Wow! That was a quick week. Just back from Wales. The weather was okay for the time of year - only two days when it rained a bit but that didn't stop us messing about on the beach. playing crazy golf or walking up a hill. The thing about a Welsh holiday is that you pack for every eventuality - which can be rather hard when your family of four car is a Fiat 500 - flip flops, swimming gear, sun tops, body boards, raincoats, boots, woolly jumpers. The thing about our welsh holidays (we go several times a year!) is we have certain rainy day places - towns with shops and nice cosy cafes, craft centres, steam trains, swimming pool - and less rainy day places - the beach, crazy golf, walking up hills and around lakes. All activities are tackled with a cagoule wrapped around our waists and a jumper slung over our arm just in case. Love it!
When the weather grates it always brings to mind the Monty Python cartoon that crops up in their Holy Grail film. A scribe is sat in the top room of his house neatly writing out the title page for the Tale of Sir Lancelot when all of a sudden loud bangs shake his house, making him spoil his page. He mumbles and heads downstairs. When he goes outside, the sun and three clouds are jumping up and down on the ground ('hey-up'). "Clear off", he cries and they sheepishly sidle off. "Bloody weather", says the man as he heads back indoors. Makes me laugh out loud every time - even then when I was just thinking about it! https://youtu.be/hQ72fcHDUC8
For 'bloody weather' read rain, wind, sleet, freak showers of frogs - anything sent from the heavens to try and make life a little more trying.
Its the one thing we cannot control at the Summer Strum and practically the only thing that makes us nervous! "Get a big tent" we hear you cry. Well big tents cost a lot of money - not only do you need to hire the tent but you also need several trained and burly men (hmm - actually ... but, no, think about the cost Emma!) to erect it in order to meet the proper health and safety criteria. Besides where's the fun in that (well - several burly men for a start!)? We want to commune with nature at Summer Strum, breathe in the fresh air, wake with the larks, catch the rays that do shine down upon us from time to time, unicycle through the crowds if the mood takes us ... Farmer Eavis doesn't pitch up a mahoosive canvas edifice to keep his crowds dry. On the contrary - it is encouraged to revel and cavort in the rivers of mud that inevitably plague the biggest music festival in Britain (yes - I know rather a disproportionate comparison!).
The roof over Centre Court is only a recent thing - although it was about time I suppose and they could more than afford to do it. It takes 10 minutes to close and a further 30 minutes for the atmosphere to be stabilised before play can resume. It weighs 3,000 tonnes, the equivalent of 7,500 Wimbledon umbrellas (according to the Times). It benefits the play and players, not so much the spectators, who would happily shelter under those 7,500 umbrellas to watch Timmy play tennis in the 'bloody rain'; Football fans and players weather the storms (meteorological or otherwise) on a weekly basis throughout the season to support their clubs. Even at primary school age, parents (of which I am one of two) stand committedly on the sidelines week after week huddled under someone's golfing brolly, hoods up, wellies on, flasks of hot chocolate in hand watching their progeny trudge up and down on a field of mud (That's love for you). I am certain that ukulele players are just as fanatical and committed! You prepare your body and soul and its not so bad if it rains a bit is it?
I watched the very delightful Danny Mac on Sunday Brunch yesterday talking about the new production of On The Town (New York, New York, Its a helluva town) in Regent Park's Outdoor Theatre. "It's been a while since I've been" said the interviewer who is not Simon Rimmer. "Does it have a roof?". Danny scoffed at the thought and waxed lyrical about hardy theatre goers knowing the risks and preparing themselves accordingly with booze, food, raincoats, umbrellas and a Blitz mentality that the show must go on. Rain only pauses play (rarely cancels) for health and safety reasons (slippery stage, say).
The first Summer Strum in Hoylake was shifted seamlessly indoors only when it became evident that the heavens were to remain open for the rest of the second day thus threatening the sound equipment and making electrocution a real risk - at the time Fagin's Boys were playing so we didn't want to be responsible for that old institution Gerald Williams being shot out of his welly boots by a 2000 volt shock. The boys carried on the proceedings indoors with great panache and the show miraculously ran to schedule! But it wasn't the same was it? Although still great fun we had gone from a spacious outdoor arena into a cramped and humid room. Good job us ukulele players don't mind getting up close and personal.
So when we get asked "what are we going to do if it rains?" we say we will carry on regardless until we have to move indoors. In the meantime there will be ponchos for sale and gazebos to shelter under. For Summer Strum 2017 we suggest you pack for a holiday in Wales to include one, or a combination, of the following:
- a rain proof coat
- a brolly
- welly boots
- flip flops
- sun cream
- a hat
- a plastic ukulele
- a warm jumper
- a picnic blanket
- a Viking spirit
Come - show your commitment to a great event and support some great charities - don't let the 'bloody weather' put you off.
For 'British weather' read 'chances of rain'!
Over and out. Enjoy the wet bank holiday!
Em and Pat xx