lots of giggling and gossiping, hamster related fun (yay – feed them enough monkey nuts so that their cheeks bulge to full capacity!), a meal at Wagamamas, James Bond style vehicle shenanigans, window shopping, tours of Bristol and yet more giggling.

On Monday Caroline reluctantly heads off to work leaving me with a few hours to kill before hitting the road myself. Annoyingly I realise I don’t have Kirsty’s phone number with me – it would have been a long-shot that she would have been free for a coffee, but even so…

Ah well, if all else fails…go shopping!

Of course Paul will probably be horrified that I gave Cribbs Causeway my custom, but hey it was on the way to the M5. Two pairs of shoes (sale time hurrah!), a pair of sunglasses and a laptop bag later I make it to the motorway and head south to meet my parents in Dartmoor.

The hotel in Ilsington is as lovely as ever. They don’t have wonderful disabled facilities as standard, but are so good to us that their flexibility and helpfulness more than make up and means that a holiday is possible for Mum.

Mum is still wearing the ridiculous boot contraption and her mobility is even more hampered than usual, just transferring from chair to chair is a major undertaking. They’re waiting for a further consult to try and improve things.

In the meantime it is putting an additional strain on Dad. They want to stay on a few days after I leave on the Friday, but this is dependent on Dad feeling that by them he can cope solo. Accordingly I’m unable to offer even the usual level of help as he ‘needs to try and do it alone’. I do what other tasks I can, but it feels insufficient.

More than anything they are both worn out and tired. I use their end of the afternoon rests and early nights to make good use of the hotel swimming pool and still manage several hours each day on the computer trying to keep on top of all the Greenbelt work.

Sadly the weather through the week is not too great. Still it’s lovely to be able to spend time together and when the sunshine does break through, drive up over the moors and do our annual pilgrimage across to Cornwall.

Kit Hill is the equivalent of a family heritage site. My father’s mother was born within site of this striking landmark and grew up beneath (literally) the famous Tamar rail bridge, which is also visible from the hill.

The week flies by and all too soon it’s Friday evening and I head off towards Cheltenham to the Site Operations weekend.

Of course when this date was booked, we had no idea that we would be clashing quite so spectacularly with the Live 8 concerts and the G8 marches in Edinburgh. Texts messages from friends at one or the other make we wish I could be with them…

On top of which, Kathryn is getting priested this weekend. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to be in the right area of the country and still not be able to make it.

I don’t have time to get too maudlin though, as this weekend is all about working (and playing) hard. Even outside of the meetings there are discussions to be had and decisions to be made. Key people are missing though which makes things strange and rather difficult at times: David is sadly unable to join us due to having seriously done his back in, Pete manages to pop in for a bit, but is rather tied up with organising a Dame Kiri Te Kanawa concert in Centaur, Ben is fully immersed in the Bradford Festival and so on and so on. On Friday night it looks like we’re going to have no one from GB staff and no programme information. The wonderful Paul saves the day, gives up a bit of his valuable weekend off and pops in for an hour first thing on Saturday morning.

The meeting goes well and seems (from people’s comments) to have been productive. I have a slight concern though that the reason it feels so good is that we still have very little solid information to plan with. I fear it’s not that there are no problems, it’s more that we just don’t know what they are yet.

I fear get-in week and the festival itself are going to be very stressed this year – with lots of unknowns jumping out at us. Not good.

Still if anyone can cope it will be this crowd. As ever, I’m awed by the abilities of this bunch of people to make things work. The commitment and creative problem solving is truly something to behold.

After a night at the pub (joined by the excellent Caroline – so good to have her out with her Ops family again!) and late night revelry involving watching Live 8 and drinking the Rob’s Greenbelt 05 Puppykicker Ginger Beer (mighty fine for a home brew!) I slept like a log…for a good 4.5 hrs before getting up for breakfast.

The morning is spent doing a few exterior site tour bits - primarily the new North Stage area. You know you’ve appointed the right venue management team when one of them is prepared to drive cross-country to meet you on site for this and hence get a feel for the space and the issues!

The presence of the immense Sunday Market/Car Boot Sale on this bit of site, doesn’t make planning any easier, but having literally just commented on the junk being sold and “why would anyone buy this type of crap”, my eye is caught by something yellow with long legs on wheels. Hmmm… details will follow in about 1 weeks time…

After a pub lunch up on Cleeve Hill we disband and head our respective ways.

I’m glad to get home. It’s been a tiring week all in all. I think I need a holiday…

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