I had meant to post about Wilderness much earlier in the week but I’ve been proper poorly (hence the title of this post) but better late than never eh?.
In summary, it was really rather ace. The trolley was a master stroke, ferrying the boys elegantly across the undulating slopes of Cornbury Park with ease and making them the envy of all the other kids around. The weather was beautiful and the vistas stunning. From shady glades to wide grassy plains, every corner hid a veritable cornucopia of delight and entertainment.
Our highlights were definitely the Vintage area, a scaled-down version of the Hemmingway family’s previously solo Vintage festival, the roller-disco (brilliant fun and proper disco tunes) and Stornoway. I also loved all the beautiful artistry on display in the signs - from route pointers to stall signs, to menu boards and beer pricing, every one was a work of art. I wish I had photographed them all. We left just as the sun was going down, pulling our happy little trolley of sticky boys through an excited crowd dressed for the evening’s lakeside masked ball. If I’m being perfectly honest, I’d say Wilderness is a festival you might want to do without kids, to make the most of the beautiful banquets, the blissful outdoor spa, the mass skinny dipping, the Future Cinema screenings, the late-night secret parties and the cookery and yoga demonstrations, but each to their own.
So if I had to sum up Wilderness in ten words? Artistic. Arcadian. Not-about-the-music (hyphens make that one word). Ethereal. A-visual-feast (see previous note about hyphens). Hedonistic. Fantastical. Vintage. Beautiful. Stylish.
And now to the next bit of this post…
I can only ever remember being properly ill three times before in my life. I’ve never broken a bone, sprained an ankle or stayed in more than the labour ward in hospital, but boy have those three ‘proper poorlies’ stuck with me.
The first was in 1980. To my 9-year old brain, German measles sounded really exciting until, like everyone else in my class before me, I went down with it myself and spent a week hallucinating about Snoopy, Woodstock and Cliff Richard whilst being sick into a beige washing up bowl beside my bed.
In 1994, it was Labryrinthitis and this time, instead of being in my comforting bedroom at home nursed back to health by my mum, I was holed up in a damp student tenement flat above a dingy all-night club in Glasgow. It was two weeks before the culmination of my MSc and my closest doctor’s surgery was in the Gorbals. Surviving that episode is another story in itself…
In 1997, I went down with Beijing flu. This time I was staying at a dreadful hotel in Blackpool at the start of a four-day Microsoft conference which I had been sent on by my new boss. I had got a lift up from Oxford so didn’t have my car with me. After the first two days, I finally gave up and dragged myself to the train station to try to make it home. I didn’t manage it, having to ask my parents to come and rescue me from the train half way (at the age of 26) and take me back to my childhood home, where I stayed for a further five days.
And now, I am adding 2012’s tonsillitis episode to my 'proper poorlies’ list because up until Saturday night, I truly believed it was no longer possible for me to feel as ill as I had on those previous occasions. Because I’m a mother right? Mothers just get on with it. We shake stuff off and are hardly ever ill because, well, we’re just not, OK? We’re stoic and strong and men do the man-flu thing, not us ladies. And anyway, we don’t have time to be ill. Who would empty the dishwasher and feed the children?
Oh foolish me. Oh doubter of the cricket club mums who told me tonsillitis was doing the rounds. From about five minutes after we left Wilderness on Saturday night until Tuesday afternoon, I was vertical for about ten minutes in total, delirious for close on a full day, alternating between hot sweats and chills and unable to swallow anything but water through a straw for all three days. I have no idea what the boys have done, eaten or watched in all that time - although I suspect I would object to all if I had the energy - and our bags from Wilderness are still dumped (and still packed) in the kitchen where I abandoned them in a fever onslaught on Saturday night.
However this too shall pass. I shall live to see another day. I can put the house back together after four days of Daddy Daycare. I can re-stock the ibuprofen. I can force-feed the boys vegetables to make up for their extended sugar-high diet. It just might take me a little longer than normal.
Now, if I had to sum up tonsillitis in ten words? Bloody. Awful. And. God. Knows. How. Children. Get. Through. It.