The car was filled to the brim with camping stuff (all thanks to Go Outdoors.com). I had tested putting the tent up…and down weeks in advance to save on time and of course embarrassment. I scoured every camping website on the best combination of sleep kit and fell into forums where the argument between airbed vs inflatable mats became a huge roundabout of positives and negatives until I got so confused I got both (cheaply!).
- Tent (duh) check
- Sleeping bag (“The monster” Sleep-pod) Check
- Airbed and air mat (just incase) check
- Extra blankets (Some creature comforts! I’m not an animal!) check
- Essentials (H&B, Ticket, First aid kit, Lantern, Camping chair) Check, check, check!
- Pillow……well as is tradition I had to forget something. But this was minor.
And I was ready to hit the road!
Setting off reasonably early, around 10.30, as the site didn’t allow people to enter until after 12, so I didn’t mind turning up early. As I passed the entrance to the field twice (It was one of those signs you only really could see until passing it), I was relieved when I entered the field along an unmarked track of long grass, feeling prepared to do some off-roading, where I parked up next to a solitary car and greeted the couple that had started to unload their items. Named Jenna and Brady from Essex, they were funny and warm people, easy to talk to, and we waited patiently to be let in….only to wait another 45 minutes to eventually be let in….Last minute changes to electrics, having to move a cocktail bar and wire in overhead lights to the carpark and camping field had set them back timewise…but surely if it said on the ticket entry at noon…wouldn’t you try to ensure it was done by then and start earlier for prep?
Either way, we didn’t mind, it was a beautiful sunny afternoon, the company was in good spirits, and when we were let into the site, having first pick of the pitches was awesome.
The first part of the day I literally spend setting up the tent to my specifications and meeting and greeting the abundance of campers in the close proximity of my tent. Brilliant bunch, offered round food readily and comfortably talked about who we were, where we were from and what we were most looking forward to during the day.
As expected the bar (and its contents!) as well as being outside in the marvelous weather was high on the list, but most were excited about the films. A large abundance had picked the viewing purely for Pulp Fiction alone, but were glad Fight Club paired up with it.
A few of the groups I spoke to said it wasn’t the first outdoor cinema they had been to with Jenna inparticular who said she had been to several including the viewing of “The good, the bad and the ugly” at Somerset House a few years ago.
Not long after this event bods began letting us know that entertainment would begin in the marquee at 3pm and the first film would be at 6pm in the marquee too….
“Hold on…IN THE MARQUEE?! ” exclaimed quite a few people at the utterance of this statement…but then after much deliberation we understood that at 6pm there was no way we would be able to see it properly on the outside screen because of the contrast (“Fuckin’ Contrast!!??” I can hear Jenna say…very funny lady!)…then came the argument of chairs allowed in the marquee, then not allowed….then the were….which did…ahem…upset us a little, but after everyone settled nicely when the all too famous Miserlou by Dick Dale and his Del Tones roared across the huge speakers and the crowd whooped, clapped and wiggled about in excitement.
The crowd were happy and content, with the odd person exiting now and then to refill their alcoholic beverage or to order food, much to my dismay as I had forgotten the cardinal rule to obtain any snacks wanted from the stands before the film not during! I don’t care if i’ve seen the film before or not…it’s a means of etiquette during a film: it bothers me when other people get up and block my view, so I assume the fact that it probably bothers others as a rule of thumb. Now going to pee…that’s a different matter, you can’t help that, but surely you would go before the film starts…ok I’ll chill now. Sorry.
As soon as the first film ended cheering and clapping resumed as everyone grabbed bundles of their things and dragged it out to the outdoor screen area (where they had…ahem… originally tried to sit…) and as the chill of the evening air set in many returned to their tents in tow of blankets, hats, thick coats and scarves.
Unfortunately my blanket didn’t do much, and left me as a shivering wreck, whom resided to defeat 3/4 through the film through sheer tiredness (that was probably because it had woken up at 4.30am and couldn’t settle after that due to excitement.) so said my goodbyes to my new friends, and set off in preparation of getting layered up in the tent ready for bed. My first challenge was to maneuver through the minefield of tents evading the guy ropes and other tipsy campers.
I succeeded and wriggled down into my bag and cosily drifted away to sleep….until the dawn chorus and rising sun woke me…and 4.30 again!!
Don’t get me wrong it was beautiful and a lovely experience, but not on that day. I managed to get back to sleep for another 3 hours, and went for a brisk morning walk around the field dressed in my PJ’s ReelTime hoodie and wellies (very sexy!). After my walk, I started packing up my stuff, having to make at least 3/4 trips to and from the car up a big hill…okay not a big hill but when you are carrying all that stuff on your own…it’s Everest!
But I did it! I took one last look around, making sure I hadn’t left anything behind, then secured myself into the car and set off for home.
I had a brilliant time! Even though there were teething problems with the projector for the second film, and the whole chair/no chair incident and the 1pm entry instead of 12 noon, it was really good! Everyone who attended had a great time and got on really well, with a sense of cinematic comradery radiating from the place and I cannot wait to be going back again in July!