Tuesday, 30 April 2013

UK Festivals: Greenman August 2009

Our Green Man experience was a while ago, sure, but this was, and I'm certain still is, a great festival and writing about Indietracks made me want to make a record of my Greenman weekend.

Greenman is another independent annual music festival. The festival borrows the stunning stunning Brecon Beacons as its backdrop and, in contrast to festivals like Glasto and Leeds Reading, tent pitches are within a reasonable distance of all the stages and workshop tents. The festival opened with an alternative ceremony of druid rituals, and the fun, folksy, family friendly atmosphere of the festival continued on from there.
Bon Iver, Wilco, Jarvis Cocker and Grizzly Bear were all on the bill for 2009, as well as British Sea Power, She Keeps Bees, Beach House and Camera Obscura and loads more. People sat out on the sloping hillside watching bands perform on the main stage, armed with great food and drink from the host of street food carts and real ale tents. Then there were smaller stages with more music, comedy, literature, poetry and science, and a hookha tent showcasing djs until the wee small hours.

There was an area dedicated to alternative therapies and wellbeing. I was tempted by a 'gong bath' but didn't get around to it. We went to a talk on 'Penisology' and, in complete contrast, went went on a guided walk to learn about worms! Einstein's Garden was another family friendly area with play areas, craft tents and lots of creative pretty. The massive wish tree was one of my favourite things at the festival. People were adding tags over the whole weekend.
This giant sculpture of the Green Man was set alight on the last night of the festival to mark the end of an awesome weekend.
I loved Green Man and wish we could have planned to return. We'll be getting ready for our Southeast Asia trip this year, but if you fancy a laid back, family friendly festival with opportunities to hear new music, chill out in beer tents playing board games, be part of a tough crowd for new comedy acts, or just fancy the opportunity to wear fairy wings, face paint and a daisy crown, I'd recommend Green Man. Did I mention that the toilets and showers are cleaned at least twice daily? Yes, that worked fine for me, too!

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Four Months Until Lift Off!

Our Summer travel plans are coming along nicely and we've now pretty much worked out where we want to go and where we'd like to stay. Originally, we wanted to 'roam free' and book our accommodation as and when we decided to move on. We only have three weeks to explore, we're going to popular spots where rooms get booked and prices increase quickly, and we've stumbled upon several beautiful hotels we like the look of. So, in the end, we've got ourselves a fairly fixed itinerary. 

I cannot wait to ride this cable car in Langkawi, a beautiful island off the West coast of Malaysia where we're planning to spend three nights in a little chalet hidden in the rainforest.
Langkawi Cable Car
JohnMiller Photography on Flickr

Monday, 15 April 2013

Liverpool's Giant Spectacular: Sea Odyssey April 2012

Last April, Liverpool had three larger than life tourists. I finally got around to watching the documentary about Liverpool's Giant Spectacular which has been sat in our Sky+ recordings for months and months. It took me right back to that weekend, almost one year ago.

The story, played out magically by the Royal De Luxe street theatre company, was inspired by a real letter that was sent by a little Liverpudlian girl, May McMurray, to her father the day before he set sail as a steward on the Titanic. Of course, sadly, the letter never reached him.
Image Source
In this magical story, created by Jean-Luc Courcoult, the artistic director of Royal De Luxe, the Titanic held a Giant stowaway:  

"...loaded on board during the night, unnoticed - a thirty foot tall Giant capable of travelling through time, on his way to another continent to meet his daughter, the Little Giant...

When the Little Giant heard the news, she sought out her uncle, the Great Giant's brother. While listening to her, the uncle made a decision that was to take him a century to carry out.

First, he would make himself a diving suit. Then he would scour the ocean floor for the shipwreck. After that, he would bury his brother in the deep-sea bed. Most importantly, he would come back with the letter the Great Giant had written to the Little Giant Girl. This is why he walked for many long years across the ocean floor, pulling the Titanic's mail trunk to bring back the post to Liverpool.

This is a story about my Giant adventures in Liverpool last April.

Saturday 21st April

We (me, M, my mum and my brother) set out to find the Giant Uncle as he searched the city for his niece, the Little Girl Giant. When we caught up with him, he was wandering through the city centre looking for her. He was incredible. Massive. Dare I say it, a little bit scary! We joined crowds of people lining the roadside watching as this giant in a diver suit, brought to life by puppeteers in funny little red outfits, made his way down towards Liverpool's Chinatown. He jumped over the beautiful Chinese gate and continued down to Liverpool's dock area.

As we arrived at Kings Docks we saw the Little Girl Giant on a massive boat, led by her Giant Dog, Xolo, travelling down towards us from a different direction. Amazing sight! She was beautiful, with big eyes that took in the sights of the people below her.

Then, after 100 years of searching, the Little Girl Giant was finally reunited with her Uncle at Kings Dock. He read her a letter written by her Great Giant father that he had kept hold of for all of these years. She did a little dance suspended in the air and then moved to rest on his lap and fell asleep. Giants have a very loud snore. True.

Naturally, we wanted to be giants, too.

Sunday 22nd April

M's mum and dad came to visit and we went on a second day of giant hunting. By the time we had managed to find somewhere to park, the giants had woken up and started to make their way around the city, exploring Liverpool's sights together. The giants were in a celebratory mood and littered the streets with sparkles and letters as they moved through the streets to music. We joined the crowds at the edge of the Albert Dock, waiting to say goodbye to the Little Girl Giant and her Uncle as they sailed off down the Mersey. It's a bit of a 'Spot the Uncle' in this first photograph but he's there, I promise!

We rushed over to the main dockside and said 'ta-ra' to the giants for the last time.
Liverpool is an amazing place to live and makes a great place to visit for a weekend. There are so many brilliant, often free, events throughout the year and there is so much to see around the city. Over the next two month's Liverpool is hosting a literary festival and a late night culture-vulture night, where museums and gallerys are open into the wee small hours. The Albert Dock has long been a favourite spot of mine. If Fred the weather man's map isn't enough to draw you there, it's full of history and the former warehouse spaces house museums, galleries, restaurants, bars and lovely shops, including my childhood favourite sweet shop, Quay Candy. If you get there, try their homemade fudge which comes in pretty much every flavour you could want! Needless to say, we stopped in after our Giant adventure and stocked up on fudge before heading home to look at all our photos!

Did you manage to see Liverpool's giants last April? I want to do something with some of these pictures; maybe make one as a large canvas as a way to help us remember such a 'Spectacular' weekend, but which one to pick?

Friday, 5 April 2013

UK Festivals: Indietracks July 2013

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My drummerboy hubby's band has been asked to play a festival in beautiful Derbyshire this Summer. Indietracks is an annual, weekend long indie pop festival that is staged by Midland Railway. The venues include a restored church, moving steam train carriages and train holding sheds. There's also art and craft workshops running over the weekend and you can ride on the trains as often as you want, for free. It's very exciting. There are one or two bands I know and love, including Camera Obscura, but generally the bands that will play the festival are new to me. A quick tour through various bandcamp and lastfm pages tells me I'm going to really enjoy being a tag along to this one.

Find out more about Indietracks here
Any Summer festival plans this year? Why not give Indietracks a try!

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Once Upon an Easter Weekend

Things I've loved about this Easter weekend:
Making bread
Homemade tomato soup
Chocolate and pear pots
Sefton Park walk with a visit to the Palm House
A (failed) hot cross bun loaf
Summer holiday research
Singing along to Annie
Mini eggs and other chocolatey goodness
A lamb roast
Chick costumes and charades
Finding Nemo
Harry Potter Cluedo
Family walk on Crosby Beach
99 ice creams with sauce and sherbet

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