Overcome Festival Deflation!

Goats softly bleated...

It’s hot already, even at 8 a.m. in a roomy canvas bell tent.  Outside, goats softly bleat about what to chew for breakfast with their kids. A metal kettle chinked as someone puts it on the fire which they’ve relight from last night’s embers, the remnant of the evening’s singing and dancing.

And what a playful first night it had been, catching up with old friends and making new ones in the ancient woodlands of my favourite cultural gathering of the year – the High Sun Solstice Camp.

Animal spirit guides...

I should have been happy, but something was wrong. My dreams hadn’t been delighted with the prospect of hot tubs under a moonlight canopy, saunas, movement and art workshops, in fact, any kind of workshop anyone fancied hosting.

One year, someone volunteered to discern our spirit animal guides using tarot cards. I know, some weird stuff, often out of my comfort zone, but that’s why I loved the festival – anything could happen as the community built over the five days we camped and ate vegan together celebrating the land.

My dreams hadn't included...

A month later, on sweltering Furnace Friday, I was zipped into a four season sleeping bag in Go Outdoors Colchester store… WHY?!

No, my dreams hadn’t included any of those thoughts. I hadn’t dreamt at all. I’d barely slept. And it was the land’s fault. Emma rolled over towards me and said, “Is the ground really hard this year?”

“Like concrete,” I said, shimmying out of our sultanesque bed of feather duvets, wool blankets and a double sleeping mat. “There’s the problem. The mat’s flat,” I said.

“We’ve only used it once!” Emma said. We’re both compulsive bargain hunters but it appeared this time we’d gone too cheap on the internet. “I suppose we can put some more blankets under us,” Emma said.

No way, I thought...

No way, I thought. The festival was supposed to be a reawakening and rejuvenating of our creative selves, not an exercise in surviving sleep deprivation. Besides, my hips were hurting after one night on the hard ground. I couldn’t last another four. I knew Emma couldn’t either and was trying to stay positively connected with the land, the very thing we were here to celebrate.

Well there’s positive connections and there’s positively too connected. Sleeping without a mat was definitely the latter. “I’m going off-site to buy a new one. A good one that will last,” I said.

“But you’ll miss your morning yoga,” Emma said.

Screw the yoga...

“Screw the yoga,” I said, my mind already locked on a mission back into the ‘real’ world to seek the gift of sleep. I turned my phone on and searched for the nearest Go Outdoors shop. Result, there was one only half an hour drive away. After a quick bowl of muesli, blueberries, and almond milk – what else would you breakfast on at a hippy camp – I set off in my trusty Vauxhall.

I arrived at the shop and was directed to the sleeping mats where I encountered my first obstacle. There were ten different mats inflated but not the one I wanted. “No problem,” the cheerful assistant said, pulling one out of its box and inflating it for me to test.

And boy did I test it. “Take as long as you want,” the assistant said. I lay on it for half an hour rolling about, putting others next to it, sliding from one to another to confirm that three inches thick was enough, closely inspecting the valve for durability. When the assistant returned, I checked the mat was guarantee, just in case, and I trotted off to pay.

The second obstacle..

Now I had to face my second obstacle – I’d found the exact same mat cheaper online. But again, the cashier had a ‘can do’ attitude and happily price matched the mat. I drove back to the festival, a hero in my own tent, festival saved for Emma and me.

A month later, on sweltering Furnace Friday, I was zipped into a four season sleeping bag in Go Outdoors Colchester store… WHY?!

#ColchesterStore #Ad @GoOutdoors