Picture this – a van is driving along a track. On the bonnet sits a girl wearing a tutu and with a large black moustache pencilled across her face. She is telling everyone to follow the van until it stops. We do. It stops. The back doors open and...... it’s the 1 Minute Disco! Just enough time to put your handbag down and dance round it until the minute is up, when the doors close again and the van drives off. What a brilliant idea.
Us Happy Campers saw everyone and everything we wanted to, and a few more besides, but missed our opportunity to see a now famous group of friends who sing sea shanties. Unfortunately, the programme in their venue was obviously running late – we really wanted Fishermen’s Friends but could only find Hot Brew, which was not our cup of tea.
DGR interrupts to say we saw them!
When we went to bed the portaloos were white and when we woke up in the morning they were green – the Toilet Fairy had been in the night and replaced them all!
Kate Winslet! Kate Winslet!!! The Hollywood star herself was on stage Sunday morning reading her childrens’ favourite book, Mr Gum and the Power Crystals by Andy Stanton. She read the whole thing in one and a half hours, acting it out, doing all the different voices and thoroughly enjoying herself. Before she started, she suggested that any children who wanted to could join her on stage to listen and there was a susurration as all the men in the audience involuntarily rose from their seats and then settled down again with a wistful sigh. An hour and a half is a bit long for the littlest little ‘uns and there was further consternation from some of the dads when they had to leave temporarily to take their offspring for a toilet break. Would they miss anything? Would it all be over when they got back? Andy Stanton has a wonderful way with words. Phrases such as “silent as a carpet”, or “like a piece of old cheese nobody wants to dance with”, and our favourite, the famous breakfast cereal Baron von Tubbleworth’s Crunchy Little Leopards – I bet Burt Lancaster eats those! Not forgetting “the past has a way of repeating itself”. (The past has a way of repeating itself.) (The past has a way of repeating itself.) We rocked with laughter at the description of Old Granny in her rocking chair, surreptitiously slurping sherry, rocking and farting at the same time. I also particularly enjoyed Nicholas de Twinklecakes, a villainous 16th century Hooray Henry and, my favourite, little Alan Taylor, the mechanical-limbed gingerbread superhero, one of whose raisin eyes was once eaten by a cat and replaced from the bag in the kitchen. And a final quote: stories are like rivers – they keep on flowing and they sometimes have fish in them. Andy Stanton is my new superhero. There are 8 or 9 books in the Mr Gum series definitely seek them out.