We were camping in Essex over the weekend, visiting my daughter and her partner's new house, which is a work in progress.
The 115 mile journey on Friday took 6 1/2 hours, courtesy of stationary traffic on the M25 and A12, as thousands of people headed towards Chelmsford for the V Music Festival. There was quite a party atmosphere on the hard shoulder as the festival goers, fed up with sitting in hot cars and camper vans, abandoned their vehicles, set up picnics, and danced like loons.......most entertaining. There were also dozens of car breakdowns, either running out of petrol or with water pouring out of burst car radiators due to overheating.
Practically every car on the road was heading to V so it was interesting to see what people had packed for the weekend. Cars were either filled with all girls or all lads, and we became quite adept at guessing which was which purely from what was in their respective boots as we crawled past.
Girl-packed cars had everything very neatly packed in the boot. Camping gear, baskets of delicious looking food and wine, coolboxes etc. Girls were almost always singing along to music, tapping out the rhythms, laughing and joking with each other and generally having a great time.
Boy-packed cars looked like everything had been just thrown in, then stirred around a bit with a stick. Camping gear seemed mostly limited to sleeping bags and black bin liners. Why carry a bulky tent when you can sleep in a plastic bag and free up more room in the car for food and drink? Comestibles consisted mainly of 96 packets of crisps and several crates of beer/lager/cider. Boys were almost always making inroads into their food supplies (ie crisps) and we didn't pass a car where at least some of the occupants (though thankfully NOT the drivers) had a can of beer or cider in their hands. Given the length of the traffic queues, I thought it entirely possible that some of the lads would arrive at the festival site with no food or drink left at all!
Having sat in the traffic for 3 hours we felt a bit miffed that we weren't festival-going too, as the atmosphere was very uplifting with not one raised voice or incident of road rage, despite the soaring temperatures and endless wait to travel just a few feet at a time. Even those pushing their petrol-less cars along the hard shoulder for miles were happy and smiling.......ah the resilience of youth.
Still I'm sure they all had a great time and will be wending their way homeward today after a fantastic weekend.
So it's back to work (again) for us today. More work on the toy shop which is coming along very nicely, if slowly, and tackling a pile of orders.
As predicted, having missed out on any number of naps over the weekend, small dog is working hard at catching up on her sleeps and had to be physically dragged out of bed this morning, most disgruntled.