Saturday, August 25, 2012

Port Eliot Festival 2012 -18-19 July Travel and Arrival

I'm very late posting about our wonderful time at the Port Eliot Festival, but want to keep a record of it so I can look back.

 I've been following DoveGreyReader's blog for well over 5 years now. The last few years I've been reading her descriptions of the Port Eliot Festival, and kind of wishing I could go, sit in her tent and listen and knit...

Earlier this year we decided to try doing some more exciting stuff following the house purchase and renovation, so we visited the Chelsea Flower Show, though I wasn't sure how well I'd manage in the wheelchair! And it worked OK once the heat of the very hot day had passed.

So when DoveGrey began talking about this year's Port Eliot Festival I suddenly thought 'Why don't we go?'! We looked at the Port Eliot website, and we looked at the camping, and before we knew it we'd got tickets and booked a Hotel Bell Tent to glamp in! First ever Festival for us, at age 63 and 66!

Wednesday morning at 11 am saw me limping round the garden collecting lavender, roses and thyme flowers to help decorate DoveGreyReader's tent, with a few purple dead nettles thrown in for good measure along with some Elephant Garlic flowers - very "fragrant" these!

 We left just before 4pm on Wednesday, travelled as far as Taunton and stayed overnight there as we were worried the journey was too long for me in one go. It clocked up as being 307.1 miles from outside our house to the Festival Car Park, so I think we made the right decision

Entrance to Festival

Arrived at the Festival site on Thursday at ten to 12, were fairly well up the queue to get in when the gates opened at midday. Managed to find the disabled parking, and as the stewards didn't know where the Hotel Bell Tent encampment was John phoned Roberta (Bobbie), who was disabled liaison as well as covering a number of other tasks. She was a bit busy at the time, but arrived sooner than expected and drove me and the heaviest of our gear (thank you Bobbie!) down to Hotel Bell Tent, where the crew carried it all to our pitch. I felt a bit like an explorer following a line of porters! 

Hotel Bell Tent encampment

This was Hotel Bell Tent's first time at Port Eliot, and the land they were allocated was right next to the swamp ("this area prone to flooding"), which John immediately named the Matmos. It took John a further 4 trips to get all the rest of our stuff (!), but in the meantime I began to sort out our luggage in the cavernous tent, and make up the beds. We had two queen size air beds (already blown up thank goodness!) but had decided to take our own bedding plus a hot water bottle for nesh me!

Glamping in a Bell Tent!

After something of an explore, we were warned we would never get the wheelchair up the hill to the Walled Garden, we returned to tent, sat outside and surveyed the view while John sampled some Symonds Scrumpy Jack and I had a G&T.

Sitting outside the tent on the first evening

Looking out of our tent we saw two rows of bell tents in front of us, then two huge oak trees, and an encampment of tipis beyond. To our left Port Eliot House, to our right more tents across an arm of The Matmos, behind us the main body of The Matmos, further still behind though out of our sight The River.

While I was sitting out in the wheelchair a family with two small boys came past our plot. One of the boys looked at me and kindly asked "Did you break your leg?" I replied "No, I didn't, I just ran out of energy." At which his Mum responded "So you have to eat up all your sausages and vegetables so you don't run out of energy."!

Our tent is just to the right of the bronze flag lit by the sun.

Our tent is just to the right of the bronze flag lit by the sun.

By this time I was pretty tired so got curled up in bed while John went off to find some food. He came back with a burger but I'd gone to sleep and he couldn't wake me - I was very tired after all the travelling. So he ate the burger himself, and told me the next day it was the best one he'd ever had in his life!

Then he went off to explore some more, found a possible way up to the Walled Garden that might be wheel chair possible ready for Friday, and managed to catch the Bayou Brothers in the Cabaret Tent. He even snagged a gold necklace from the beads they threw into the crowd.

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