janet, you rock my world…

Is there a movie that takes you back to the time you were a gangly, fluffy-haired teen? A teen who dressed in her dads woollen jumpers and let her dog chew the sleeves until they were ripped and straggly and easy to pull down over her hands? A teen who hid behind her hair, and deliberately walked with a slouch?

And when you watch that movie now, as an adult, who walks like she has a book balanced on her head because she’s terrified of growing an old-lady-hunchback, who gets up early and walks her dog in the park and drinks coffee with no sugar (well, I’m trying), it brings ALL those memories back, and invokes the feeling of being 15 years old again?

Yesterday, hungover after a night of too many martinis with friends, I dragged my sorry self to the video shop (no downloads for me) and hired Singles. Have you seen it? Matt Dillon wears a long-haired wig and plays in a band and Bridget Fonda is a barista in a cafe and wears black socks pulled down over her black boots and a hat and dances around her apartment eating salad, and Bill Pullman is a cosmetic surgeon, and Kyra Sedgewick promises her BFF “We will always go out dancing!!” just before she spots her Spanish lover canoodling at the bar with a big-haired blonde. And they all live in a singles apartment block in Seattle and they hang out and drink coffee and play music and have car accidents, and it’s basically about love and friendship and heartbreak and dating sites. It’s effing excellent.

When I was 14 years old and first discovering music – this was after my boyband phase: an obsession with New Kids on the Block as an 11 year old soon developed into a mild infatuation with Boyz II Men, which was short-lived – I fell desperately and hopelessly in love with grunge. I wore an Alice in Chains t-shirt. I cut out every picture of Chris Cornell I could find and stuck it to my wall. I camped out for tickets for Pearl Jam’s first Australian tour. I even started writing a story about becoming besties with Eddie Vedder’s girlfriend and giving them a tour of Melbourne (I still have it… I cringe when I get to the part where we visit the Dandenong Ranges and Stone Gossard and I sit by a stream chatting while he plays a guitar – o gosh, I can’t believe I just owned up to that…).

So when I read about Singles in Rolling Stone, I almost fell over myself, madly trying to find out when the theatrical release would be, if it had already screened, when it would be out on video (yes, VHS), and when O when I could get my hands on a copy.

Singles would have ignited no interest in me whatsoever, were it not for the fact that Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains AND Chris Cornell all had cameos. When I finally saw it, I was even more desperate to one day move to Seattle and live in that apartment block and wear floral dresses with long chain necklaces, and paint a chair on my balcony, and fall in love with my musician neighbour (only he would say ‘Bless You’ when I sneezed and not treat me like a groupie…). I was desperate to meet someone who would say “Wembolina, you rock my world” when he realised how madly in love with me he was and how he couldn’t live without me.

Gradually, my love of flannel-wearing guitarists and screamy music gave way to other loves – sensitive folk troubadours and ladies playing piano and soul and hip hop and, well, pretty much everything except the grunge of my youth – and Singles and Janet and Cliff became a distant memory.

Until yesterday. There it was, in comedy (which seems weird to me, because when I saw it as a kid it seemed so fraught with drama and heartache). I picked it up and added it to my pile of six other weekly films, got myself an icecream, and headed home for the ‘Wembolina’s Return to her Youth Film Festival’.

As soon as it started, Paul Westerberg singing my most hated song on the soundtrack (but now I kinda like it) I was 15 years old again. I was quoting every word. I was singing every song. I was getting butterflies in my tummy when Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard made their first appearance as Matt Dillon’s cohorts in Citizen Dick (“This weekend, we rock Portland!!). I was tearing up when Kyra Sedgewick wakes up in hospital after her car accident, and screaming “Pull yourself together!!” at the screen when Campbell Scott wigs out in his apartment after she leaves him to go on a month-long research trip.

I was worried before I put the disk into the DVD player. What if it hadn’t aged well? What if it ruined my memories of how much I LOVED this movie as a kid? What if it was stupid and not funny and poorly acted and miscast? What if I felt embarrassed, and cringed at the part where Layne Staley shakes his revolteh dread-locked head in the club scene at the start?

But… It was great. I flipping loved it. It was just as good 18 years later (sheesh, that makes me feel old…). It makes me want to wear a flannel shirt and listen to Ten and go and see Soundgarden when they play here in a few weeks. And it kinda makes me wants to dig out that story I started and finish it.

