Wednesday 9 August
Set off today to Banbury where we parked up on an industrial estate in Banbury just 10 minutes from the train station. This trip I am accompanied by my old Scottish mate Glyn McSnoozy who I have known for nearly 40 years having worked with him on Green watch at West Bridgford fire station when we were both freshly out of training school. The reason for this jolly jaunt is that we are visiting the Great British Beer Festival and then the Cropredy Music Festival which is about 6 miles from Banbury.
The beer festival is at Olympia in London and we catch the train from Banbury into Marylebone station arriving just after 12.00. The weather is awful and has been raining even before setting off from home and is still hammering down on our arrival. Because it’s so wet, I chose an old pair of rugged shoes which I have probably not worn for a couple of years but think they will be more waterproof than my current all rounders.
We walked to the train station in Banbury and spent an hour on the train before setting off from Marylebone when everything was hunky dory. Within 10 minutes of sloshing through the puddles I notice something is awry ! The stitching on my right shoe where the sole is connected to the upper has split slightly and there is about a 3 inch gap ! But oh no it doesn’t end there ! Another 25 yards and the front part of my sole completely detaches leaving me with a heel and a inner sole. Another 1/4 of a mile and the inner sole comes away followed shortly by the heel completely, leaving me walking on a flimsy porous piece of fabric which was thankfully still connected to the upper.
So there I am hopping around the soggy streets of London and so we had to think quickly on our feet ( see what I did there ! ) we suss out that there is a shoe shop near and failing that Oxford street is a little further. We set off and unfortunately ” The Little Shoe Shop” was for ladies with small feet which didn’t quite match my requirements, so Oxford Street it was then ! Walking another half mile led to the other shoe deciding to come out in sympathy with the right one and you guessed it the front part of the sole decided to come off that one as well.
So there I am now with no shoes on so to speak, luckily it wasn’t much further to Oxford street and we came up to Primark where I bought a new pair of shoes and a pack of 5 pairs of socks for £30. After paying for them I removed the soggy socks I had on and replaced them with a new pair and put on my new shoes, finding the nearest bin to ditch the remains of the objects formerly known as shoes !
Having been delayed by our impromptu detour we set off again for Olympia and arrived around 1.40 and by this time we were in desperate need of a beer. Luckily there was about 1000 to choose from. Around 2.30 my neighbour and friend Phil came to join us from Nottingham with his son Chris and the rest of the afternoon/ early evening was spent in convivial conversation liberally sprinkled with libation.
Around 6.45 we all left the festival , Phil & Chris going to catch their train back home whilst Glyn & I caught the various tubes to return us near to Marylebone station where we ventured into the Weatherspoons at Baker Street for something to eat before catching the 9.10 train back to Banbury and arriving back at “Cis” around 10.20. Phil & Chris didn’t fair as well, as their train broke down on the journey home resulting in a switch of trains and missing their last bus home and eventually getting home just before Thursday began. Chris compounded his misery by losing a bag on the way having left it on the first train.
Thursday 10 August
Up early this morning and away to the Cropredy music festival joining to queue to get onto the site by 6.30. We got onto our camping field about 7.30 which was quite a long journey to cover about 6 miles.
Once settled in we did the necessary ablutions and had breakfast before having a slow start and heading off for a gander around the village for a while as the festival doesn’t kick off the music until 4.00 today. Having looked at the pretty naff stalls unless Tie Die is your thing, we settled upon the Red Lion pub where we took up our position in the Graveyard opposite with another hundred folk. Luckily we had brought our collapsible seats and we sat out in the glorious sunshine for a couple of hours until it was time to return and pack the rusksacks before queuing to get in and grab our position in the event field and await the start of the music.
There are 20,000 people expected and is a sold out show for Fairport Conventions 50 years in the business. Young Indie band they are not !
Today’s artists began with an acoustic set by Fairport themselves followed by Feast of Fiddles, Show of Hands, The Trevor Horn Band and finally Divine Comedy. Most were fairly average with the worst being Divine Comedy who in our opinion were pretty dire although speaking to others, they loved them. The best of the day were the Trevor Horn band who were excellent. You may of not heard of him but he is very well known in the industry and was the big glasses man in the Buggles who sang Video Killed the Radio Stars. He also played the music in Frankie Goes to Holliwood. One of his band is Lol Creme of Godley and Creme and 10 CC. Excellent and well worth catching them if they come to a town near you.
Having given up on the Divine Comedy we took our gear back to the camping field and wandered into the village to the other pub the Brasenose Arms, for a few before last orders and then time for bed said Zeberdee !
Friday 11 August
After showers and breakfast it was back to queueing to get in for the second day’s event which started today at 12.00. The lineup today began with a young couple called Josie Duncan & Pablo Lafuente who were excellent. In fact all of the bands today were a step up from yesterday’s fayre ( except Trevor Horn ). Next was the Gerry Colvin band, Quill, Gigspanner, CC Smugglers, the Pierce Brothers, Petula Clark ( yes you read that right ) and Richard Thompson.
The highlight again was the Pierce Brothers from Melbourne who were brilliant as they had been last year. Petula Clark is 84 and her voice is understandably not what it used to be but the many ex Hippies in the audience appreciated her efforts.
Today we had a light rain for about an hour at 5 ish but getting under our rain ponchos soon kept us dry and then the sun came out and we were back on form again.
We stuck with the programme today until finish when we returned to “Cis” and hit the sack again.
Saturday 12 August
Today’s events kicked off again at 12.00 and began with Ashley Hutchings ( formerly Fairport Convention ) and Morris On which were Morris dancing orientated and didn’t really do it for me. The rest of today’s line up was: Judy Dyble ( pretty awful and needs to realise her voice has gone ! ), Plainsong ( good ) Cats in Space ( 70’s style rockers. Good ) Marillion ( good ) Dougie McLean ( excellent) and finishing with farewell from Fairport Convention with a host of guests, some from today’s artists and also Ralph Mactell.
All in all a good day with some lovely sunshine and no rain . Good weather, Good Music, Good Beer and of course Good company with my mate Glyn, although he may have a different slant on things ! What more could you want ?
Festival Headgear !
Sunday 13 August
So return to Home day and after ablutions and breakfast it was time to head off, unfortunately “Cis” loved it so much here, she didn’t want to leave. When it came to starting the engine the battery decided not to provide enough juice to do it. Bummer ! This resulted into a nice offer of a jump start from one of our neighbours being gratefully accepted and then we were under starters orders and go ! Arriving home around 11.15
That’s it for now folks but don’t worry Jane & I are going on another adventure in less than a weeks time, so check in again soon
Take care Pat X