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Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Daisy dew, dawn delight, a walk, a run, and a lot of fun

On Festival Eve, the night before the morning after, 27 helpers, performers, and serious supporters sat down to supper at Lower Shaw Farm, and wolfed down their lemon cake pudding in order to gather round the woodstove to discuss plans for dawn.

Who will wake whom at 3am? Who will put up the flags and who will get the chairs from the old creaky-doored church? And who will guide the red tractor-bearing trailer on a route that avoids one-in-three Kingshill? And what will we do on that high ridge by the stone plinths?

Well, suffice to say that, next day, or night, by 3.53 the whole crew was on site in Lawn Woods, even before the early birds had stirred.

You can guess who broke the pre-dawn silence. The red tractor, off its trailer and freed from its ratchet-tight shackles, burst into diesel-driven life and chugged its way up to the stone plinths and neatly parked itself stage left under the tree, bold and bright for all to see. In fact, with the morning sun shining on her poppy-red bum, sorry, rear mud guard, ‘she’ was fetching, feted, and fabulous; but had to wait till the sun had fully risen for ‘her’ turn to perform.

As dawn threatened to break but there was still enough darkness to hide a secret indulgence, I delighted in a daisy-dew face wash, head-down in the grass, freshening up in the morning dew.

Soon, streaming through the shadows under the trees, the crowds came, called form their beds by something more timeless, mysterious, and meaningful than an old tractor.

Dawn was about to break, the sun was rising, as it has since our time began, as it has since our time began,…

And the rest, as they say is now history: newly-back from Nicaragua Jake, on watering can; newly made granddad Danny, on pipes; Tom, Jake, and Fergie making fire and music move us; the Swindon Scratch Choir raising their voices for us and to the rising sun, which rose, obediently, as they sang; Suitcase Pete making words, hoola hoops, and chirpy teenager all work for him and us; Rachel Rose telling one memorable and spell-binding story; Andria Walton as Rainbow Fairie playing tin whistle to transport us to tin whistle land; Alison ‘Poetry Pod’ Brumfitt reciting poems about the here and now; Tony Hillier and Music Alive bringing the maypole to life; and the smell of hot coffee and bacon butties doing what only such things can do.

It was a great morning. See what others say at Festival Chronicle and Swindon Advertiser.

The afternoon wasn’t bad either. In spring sunshine, we ran 5k round Lydiard park, with Alexandra Heminsley, Bruce Tulloh, and scores of others who know the benefits of the body in motion; and then had a very good chat about running and writing and thinking about it.

The walkers meanwhile were walking, and talking, and listening to Rachel Rose Reid tell stories.

We ended the day listening to Patrick Barkham, the Brian Cox of badgers, say things like this. If you don’t want a badger to snap your leg in its vice-like jaws, put a stick down your wellie and when it hears that snap, it will think it’s broken your bone and therefore relax its grip.

With another 12 days to look forward to, we cannot relax ours.

Photo credits: Richard Wintle – Calyx Multimedia