Do you have a Singles? Something that makes you blush a little bit? Something that invokes that teen spirit?

greetings from asbury park…

… was the first studio album by Bruce Springsteen. Asbury Park was also the location for the latest All Tomorrow’s Parties, which Rich and I went to last weekend (a slight detour on our way to New York from Raleigh).

From New Jersey, we caught the train from Newark Airport to Long Branch, NJ, then caught a cab the rest of the way with a coupla other ATP patrons. Our cab driver told us numerous exciting tales about Jersey Shore (note: NOT the TV show), namely: how much the real estate was in Deal (“A million bucks!”); where the celebrities live in Deal (“Billy Joel, eh, he lives alorng here – can ya guess which house he lives in?? Eh, it’s that worn thaya, the house that looks like-a pianah”); various landmarks that had been badly damaged during Hurricane Irene (an apartment block with no roof, and a stop sign that was twisted the whole way around).

When we’d passed through Deal, the landscape changed quite dramatically. Our cabbie loudly declared “I hate driving through this parta town, what with all tha crime”, then said “Well, here we are – Asbury Park!!!” which obviously filled me with A LOT of confidence.

After checking into our hotel (and kicking ourselves for not timing our visit to coincide with the hotels’ Wig Party – “Party Hard in your Favourite Wig”), it was time to hit the town, see some bands and eat some food.

Despite the majesty of the Paramount Theatre and the old school sports stadium-ness of the Convention Centre, I love love loved the atmosphere of the Asbury Lanes (yes – a bowling alley band venue). We started our weekend there, watching Cults while enjoying a beer, and would return time and time again, for Thinking Fellers Union, bowling, food, bowling, beer, photos, trivia, and… more bowling. I am a terrible bowler, and sustained many injuries while we were here (a bruised thigh after an accidental cork with a bowling ball; three chipped nails; a grazed thumb; a nasty hangover, which could also attest to all the injuries….) but I had the greatest time…. And the entrepreneur in me (which, let’s face it, is not very big) is super tempted to open a bowling alley band venue on my return home. No wait, a bowling alley band venue ROLLER RINK!!! Is that outrageous?? Yes?? YES! I’ll do it!!

Asbury Park makes you feel like you’re on the set of a movie. The falling down buildings, the boardwalk, the amusement parlours, the boarded up kiosks, it’s all very filmic and nostalgic and kinda romantic. The people were friendly, and I didn’t feel a hint of danger when we were there – but I guess when 5,000 hipsters converge on a town for a shoe gazey indie music festival, the reflections from all the black-rimmed glasses blind the crims and keep them at bay…

Johnny says 'Keep out'

A_BURY LANES

(earworm in Tina Turner voice) "Bowling! Bowling! Bowling on the river!!" (obvy not actually on a river)

I love this misunderstood alligator...

No crepes here...

back in bizniz

When we left Turkey, I thought to myself “We have had so many adventures and there hasn’t been enough time to sit down in my cave/on my farm/in my log cabin to write about them all. Luckily I’ll have plenty of time in Canada to catch up and be up to date and spread the word of ‘the adventures’.”

But that didn’t really happen. Being in Toronto kinda slipped me into a bit of a city trance, and I seemed to spend my days wandering around, watching movies, and researching the next legs of ‘the adventures’. I’ve been to Toronto a coupla times – I lived there for a few months in 2007, and came back for a visit in 2009, and now again on this trip, so I feel like it’s a bit of a second home for me. In that way, ridiculously, I feel like “How can you have adventures in a place like this? A place that’s so familiar?”

Rather than having adventures in Toronto, we had moments, that were funny and silly and amazing and great. The Moments of Wembolina doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, though they are just as important as adventures.

Like the flashmob at Megan and Giancarlo’s wedding, where, midway through the speeches, someone stood up and started singing. After their line, someone else got up, and within a minute, 30 people around the room were on their feet, singing passionately, and Megan was sobbing and shaking in a state of shock and bewilderment and awe. I can’t even put it into words; it was amazing.

