Wednesday, 1 August 2012

HesFes 2012

Hesfes did not start well for us.  I realised I'd forgotten a whole host of things, not least my pillows.  Then I discovered the expensive double height queen mattresses, had yet another puncture and were going down, and the replacement the bell tent company sent me, also slowly released air and did not stay firm.  I was not a happy bunny.   Add in that I hadn't packed any boots because the forecast was for bright hot sunshine... forgetting the week before had been rain.  The site was pretty muddy when we arrived, so I was quickly covered up to my ankles in mud.

After a very uncomfortable night, I drove home and picked up everything I'd forgotten, plus replacement sleeping mat for the airbeds.  Honestly, I would probably have packed up and gone home, however, I'd also taken a friend's 12yr old with me to Hesfes, so I resolved to try and improve my mood, and not spoil the holiday for the kids.
 The new replacement tent, held up well, especially as folks kept tripping over those black guy lines!  Really, really must replace them!  And yes my mood did begin to improve; really hard to be fed up when the sun is shinning and Rye is happy as Larry.
 Rye really was in heaven, sleeping in a tent, getting up and having friends to play with immediately, oh yeah he had a fab time.   Oooh, and for anyone who camps a lot and is thinking about a shelter or gazebo, I thoroughly recommend the Coleman Event Shelter.  It looks cool, and is very sturdy and unlike most shelters or gazebos, can withstand wind.  The only downside is, that I have the smaller 12x12 one and it is pretty bulky and heavy! 
The new fire brazier and tripod sitting on top.  It was great and made cooking much easier, because I didn't need to sit on the floor to avoid the smoke.  Unsurprisingly, I had lot of admiring glances and folks coming over to ask me where I bought the tripod bbq.   The main downside of the bbq this time, was because we were so packed in, I had to put the fire out if I wanted to go down to the events area; just wasn't safe otherwise, we were too close to other tents.  So we did end up missing some evening entertainments, in favour of staying around the fire chatting.
 Rye and a few of the friends he made playing in the tent. 
 Ok, another gratuitous pic of the tripod, I love it so much!
The kids playing together, Rye was quite put out when his friends had to go to bed, or even during the day when they were doing working shops.  Amazing to see how much he has changed, not long ago he would have ignored pretty much everyone and played on his own, in his own little world.  I guess, my boy is growing up.
 Initially, Rye wasn't that fussed about workshops, so we'd go down each day and explore, see what was on, maybe stop at the cafe for a drink, or the coffee shack for a piece of fake cake (i.e. I mean bought cake that looks homemade but has fake cream, and is that horrible dry fluffy cake texture); alas Rye is not fussed if cake is fake or not.
 Shadows puppetry behind the event screen.  This day I moved the screen to block the morning sun, because it was really, really hot.  I spent much of the day laid on the grass trying to keep cool!
 Eventually, Rye  did join in some of the workshops, and here he made a pasta necklace.
 He really wanted to have a go at making a wood flower, however when I saw how it was made, and the sharpness of the tool - which he would have been pulling toward him, I decided it probably wasn't a good idea for Rye to try this year, and thankfully, he became bored of waiting to have a turn and wanted to go and do something else.

 Now the poi making workshop was a big hit.  We'd missed an earlier in the week workshop, much to Rye's disappointment.  We had a lot of fun, and it did occur to me, that this would be a great activity to do with my Home Ed group too.

 Twirling his poi.

 The last evening we went to watch the fire poi.  Very impressive, especially as it's home ed teenagers putting on these displays.
We really enjoyed Hesfes, but the venue was too small.  It felt cramped, and I felt the workshops were more aimed at children from 7 upwards.  There didn't seem a lot that Rye could be involved in; although saying that, there were daily Egyptian crafts etc that he could have joined in;  mostly he just wanted to play with his friends around our tents.  At night, the music was very loud, because we were so close to the events area and it went on until after midnight.  And OMG, if I never hear "Wild Things" ever again it will be too soon.  Every single day, several times a day the teens practiced that song... loudly on their guitars. 

