Day 11, Cropredy
After falling – well, crawling, given our headroom – utterly exhausted into bed at one this morning, I was awake again at half past five for another, even longer, event-packed day. It started by pouring with rain again, to ensure that the festival had that authentic muddiness without which no British outdoor event is complete. After waving Amy and James on their way, we trekked as far as the Brasenose for bacon rolls for lunch (two apiece).
Then we went back to the field, to visit the Hobgoblin Music stand, where Mike bought his accordian. We left there half an hour later with Baz carrying a rather magnificent two row button accordian (red in colour) and my overdraft lighter (or, rather, heavier) by some three hundred quid. Still, he got a book thrown in and set to mastering the instrument straight away, while we entertained Bones and Maffi to tea on board Warrior. I had intended to go and see Julie Fowlis but at that point it poured with rain more heavily than at any time previously, so I’m afraid I chickened out. tea, we joined and Maffi and Graham and Jane for pre-pub drinks and philosophical discussion on Alnwick, before heading off to meet Keith at the Red Lion. I have experienced an endless social whirl at last.
As we were about to leave the Red Lion (in our limited experience, nothing like as nice a pub as the Brasenose) to witness the festival’s grand finale, an extremely drunk man fell backwards down the steps. To cut a very long story (as it often is with extremely drunk people) short, Baz volunteered to accompany this man’s companion, as he escorted his friend (with great, if exasperated, patience and fondness, it must be said) back to his van, in order to look after the friend’s dog. Apparently it was an eventful trip, involving the divestment of trousers in the churchyard and more, and we then had to set off on a tour of the village looking for Baz.
Eventually our party was reunited, and we made our way onto the field. Fairport Convention were great. Naturally, we felt somewhat nozzers (new bods; parvenus) amongst so many for whom this was a religion, but it was absolutely fantastic nonetheless. The field by now was packed, and we quickly lost sight of Baz and Keith, but found a space with a great view of the stage. Baz found us later, having purchased a further shirt, and we met up with Keith again as we filed out, just in time to say goodbye.
So, exhausted again, but happy this time, we watched the poor huddled masses tramp like refugees to their far-off mud-sodden encampments and peeled off alone down the towpath to Warrior.