Meeting Lainie and Brian’s newborn twins was pretty incredible too. Lainie was induced the day after Megan’s wedding. Lainie was part of the flashmob. Lainie was dancing at the wedding at midnight. In fact, Lainie was jumping up and down and took part in a choreographed dance with the bride; at the end of the dance, it was agreed that they would both fall to the ground. Which they did. Within seconds, Lainie was surrounded by a crowd of concerned onlookers, scrambling to help her up. The twins look a while to come out – they were cosy in their tummy-home – but they’re perfect and beautiful and both destined for great things.

Last Monday we went to the Polaris Prize – Arcade Fire unsurprisingly took home the oversized cheque for $30,000 (which I was a little disappointed about – I really like that band, but I always thought that the Polaris was for more indie bands. Arcade Fire have a Grammy and a Juno and countless other awards… I was really hoping to see Austra or The Weeknd win). During the show, we were sitting next to the drummer from Austra’s mum, a beautiful Polish woman who told us all about the Iron Curtain and moving to Toronto and her relationship with her daughter. I think I enjoyed chatting to her more than I did the event.

Rich and I have seen a ton of movies while we’ve been in Toronto too (Rich more than me); ‘Beginners’ was definitely my favourite – it seems to have a heap of strange parallels with my life, which was a bit weird and creepy but amazing as well (mental note: seek out Mike Mills’ email address; send fan letter to be equally weird and creepy). We saw ‘Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark’ last week (pretty bad, but I like all the Melbourne shots) and when we left there was a throng of middle-aged women and camera crews and reporters in sequinned dresses in the Scotiabank Cinema foyer, waiting for Hugh Jackman to arrive for the ‘Real Steel’ premiere (now THAT looks like a great movie… sheesh). I saw a familiar looking blonde chattering away into a camera and realised it was Mrs Hatzilakos from Degrassi! THAT was exciting.

But most of my favourite moments in Toronto happened on walks; walking around the city with Rich; strolling to the beach with Cynthia and her dog and eating olive bread and drinking iced tea; dawdling along Queen Street East, enjoying the most delicious ice-cream I’ve had in ages, escorted by a huge Bernese Mountain dog called Dylan (many of the best moments, not just on this trip but in life – for me – involve food and animals) …

Toronto – you and I did not get off on the right foot when I first visited you a few years ago. But you’re a nice place, and I hope I’ll see you again soon.

midnight forest sausage show

Yesterday I ate so much food I couldn’t sleep. As I lay in bed, tossing and turning and bemoaning the second bowl of rice consumed at a Malaysian restaurant at dinner (after I polished off a massive bowl of salmon linguine, salad AND tiramisu at lunchtime), it occurred to me that I hadn’t mentioned the midnight forest show we went to in Olso a few days ago. And as I was pondering this, I thought “how great would it be if I titled that particular post ‘midnight forest sausage show’?? Geniusly great!!!”

Clearly the chilli tofu I had for dinner and fried banana dessert had made me feverish and delirious.

But I couldn’t let it go. So here it is.

At midnight on Friday, after a long day of strolling, cherry-eating and festival-ing, the Oya delegates (Rich) and tag-a-long-er-ers (me) were herded into a bus and driven into the dead of the Norwegian night.

Our destination? A forest, just outside the city, for a secret live performance.

The moon was full. Tis a wee bit scary being in a supposedly troll-filled forest at midnight while a full moon hangs low in the sky. There was talk of a showdown between the trolls and the werewolves. Our guide, Siggi, warned us “If anyone starts to get itchy palms or notices hair where there wasn’t hair before, please let me know immediately”.

Sounds like puberty to me, but also a sure sign you’re having a Teen Wolf moment – arrrooooooooooooo!!!!!!

We walked along a candle lined gravel path, deep into the forest, until we were met by three Norwegian folk musicians (guitar, a drum, and a bit of a witchy-poo singer) standing around a bonfire. With a glass-like lake alongside, it was quite a magical moment.

After a short set of four songs, a BBQ was lit and sausages were cooked over the open fire. I am dubious of meat cooked in the dead of night where the only light comes from the flame and the full moon – how can you see if it’s cooked properly? The light of the moon is not really strong enough to detect any salmonella-y pink bits in the middle, is it? It’s not really, but I bit the bullet (well, sausage) and did not really enjoy it very much, but hey, when you’re in a forest in Oslo in the middle of the night, you’ve gotta take what life throws at you. In this case, a sausage.