Will I go again?  Hmm, honestly, I don't know, while I had a fabulous time camping and Rye did really enjoy it and has asked to go back, I was left with a faint sense of disappointment.  Even our 12yr old friend said she didn't think this year was that good.  She enjoyed herself, and really got involved, even holding her own drama workshop with her friends, for the older kids (there wasn't one for older kids this year), and it was very popular.  They also did an act in the carbaret etc.  It wasn't that hesfes itself wasn't good, I personally feel it was the location that wasn't really that suitable.  I also, wasn't that keen on the young teens near us that using exceedingly foul language, and the songs they were singing were exceedingly obscene; had Rye been near the tent at that time I would have had to ask them to stop.  I heard, someone did eventually say something to them, as they were hanging around near the workshop marquis singing their obscene sexually explicit songs.   There was pot smoking going on too.  The scent was rather overpowering at times.  Frankly, I couldn't give a toss if folks want to smoke pot, I do feel, however, that a festival that is for children is not really the place, although I only smelled it in the evening, so I suspect it was adults, not kids indulging.

Saying all that, the atmosphere was wonderful, folks were so friendly, the kids in the main were great, and all ages played together, especially during the water fights.   And I would recommend Hesfes, sure there are were parts I weren't keen on, and I really hope they change the venue; overall though, it is simply amazing to see so many home ed families, and to be in a safe environment for kids to be pretty much free range.  I barely saw Rye during the day!  I met several other families and made new friends.

Oh and I thoroughly recommend taking precautions against horseflies.  I was bitten about 23 times and ended up like this:
That was the night I arrived home, by the morning the lower 3 patches (9 bites in all) had joined together and the redness covered most of my calf.  Next day I went into the walk in centre and got antibiotics, which is clearing the infection nicely; however, it's made we rather ill, so I've had to close my childminding setting, and currently, because the infection got into my knee joints, I cannot walk very well.  Hoping that eases as the infection continues to abate.  I'll be making up repellent for future trips; apparently, vinegar and eucalyptus oil is very effective, along with eating or taking garlic supplements!



arwen_tiw said...

Welcome back! And I'm very glad there were redeeming moments to your camping trip, even if it was a little disappointing. Hope you're feeling back to normal again soon too, those are some impressive bites!

Becks said...

Oh Jacqui, that looks sooo painful! Hope it heals quickly. John has just comeback from the caravan after going down to do a clean up (wehaven't been down this year due to health, house decorating, poor weather etc), apparently the heat and extreme wetness,we're near Machynlleth where all that flooding was, means that the grass was chest height, which of course meant horseflies,mossies and so on. Poor John was literally covered in bites head to toe. He is covered in bumps and craters yuk! You know the flies are only atracted to some people,not everyone? I'v never been bitten, even when John gets it badly. Anyway, I will haveo ry your repellant for John too, he definitely needs something to protct.
Nice to cach up with you again, glad you enjoyed this ear at HESFES, regardless of the down sides.

Woolly Wanderer said...

Joxy you are a star! Hope the tablets work and that you are feeling better soon

hugs San x

Joxy said...

cheers ladies.

Oooh I feel for John. My bites are still itchy, and where the infection has got into the fluid in my knees (or so the doc thinks), it feels like I'm itching from the inside out, it is driving me a little crazy. However, yes the skin infections are healing nicely, just left with exceedingly sensitive and itchy skin, but I suppose that's normal.

Assuming I can negotiate arrangements with my client, I am suppose to be camping again next weekend... although part of me is a little wary to do so after this.

Garlic supplements here I come, and I must must buy some eucalyptus oil, and make sure I have lavender available, so if i do get bitten I can immediately put some on, should hopefully prevent any future bites going yucky.

Anonymous said...

Where did you get your brazier and tripod from? I've got a brazier from Soulpad but with no legs so it burns the grass. Your event shelter looks great, we didn't have any shade camping which made me think I need a tarp or something to be able to create shade.
I really hope you feel better soon.

Joxy said...

from here :

I initially bought the 68cm brazier with the 10cm long legs, but it still burns the grass, so I found a company on amazon that did the longer 30cm legs. However, it took so much chasing and sorting that they sent me the newest brazier with the long legs, which is around £100+ on it's own (I paid £22 for longer legs! so bit of a bargain). But you could easily just buy an off ground brazier from else where (30cm+ is good for ensuring the grass does not burn). I do find this new brazier is not as camping friendly, in that the legs are a little more awkward to take on and off, so I do tend to just put it whole in my trailer. The other thing to bear in mind is that many campsites that allow fires, do hire out braziers, so then you'd just need the tripod and grill. I do recommend the grill pan (the enamel black pan that looks like a paella dish), it is fab and much to my astonishment, fried eggs etc do not stick!.