Thursday, 23 August 2007

Rock on . . .

On Wednesday I took the two DW daughters to the Reading Festival, the preparation for which has been planned with military precision.

While most teenagers were busy revising, mine were checking out the tent, purchasing rucksacks and sleeping bags and logging on to the internet almost hourly to check out which bands would be playing.

Tickets were booked almost as soon last last year's festival had finished. Apparently it's cheaper that way, the only drawback being that you don't know which bands will be playing.

Then as A-level and GCSE results approached, the preparations reached fever-pitch - almost daily shopping trips for camping stoves, shampoo, wellies. Hourly phone calls to friends to check on travel arrangements - one of them had the festival tickets, another had the early passes (allowing them to set up camp on Wednesday instead of Thursday or Friday).

Then, on Monday and Tuesday there were checks on the website to see which campsites were the least wet (the site is next to the Thames and was flooded after the last lot of heavy rain).

So, on Wednesday it was finally D-day. I was transporting my two plus two others. The back of the car was packed solid with three tents, rucksacks, sleeping bags and other paraphernalia (all of which they had to carry themselves once they arrived in Reading).

The journey to Reading was fairly uneventful, but in the town itself it was like bees round a honeypot - thousands of teenagers converging on the festival site, all trying to look cool while lugging heavy bags and tents along the road. They all looked fairly pristine in their newly-acquired festival garb (lots of flowery wellies) but I suspect that come Monday morning when they're all heading home, they won't look quite so clean.

The road leading to the festival was also something to behold - every few yards there was a beer stall - beer was available off the back off lorries, out of vans, from tents and gazebos. Some youngsters had decided to stock up on their way in and were thus doubly loaded down with camping equipment and beer. This brought snorts of derision from the eldest DW daughter (a veteran of two previous Reading Festivals). 'Oh God, don't they know you need to set up your tent first and then go and get your beer!).' I prefer not to think of my two little angels quaffing cans of lager, but I suppose they have to grow up at some time.

Today (Thursday), we were ordered to pick up GCSE results. The youngest DW daughter had initially said she wasn't that bothered about her results - 'they'll put them in the post'. Then it was 'can you collect them, I'll open them when I get home'. Finally, it was 'open them, read them to me . . .' Luckily, they were very good and we didn't have her snivelling down the phone. (For the record and to be fair to the elder DW daughter, she also did v.well in her A-levels and got her place to do teacher training in York after a gap year).

I've been spared the return trip to Reading on Monday - they're all coming home by coach . . . poor coach driver, I can't imagine what 50 unwashed teenagers trapped in a small, enclosed space smell like!

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