After the BBQ, a few brave souls swam in the lakes’ trolly waters, before we all got back on the buses and zzz-ed our way back to Oslo in a smoky, sausage-induced haze… I slept well that night. Maybe I need more meat at midnight? Perhaps I went wrong yesterday by going down the fish and vegetable path…

 

 

young dreams

If you need some more music in your life, you should check out Young Dreams. They played in Oslo a few nights ago at Bla (I don’t think it’s pronounced ‘Blah’ – I think it might be ‘Blor’ or ‘Blew’ or something – it sounds better if you flick your wrist a little as you say it) as part of Oya Festival’s club night – we were told that EVERY band in Oslo, regardless of talent, plays on club night, because they can get free tickets to the festival. With this news in mind, we were not holding out much hope for seeing anyone particularly good…

But Young Dreams were totally surprising. In a great way. In a pretty fabulous way, in fact.

A bit Beach Boys, a bit Fleet Foxes, a bit Kanye, a bit Vampire Weekend. Good-lookin’ fellas, smily yet broody, dishevelled yet preppy, baseball caps and flatcaps, checks and tees. A violin. A big weird percussive coconut thing. Instrument swaps after every song. Cute, catchy and fun.

Bla is a crazy venue that, along with the band, I wasn’t holding much hope for. Described as a ‘jazz venue for jazzy bands’ I was expecting a dark room with lots of velvet and black & white snaps of trumpet players and smokin’ (and smoking) babes. But. Bla is a warehouse on the river, seemingly in an abandoned carpark.

A deck with lights strewn about the place.

Lots of killer graffiti on the walls outside.

A huge outdoor chandelier on your way down the lane to the entrance.

Inside is dark (tick) but spacious, with a low stage (but not too low) and amazing sound. At times it felt like I was having a Milli Vanilli moment and the band were actually miming, but no, twas definitely the real deal.

After Bla, and Young Dreams, we picked up some fellow music peeps and moseyed down the way to Revolver for some dinner. Along the way we passed a park, and of course, it had a treehouse in the middle of it…

Oslo, you crazy town – what will you throw at us next??

white night hike

A big steamy sulfury stink

Following on from our luvverly ride through Rekjavik, and our subsequent nap, Rich and I headed back into the centre of town for our White Night Hike. I’m a bit of a sucker for Trip Advisor, and in my months of planning and spreadsheeting prior to le world tour, I kept coming back to the White Night Hike because it sounded SO flippin’ weird and wonderful.

We were not disappointed.

Standing outside the tour office, we were greeted by Ymir and Adam, our guides. Ymir is a self-proclaimed ‘Wiking’ (minus the raping, looting and killing bits) who set up his own tour company with a friend about a year ago. Adam, Ymir’s girlfriend’s son, is about to head off to Kansas for uni. He carried our food and wore big steel capped boots (that would certainly come in handy later in the trip).

Piling into a turquoise bus (a colour that seems to be following me everywhere lately!), we were off. Along the highway out of Rekjavik, past steaming pools in an otherwise arid landscape – the countryside here is like being on the moon. Black molten rock, covered in moss, grass and flowers, and no trees anywhere.

Then off the highway and along a rocky road (with not a marshmallow or glace cherry in sight!) – wild, shaggy sheep stood by the road, minding their bizniz, then running shaggedly (yes, shaggedly, it’s a word – IT IS!! No, it’s not) in front of the bus, across fields and down steep hills…

The bus stopped in the middle of nowhere. Mountain ranges, grass, and this creepy sulfurous steam everywhere. And those sheep. Baaa.

Ymir was quick to tell us to stick to the path, and not to go too close to the pools of bubbling mud. The banks are pretty unstable and he alleges that last week a French man got too close to the edge and slipped in to the boiling, viscous mud. He suffered third degree burns to his lower leg, but it could have been far worse. We pass steaming pools with sheep bones on the banks – poor schneeps getting cold and attempting to cuddle up to a boiling rock, then getting stuck in the mud and that’s it – they’re chops…

The stink of sulfur in the air is quite hideous, but you get used to it. It seems to get into your clothes though, which is not a nice way to wake up the next day – egg-stink infused jeans, anyone? Bleck.

We pass a marker warning hikers of open pools of bubble. Ymir pulls a bottle of Brennivin from his pocket and proclaims “We each must drink a shot of Schnapps when we pass each warning sign!”

