Usually at around this time of year, I might wake up in a field to the sound of rain beating on the canopy above – or the scent of sweat filling my nostrils, the tent turned into a hotbox by the blistering sun. Maybe a night-time voice will pull me from sleep: “Sorry!” it says as the tent judders, a drunken passerby felled by a guy rope. Or the growl of a dog, or worse – the sound of liquid hitting the mud that you pray is beer.
These festival memories came to mind recently as I woke from a backseat doze, travelling back from a family holiday on the coast: four days that can only be described as brilliantly bad. That’s no comment on the beautiful location or the fine company, but rather on the downsides to the wettest May on record; torrential downpours caused the cottage’s electricity to fail, cutting off roads and outdoor dining options. The result? Traffic jams, bickering and queues for coffee in a tea room that only a line for the showers at Glastonbury could beat.
Yet it was brilliant to see the angry sea; to look at a castle (from the outside, inside was sold out); and to see the woman in the visitor centre look mortified when she said the only thing to do when it’s wet is go to the pub, and we replied, “We don’t drink.”
I wonder: how could so much fun be had when there was so little fun to be had? Surely it’s a matter of intent. As with a festival, where you enter as a fun-seeking missile so dedicated to enjoying the event that no amount of queueing, rain and mild cases of scurvy from a week without vegetables can ruin it.
Fun rewards commitment. So, rain or shine, I pledge to fully, deeply and devotedly enjoy this post-lockdown summer.