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Sunday, 8 April 2012

Events, eggs, and excitement.

Barely two weeks since launch date, and one event, the Mindfulness Workshop, has already sold out. Hot on its heels for popularity and up-take of tickets are Camila Batmanghellidjh, John Simpson, Mark Williams, Will Hutton, Melissa Ben, Claudia Hammond, Stuart Maconie, John ‘Boycie’ Challis, and the Swindon Think Slam!

Talking of competitions, as I write, final judgements are being made, from hundreds of entries, for our big Battered Moons Poetry Competition. And judging is already complete in the smaller but equally intriguing Young People’s FLIT180 novel-into-a-film competition Talking of competitions, entries are coming in fast for both Swindon Slams, the poetry and the think one. At this rate, final contestants may have to be drawn from a hat.

The pre-Festival warm-up event has happened, in the shape of Paraguay at the Platform. It was great to flex our organisational and technical muscles at a new venue; learn a few more things about the importance of getting it right on the night; and then enjoying the fruits of our labours. The harpists, in costume, excelled themselves, as did the stand-in Mastermind contestant. And the Paraguayan food, chipa and sopa, hand-cooked by two natives of that country, who are better know as composer-conductor and banker-‘ambassador’, hit the spot too. By the end of the interval, it was all gone.

And at the Festival’s HQ, Lower Shaw Farm, spring’s first chicks have hatched, live, in front of our eyes, in the Dairy. It is reckoned that you have not lived till you have seen a chick come out of an egg. If that’s true, then a whole bunch of children and grownups have well and truly lived as they witnessed every dinosaur-like little cheeper shell-tooth its way into the world. Once dried and straightened out, the multi-coloured chicks are cute beyond belief.

On Easter Sunday, at 3pm, residents and visitors from Lower Shaw Farm, plus a good few adventure-seekers from Swindon, will be egg-rolling on the slopes of Avebury. A real tradition and loads of fun. You can come too.

Matt Holland