I have decided to say yes to anything offered to me on this trip (within reason), so down the hatch. It’s a vodka-y, caraway seed-y shot that kinda tastes like nothing when you shoot it, then it spreads down your throat and through your sinuses and it’s warming and nice.

Rich and I, pre-outdoor, ice-cold nudity (signs of wear n tear on keds)

Down into a valley, up an incline, down a really steep, rocky path, which I slid most of the way down (damn you Keds), and into a huge, grassy, steaming valley.

“This is where we bathe” Ymir declared, gesturing to a knee-deep section of the stream cutting through the grass.

I looked around. At the huge, majestic, incredible, grassy beauty surrounding me and thought….

“Where the crap am I gonna get into my bathers???”

Rich looked at me and felt my pain. I’m not the greatest at getting my gear off when there’s not a door to close or a rock to crouch behind.

“Hmmm” I said.

“Hmmm” Rich said.

“Follow me!” I said, spying a ditch in the grass that led down to an estuary off the main pool. It was about 3 feet lower than the rest of the valley, and just secluded enough for me to get nekkid and into my bathers without anyone looking (which I’m sure they all were, because why would anyone admire the beauty of nature when my pasty thighs are on display??!).

Bathers on, raincoat on, back to the stream and… INTO IT!!! It was warm and mineral-y and steamy and… shallow… and kinda muddy… but relaxing. And spectacular.

Ymir tumbled in, with his bottle of Brennivin and a small container of something white and a bit stink. Like rotting.

“This”, he said, holding up a piece of white flesh to the group “is Icelandic delicacy. Rotten shark meat. Chew it a few times, swallow, then follow with shot of Brennivin”.

The stink was quite incredible, and had most people turning up their noses and shaking their heads.

“You start”, Ymir handed me the container and the bottle of Schnapps.

When in Rome.

It actually wasn’t as revolting as I expected. It was a bit like an over-cooked scallop, that had a nasty after-taste (hence the Brennivin shot in quick succession).

After the rotten shark entree, we had fish and coriander soup, then salmon and egg sandwiches, and cups of red wine. All in the pool. It feels weird eating and drinking when you’re sitting in a body of water.

Ymir regaled us with stories of tours gone bad – the aforementioned ‘leg in the bubbling mud’ incident. And the time a member of the group complained of feeling light-headed and drunk after one glass of wine, and moments later was facedown in the water, unconscious. This was before Ymir had done his survival and first aid course. And the group were about 3kms away from any form of civilisation. Fortunately for Ymir and the drowning man, two woman in the group jumped in and took over – one was high up the ranks in the Canadian police force, while her partner was a head honcho at the Canadian ambulance service. They pushed Ymir out of the way, resuscitated the drowned man, gave him some chocolate cake, and got the hell outta Dodge.

An American in our group piped up at this point, saying “I’m a surgeon. If anything happens on this trip, I can probably assist. Unless you require surgery. I don’t have my kit here. But anything else – broken limbs, burns – I can help”.

Phewf. Lucky!

After about an hour in the pool, we all started to get a bit boiled and shrivelled, and one by one, we started to exit the water. Rich and I were among the last to get out, as we finished our wine and admired the scenery.

Mere moments later, like something out of a movie, a Belgium woman, travelling with her 16 year old daughter, cried out “Help help, my daughter has fainted!!”

Whenever I hear that someone has fainted, or see someone faint, I automatically get so choked up that I can’t breathe. And my eyes get so watery and tear-filled that I can’t speak. It’s like if someone says “Do you smell gas?” I immediately retch. And panic. And say “O god, gas??!”. It’s a weird thing I have. Among other things.

[One time, years ago, I was working at a design agency in the city, and a brand manager came into reception and said “What’s that smell? Is that gas?” and I went “bluurrggghhh” and then I said, in a tone that was not at all calm and not at all professional “ITHINKITSCOMINGTHROUGHTHEAIRVENTS, O GOSH O GOSH” and other colleagues came out to reception and sniffed the air and said “It DOES smell like gas” and just before we were about to evacuate the building and call in the fireys, we realised it was the office next door, setting up their new printers, and the smell from their new toners had wafted through the vents… But ever since then, if anyone mentions gas, I’m silently vomming and praying no one lights a match or switches on a faulty light switch.]

