Sunday, June 29, 2008

Glastonbury Festival 2008 – Sunday

On Saturday several good things happened. Firstly it didn’t rain, despite the forecast. The sun came out and dried up all the mud leaving the walkways feeling a bit like a rubber mat though not quite so sweet smelling. Secondly Amy Winehouse made it to the Festival, opened on time, and sort of made it through the set, although at one point she got down among the crowd and gave her minders a heart attack.

Of course the sun makes a huge difference to the day, and it was lovely to see people swap the rain ponchos for – well, see for yourself!

Up at the Acoustic Tent where I listened to Thea Gilmore, Andy Fairweather Low and Seth Lakeman (who did a stormin’ set) people were singing the praises of Pilton Pasta, a bunch of local people who were offering a bowl of fresh cooked penne with simple but tasty home made sauces for a fiver. I tried the fresh vegetable sauce with mine and it was pretty delicious. And the fiver would have been well spent because, as we know, pasta keeps you going. What nobody ever tells you is that Glastonbury is a tremendously physical event – you have to trudge for miles to get where you want to go, and that includes the loo! After a couple of days I’m beginning to feel the benefit of all this walking, but I am by no means match fit!

This morning there are more dark clouds sailing overhead, but they just keep moving on so maybe we will be lucky and have another dry day.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


This is unmissable! Somerset and Avon Police have horse patrols at Glastonbury and this is the view from their riders.

Glastonbury 2008 - Saturday

Right. So this was the Glastonbury Festival 2008 on Thursday…

And this was the Glastonbury Festival 2008 on Friday. A little spot of overnight rain turned the hard baked earth into a sticky mire. But only on the well tramped thoroughfares so it could be worse. Still, it makes walking and staying upright quite a challenge and you work out muscles you didn’t know you have.

The scale of the thing is just phenomenal. There are 150,000 people here. The population of Bath is only 90,000, and Bath covers a lot more than the 1000 acres of this peaceful valley. I watched everyone arriving on Wednesday and Thursday and I was so impressed. They parked their cars and then trudged patiently for what seems like miles to get to their camping ground. The must-have accessory is a wheelbarrow and I plan to snap up one of the leftover ones at the end for my allotment!

There is food everywhere. I don’t know how people have time to listen to the music they’re so busy chomping, and that doesn’t count all the biscuits in the tents. Chomp, chomp, squelch, squelch…that’s the soundtrack to Glastonbury. Huge queues formed around the falafel stalls – my thinking is vegetarian, deep fried, comfort food and probably safe! I was glad to find a free range chicken stand that was using local chicken, and Yeo Valley is here with local organic yogs and ices.

The best apple and pear juice on the park is from my favourite The Orchard Pig, who are here with their own Gloucester Old Spot sausages and bacon as well. From Dorset there is Hall’s Smokehouse, offering smoked salmon and smoked mackerel in a wrap. Delicious, if pricey at £5.50.

I liked the look of the Chimichurri Argentinian steak sandwiches with chimichurri sauce, again around the £5 - £6 mark and someone is doing gourmet fish and chips – haddock only – cooked to order.

Some kids from Leeds are here with really excellent home-made lemonade, and you have to try a Welsh Oggie – Welsh steak, Welsh veggies, in a puff pastry crust so nice you can eat the whole thing.

More rain is forecast for Saturday, but Sunday looks clear, which is when Neil Diamond and Leonard Cohen are rattling their Zimmers on the main Pyramid Stage. Today we have Crowded House, British Sea Power, Seth Lakeman and Buddy Guy. Tonight we are all several gogs to see if Amy Winehouse actually makes it. Last night in Hyde Park for Nelson Mandela’s 90th birthday concert she seemed a bit, er, distracted. What that girl needs is a decent Welsh Oggie…

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Glastonbury Festival

Well, the countdown is definitely under way. Next week sees the start of this year’s Glastonbury Festival. I live less than four miles away from the entrance gate and if I opened the window at my house the noise would be palpable, so I decided perhaps I had better attend in person! I’m thinking of my grandchildren. If I don’t go they will say “You lived less than four miles away and you didn’t go??? What was the matter with you???”

The last time I was at Glastonbury was 1973. There were a few people in a field. Now it has grown into the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world. Over the past few weeks the signs have been going up and the lanes have been filled with snorting screaming lorries loaded with fencing and portable loos. The big tents have been going up for companies like Orange Mobile where everyone will be able to recharge their phones, and up on a hill there is a bunch of tipis which will house the richer Festival goers.

If you’re really loaded you’ll be staying at Camp Kerala and hobnobbing with supermodels and would-be royals. I actually know someone who’ll be up there and I’m hoping the party will be at her’s!

I’ve bought a tent, which I haven’t tried to put up yet. I’ve bought an inflatable mattress with a built-in foot pump, and I’ve bought a lantern. The lantern comes with a key fob so that when you’re staggering back to your tent in the dark and you know it’s around here somewhere you can press the key fob and your tent will light up, like a beacon in the night! Isn’t technology marvellous! (I have a friend who takes a very dim view of anything that improves the Glastonbury experience. I think he thinks that suffering and getting lost is part of the magic.)

I plan to write about the food on offer, in the hope that I’ll find something delicious and tasty among the pot noodles and burgers. You never know!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Elderflower jelly

Everybody seems to be making jelly these days, jellies for cheese, jellies with herbs, jellies with and for everything. And as the hedgerows are frothing with elderflowers I thought I’d have a go at making elderflower jelly.

The base is a Bramley apple jelly, left to drip overnight and then flavoured with elderflowers. For this you will need a jelly bag, but if you don’t have one, or, like me, can’t find it because you use it so infrequently, just use a pillowcase. Support it on a sturdy coat hanger and hang it from something over a large bowl.

4 lbs Bramleys
3 pints water
2 pounds sugar
6-8 heads elderflowers
3-4 tbsp lemon juice

Wash, core and chop the apples roughly. Put in a pan with the water, bring to the boil and simmer until very soft. Pour into a jelly bag and allow to drip overnight.

Next day measure the juice and add one pound of sugar for every pint of juice. Dissolve the sugar over a gentle heat. Add the elderflowers tied in muslin. Bring to the boil and boil vigorously until the setting point is reached.

Remove flowers. Add the lemon juice and allow to cool slightly.

Pour into clean sterilised jars and seal.

This is lovely with cold chicken, or to deglaze a pan that you have cooked chicken in. It’s also great with lamb.

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