Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The Woodford Files 5

Sleeping at Woodford is a fine art: everyone is under thin canvas; there are no designated quiet or noisy areas, so you might be next door to a quiet family group, a single snorer or a mosh of drumming teens. Around 6am, when everyone except the most foolish have had a modicum of deep sleep, the garbage trucks rumble around the larger roads.

The secret to a reasonably successful sleep is a good set of earplugs. We used to swear by wax plugs, but were talked into 'better' foam plugs by a kindly chemist chick in Taree. Since it's been two years since I had to use the wax ones, I can't truthfully compare, but the foam ones have been good. Once they are in, the world takes on an underwater quality perfect for sleep, and the rumble of the drums and trucks just add to the texture of your dreams.

Of course, good sleep comes best to a calm mind. I slept badly last night because we got back to the tent to find the back flap open and my stuff spread around. It looks like someone had come in in the dark, grabbed and upended my backpack, had a quick rifle through BB's less accessible backpack, then got spooked and left before they could get to the next 'room' containing Bumblebee's things and a bag of electrical cords that also absent-mindedly contained BB's iPod.

Luckily we hadn't left any other valuable things in the tent - we're quite careful that way - so all they took was my cheap but useful torch. But, as with all invasions, they robbed me of my peace of mind, and my faith in Woodford as somewhere beyond all that petty crap.

Anyhoo, it's the second last day, and anyone looking fresh is definitely a day visitor. We didn't get rain last night; we had a promising roll over of clouds as I was blogging, but it bypassed the festival, and today is blindingly hot and dry. On the first day I bought myself a fab red parasol in a lovely curved 'Empire' style, pulled from the seconds box and for my pains turned out to be the last of a batch of water-proofed stock, and it has been my BFF in rain or shine. I noticed this morning as I waited in line for a beet & carrot juice that people were standing close to take advantage of my shade.

I've spent most of today sitting behind the stall in S&E's 'living area' under a thick tarp, slurping the excellent local water and reading every newspaper we can get our hands on. I'm about to soak a silk scarf in water to drape around my shoulders under the parasol and brave the heat to do some shopping. It's Colonel Duck's birthday tomorrow and I forgot to do anything about it before I left Canberra. Trying to find a suitable gift for a tree-changed ex-army officer here is a challenge, but not an insurmountable one. If I fail, there's still places to find things on the slow journey home.

New Year's Eve at Woodford is notable not only for it's excellent entertainment choices, but also for the 3-minute silence at 11:30. The entire festival stops still at the sound of the bell ring, and if all goes well the next 3 minutes are so quiet that the cicadas and frogs are deafening. There's always the odd 'WTF??!1!? from ignorant punters, but they are quickly shushed, and the silence wins. It's pretty spectacular for a crowd of around 25,000 people.

Candles are passed around for people to hold, and Best Beloved fondly remembers a fellow who once stopped, gobsmacked, hands full of fresh Pizza Loco slices (BEST PIZZA EVA), looking around, spooked by the silence, and accidentally holding the pizza over someone's candle, setting the slices alight. Someone pointed this out to him, and the rest of the silence was punctuated by muffled curses, stomps and quiet laughter.

I hope you all have a wonderful change of the guard. It's been another ace blogging year, and here's to many more (raises imaginary drink full of crushed ice). May your 2009 be everything you want it to be (and possibly more). Cheers!

-- Post From My iPhone


Anonymous said...

Thank you for the posts. In my extreme ignorance, I didn't even know what Woodford was. Thanks for making it so real that it's almost like being there!

All the best to you and yours for 2009. May your new studio be prodigious, prosperous and a place of abiding peace.



chosha said...

Happy New Year, &duck! Hope 2009 brings fulfilled expectations and also good surprises.

The View From Fez said...

Dear &Duck, the transition from the People's Republic back to the unreal plastic universe is always difficult. Having your blog to jog my memory is wonderful and on behalf of Polar Bears for Obama, I thank you.

I am glad you were a regular at our FYI - which will now remove its training wheels and emerge bigger and better next year. Martin and I are also looking at a new format show for early evening... a sundowner or something... will keep you posted.
All the best for 2009.