Anyhoo, this poor girl had fainted, Ymir was out of the pool pouring water on her face, and Dr America came running across the glade in his checkered shirt and nude-coloured undies, elevating her legs as she came to. Rich kept asking “What’s happening? What’s happening??” but I was so overcome with emotion I couldn’t speak. Sheesh!

She was fine though. Standing up too quickly after sitting in a hot pool can do that to anyone.

After I pulled myself together, Rich and I headed back to our secluded ditch, peeled off our wet bathers in the FREEZING cold air, got dressed, and on we went. My first foray into outdoor nudity. Wahoo!

The combination of red wine, schnapps and hot water made me a little bit tipsy and over-confident. I strode across rocks! Ran down gravel hills! Leapt across streams! I was on top of the world!

Until we got to a wider than leaping distance stream. Everyone else in our group was wearing hardcore hiking boots (read: waterproof), but my Keds would not survive a stroll through the rocky, slippery stream. Nor would my feet, if they walked the remaining distance to the bus with wet shoes on. I panicked. Where was my magical moving rock, ala that scene in Labyrinth where Sarah has to cross the Bog of Eternal Stench and all the rocks come together and she can get to the other side??

And then… my moving rock appeared!! In the form of Adam, and his steel-capped boots. Standing in the middle of the stream, he held out his hand and said “Here, stand on my toe. Then jump to the other side”. I swooned a little, and then over I went, dry shoes and all! Thanks Adam!

An hour or so later, the light starting to fail, the bus in sight. We had walked 6kms through the most incredible landscape I have ever seen… Eaten rotten shark. And followed it with buttery, sugary chocolate cake. Ixney on the Arkshay, but my my, that cake was good…

On the bus, Ymir played us some not-so-good Icelandic music (“This band is called Dicktor, this is the best drum solo I have ever heard… wait for it, wait for it…. DRUM SOLO!!!!”) and then some tres-good Icelandic music (Sigur Ros), as we all rocked back and forth on the bus, Rich’s head on my shoulder, the midnight sun setting in the distance.

a weekend in the country

On Friday morning, Rich and I bid adieu to Thomas, Christopher and Napoleon (I may have shed a tear or two) and our East London abode and trudged off along Commercial Road, with our cases in tow, towards Aldgate East tube. At times I struggle with my new wheely suitcase. My shoe fell off not once, but three times between the flat and the tube.

After a pleasant (read: pretty dull) trip on the tube, we arrived at Goldhawk Road (kukaw, kukaw!), met Sarah, had a quick squiz at her flat, then jumped into the Ford Fiesta she and Ben had hired for the weekend and headed off to… CAMP BESTIVAL. In Dorset. Which is on the Jurassic Coast. Because of its location, I obviously envisaged there would be loads of dinosaurs STILL IN EXISTENCE, or a ton of fossils at the very least. There are plenty of fossils around (none of the dinosaur variety – none that I saw, anyway), but alas, no dinos, monsters, or creatures of the deep…

We arrived at our hotel in Wareham about 5 hours after we left London. It felt closer to 17 million hours, due to all the flipping traffic, but fortunately we had plenty of toffee popcorn and ol’ timey music to keep our spirits up.

Naturally, the first thing we did when we got to our hotel was head straight to the bar for some ales and some jukebox programming. Elvis, Buddy Holly and a bit of “Once…. Twice…. Three tiiii-iiimes a lady” – which we inadvertently heard twice. Jukeboxes are cool – especially Wurlitzers in gran-filled country guesthouses.

Following our musical interlude and brown ales, we set off for Camp Bestival. Camp Bestival is an all-ages camping show, geared towards parents with young-ish kids. It’s at a castle. Everyone dresses up. There is a Pimms double-decker bus bar. And more food than you can poke a stick at. I was more interested in food than music; my highlights were the chorizo paella and the mutton burger. And definitely the lemon and sugar crepe.

Everyone at CP hauls around carts with them – WITH PILLOWS AND TOYS AND DOONAS IN THEM!!! Some of the carts had rooves and lights!!! Amazing… When the behbehs get tired their parents just tuck them up in their trolleys, keep watching music or drinking Pimms until they get tired, then wheel them back to their tents. How good??!

