One of the joys of Port Eliot festival is the opportunity to unleash the Happy Campers on an unsuspecting country estate of 6000 acres whilst knowing that they are well capable of covering every inch of it at least twice and won't miss a thing. Keen runners both and one a proper-job fell runner so no dash too daunting for this pair. If there's a buzz they will be on it in a nano-second, if there is cake they will be on that even faster. I am going to make you wait for the picture of one of them cosied up to Dominic West (you will never have seen two bigger grins...his perhaps from shock...hers...well...) meanwhile I have been intrigued to discover news of a few more fesitival events they enjoyed, and the endeavour involved in my lovely special gifts
Tent up, cup of tea brewed and drunk, sun shining, we made our way to the dovegreyreader tent to sign in. Except we didn’t make it for about another hour because on the way we spotted the screen printing session. Templates had been prepared with the Port Eliot logo and space to put your own words or pictures. We felt that the Happy Campers should be recorded for posterity, so we quickly signed up for a tote bag and got to work.
It was back to school, cutting out letters and shapes and carefully fixing them to the template – remembering that the letters have to appear back to front and the words have to read backwards. This was a very hands-on task and we were like little children as we inked our screens and waited for the moment of truth. Flushed with success, we went back the following day to design and print a special tote bag for dovegreyreader, which we proudly presented to her at the end of the weekend.
There was also an opportunity to paint an elephant – not full sized of course, but a money box on which we could again unleash our artistic ability, and turn into another present for dgr, who by this time was probably feeling like a mother of young children who keep presenting her with beautifully badly drawn and painted pictures and objects.
We managed to find 25 minutes in our packed schedule to cover an elephant with gold paint and stick leaves and flowers on it before dashing off to the next event. I think dgr was pleased with our efforts – she was certainly speechless.....
A Literary Walk
We walk to get from A to B.
We walk for pleasure.
We walk to admire the scenery.
We walk to clear our heads.
I do not advise walking while trying to eat Moroccan lamb with couscous out of a cardboard container (our schedule was so tight it was our only opportunity for sustenance).
Duncan Minshull led us on a tour of the festival site and, after taking our lives in our hands with the litter-clearing vehicles, we managed to take “the road less trafficked”. Duncan read extracts from The Vintage Book of Walking, which he edited, and we discussed the importance of walks in books such as Jane Eyre, Tess of the D’Urbervilles, Women in Love, anything by Jane Austen, while reminiscing about being dragged out complainingly on family walks as children.
We finished the walk by approaching the Festival site from a different angle. The sight of fields full of tents and pennants waving in the breeze looked like an invading army laying siege to the house. Walking certainly gives you a different perspective.
The Walking Book Club
Another walk on another lovely day, with a group of people all discussing Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. The walk was led by Emily Rhodes, a book blogger, whose favourite book this is. We walked down to the boathouse, where it felt appropriate to share a scene from the book, then along by the river, and finally back to the house, which has some dark and gloomy windows from which it would be easy to imagine Mrs Danvers gazing down at you. There were some men on this walk, proving the point perhaps that Rebecca isn’t just a “woman’s read”, and this added to the discussions on why the second Mrs de Winter married Maxim, which Mrs de Winter we liked best, whether there was a likeable character anywhere in the book, and the revelation that Helen Rappaport’s favourite character is Mrs Danvers. Helen was the last minute replacement for the dovegreyreader tent after William Fiennes broke his collarbone, and there is absolutely no truth in the rumour that she was so keen to come to the Festival that she took out a contract on him.....