A COASTLINE IN THE SKY

DIARY DATE 16th of August 2006

8 days to go.

After a night where I just could not sleep mostly reading Pete McCarthy’s excellent McCarthy’s Bar and an amusing interlude where Karen suddenly shouted “MAM!” in her sleep the day dawned promising to be warm and sunny. So, I promptly fell asleep and woke again at about ten. The coffee did its trick and after saying goodbye to Karen, I was up and down the ladder on the pyramid like a budgie on amphetamine-laced millet. The result being the pyramid now has a golden crown. But goodness me the ground seems a long way down from there. Alwyn and his father Leo arrived and began to put the final touches to the Drystone ready for its tarpaulin cover and the cladding of the pyramid on Saturday. More stuff arrived too, more steel from Abbott. I’ll not tell you what he brought but they’ll be dead handy in a large garden. Hilly also brought more stuff. Five huge beams of wood that where once part of the floors of Mechi Farm at Blennerhassett.

Mechi Farm, so named as it was a “Mechanical Farm” having among other things it’s own gasworks providing the village of Blennerhassett with gas before Aspatria. It was quite advanced for its day being run by its workers on a true democratic and communal basis. Everyone having their own say and receiving fair wages. Every year they held an enormous three-day party, with music, dancing and meals laid on for several hundred people. Interestingly they also had lectures on vegetarianism. All this at the turn of the century, about one hundred years ago. So, those beams are connected (possibly only in my own head) with Solfest. However, when you sit your bum on them (they’ll be seats near the Drystone) cast your mind back one hundred years and you may feel the ghosts of dancing feet tickling your cheeks.

It was now about 4.30, time I was away home. I desperately needed a bath. So I set off on my trusty bicycle and had gone about a mile when Abbott picked me up, bike on trailer and gave me a lift. Just before the three uphill stretches. I had enough time to bathe myself and write yesterday’s blog, and answer the emails that inevitably come in while I’m onsite before I had to get back on the bike and go back to the site to fill in the gap between Alwyn leaving and Adam arriving for the night.

Going there is brilliant on the bike as the aforementioned up hills are downs. With the right amount of pedalling and speed going down the first stretch from Spyat enough momentum is built up to carry you up the small bit at the bottom and take you round the corner and down into West Newton, then a small push out of the village, up a little and zoom you’re off again. Nearly two miles altogether without pedalling and what a fantastic evening.

Alwyn was still there of course, he had been joined by Alec who is running our brand new BAR STAGE this year so I spent an hour helping them measure and peg out the area where it will go. Alwyn was badly affected by wind and sounded like he kept stepping on frogs, but we were in a field so it was all right.

But the best thing, the very BEST thing was the sky. Big and bright and over Scotland across the Solway Firth the sun was setting wearing her most beautiful clothes of cloud and colour.
Crieffel and the rest of Scotland had become pale blue ghosts of mountains and with the clouds beyond only the beginning, only the edge of a greater land that stretched into heaven. Water vapour taking on an illusion of solidity, forming a bright coastline in the sky. A land where no ship could sail, but oh how I wish I could.
Every shade of red and gold was up there in that big sky, pouring that magical bright golden light over the landscape around us, sending our shadows from the middle of the field all the way to mainstage corner. Swallows wheeling about all over the place; gliding to catch insects on the wing, on the tarn, a raucous yabbering signalled that Canada Geese had booked into Wilson’s Caravan Park for the night.

I have one wish that I could give you for Solfest; it would be a sky like that.

Hilly arrived again, we can’t keep him away and after Alwyn and Alec left we talked until Karen delivered Adam then with my bike safely locked up, she took me home.

It’s been a good day.

The Wizards Pot

An archive of the life and rantings of The Wizardmarra. www.wizardmarra.com The Best Storyteller In The World.

About Alan Whittaker

A storyteller like no other. Weaving traditional storytelling with madcap posing and stand up comedy riffing. Taking the listener from here to there and back again at break neck speed; with panache and a fine sense of the ridiculous.For more information about Alan, read his biography.

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