Another amazing thing I saw at CP was a FIELD FULL OF BEDS!!!! Four poster beds, lined with bunting, each bed full of behbehs and kidlets… Too cute…

It’s funny being at a festival where the least common demographic is the 18-30 bracket.

On Saturday we walked part of the Jurassic coastline from Lulworth Cove to Durdle Door (durdle means ‘piercing a hole’), then strolled back along the pebbly beach to the car. Again, I got a little misty-eyed being at the seaside… sigh….

Sunday was a day for epic adventure. After taking a few wrong turns and getting lost on our way to have breakfast Weymouth (which we gave up on and had a fairly revolteh sandwich in Dorchester instead), it was back to Lulworth Cove for ADVENTURE SEA KAYAKING!!! Woot!

Donned in wetsuits (yes), lifejackets, helmets and rubber shoes (very attractive look – unfortunately there are no pictures…), we made our way past hordes of tourists to the pebbly beach where we had a quick lesson in steering and safety. And then, into the kayaks we got. I was paired with Sarah, and what a team were we.

We managed to get out of the cove fairly well, but once we were in the open seas we panicked a little and found ourselves being hurtled towards a rocky cliff. OK, we weren’t quite hurtling along, but it was fast and seemed wrought with danger. Rather than paddle (first mistake) we both thought that if we let the boat drift, the tide would take us back out to sea (second mistake). We found ourselves wedged on a rock, which is the best way to get yourselves tipped out of the boat. Our instructor sat on the sidelines yelling ‘IF YOU DO NOTHING, NOTHING WILL HAPPEN!!!’ which sounded fine by me; ‘if we do nothing, nothing BAD will happen’ was how I interpreted it, but he of course meant that if we do nothing, we will stay wedged on a rock until barnacles make homes on our wetsuits and/or get tipped from our boat.

‘PADDLEPADDLEPADDLEPADDLE’ our instructor shouted at us, and paddle we did. Not well, but well enough to get us away from the rocks and without tumbling from the boat into the icy sea. The rest of the group (several of which were children) was waiting for us a few hundred metres away, and it was clear when we returned that we had been labelled the Group Nuffies.

Story of my life!!

Following on, we actually did a pretty good job of staying afloat/on track. We kayaked through Durdle Door, had a picnic of cordial and home-brand Kit Kats on the beach, slid down a pebbly bank in our boats, kayaked through a cave, and espied an ancient fossil forest on the cliffs…

Clearly, things were going too well, especially for the Nuffies, so our instructors decided to spice up the journey.

“Everyone steer your kayaks towards the beach and paddle alongside the shore; the closer you get to the beach, the funner it is!!” they cried from the distant safety of their boats. Sarah and I had really been doing a great job, and we felt fired up to prove to the group that we were actually brilliant sportswomen.

Nearing the beach, the waves were a little choppy but it WAS fun! We were doing so well! We were laughing and paddling and showing the group that we were brilliant! Until… We hit the beach. As the waves came in, so did the boat. Sarah got out to drag us back into the water, while I stayed in the back, ready to paddle furiously (ish). The sight of Sarah attempting to get back into the boat once she was knee-deep had me in hysterics; the bobbing kayak, freezing cold water, and lapping waves made it pretty tricky to keep your balance AND get into a floating vessel.

Just as Sarah got back into the boat, I somehow tipped out. I don’t know how it happened. Sarah didn’t notice it had happened either and started paddling away, as I rolled around in the water, unable to balance, and laughing so hard “I could have drowned-ed” (hats off to you, GIlbert Grape).

A man in flippers and snorkel came to our rescue (as our instructors shouted “No no, they can do it, don’t help them!!!” – nasty!!!) and pushed us back out to sea. We were grateful he’d helped, and thanked him when we were on our way, to which he replied (quite hoighty-toighty-ly) “Stay away from the shore – the closer you get to the beach, the more likely you are to fall out!!!”.

Duped by our guides!!!! Oooh, I’d shake my fist if it wasn’t so sore from all the upper body exercise!!!

Three hours later, back on dry land, we peeled our wetsuits from our aching bodies, removed the hideous footwear we’d been forced to wear, and re-dressed in our civvies. God bless loose clothing!!!

Back in the car, back towards London, back towards an exciting new adventure – Iceland!