Something dawned on me at Glastonbury Festival on the Thursday night last year and this is the story behind it: Rain and I were sitting in a field on our little fold-up seats, surrounded by all sorts of weird and wonderful vehicle creations waiting for Johnny Depp to appear (in actual real life, right in front of us) to introduce The Libertine, soon to be shown on the massive screen in front of the ever-growing crowd. All of a sudden, a woman amongst the group of friends sitting near us jumped up, saying something along the lines of, ‘I think someone’s spilt their drink here – I’ve got a wet bum.’…..
Her friends must have been wearing thicker jeans or something because they felt around her spot on the ground to see if they could concur about the spilt drink theory. I think someone eventually realised they too had a wet bum. And I realised that for the first time in their lives, these people, in their mid to late twenties were discovering that if you sit on the grass at night, you are going to get a wet bum. It’s as simple as that!
And I don’t know if you remember, but those first couple of days of Glastonbury Festival were scorching hot. And then for some (probably good) reason that I’m not going to pretend to understand (I wonder if I learned about this in Science?), the earth decides to emit a load of moisture; catching out unsuspecting city-dwellers sitting in a field.
1. As children, I think we all assume that everyone else in the world lives in a very similar circumstance to your own and it often comes as a series of surprises as we grow up and learn that isn’t the case. I knew that most people lived in houses with stairs (we were very unusual to live in a bungalow), but if I’d ever gone round to play at someone else’s home and found they lived in a flat without a garden, I would be very surprised indeed. It just didn’t happen in Tonbridge! (side note: it does now, thanks to all the commuter apartments springing up everywhere.)
So I was lucky enough to live with a garden throughout my life. Many an hour was spent with my imagination and maybe a couple of Sindy or Flower Fairy dolls. And I knew that if I was sitting out there for too long, eventually I would get a wet bum.
2. My Mum has always volunteered with the Girl Guiding Association, and I was lucky enough to tag along at the amazing Guide camps she organised. She also arranged the best wide games ever, and even though I was too young to be an official Guide then, I would sometimes be allowed to join in parts of it. I discovered that sitting around the camp fire whilst singing familiar songs; learning new ones, and avoiding the fire-smoke; if I wasn’t sitting on a ground sheet or a log, I would get a wet bum.
3. Even if those childhood experiences were forgotten about, since the age of fifteen, I’ve been lucky enough to attend a major British music festival most years. At the end of the day, in that break on the main stage before the headliner act comes on, there’s nothing better than sitting on the grass, resting your weary feet and chatting to friends. However, I know that if I’m not sitting on a carrier bag or little camping mat, then when I stand up to cheer the first song; I am going to have a wet bum!
So when I saw that these people had no idea that this was a perfectly normal thing to happen; I realised how grateful I am to have grown up with these experiences to have learnt this along the way. So folks, if you’re going to a festival (oh how I’m missing Glastonbury this year), or generally enjoying the great outdoors; even if it’s been a lovely hot day; be prepared and take something to sit on!
PS. I hope you don’t mind me using this post as an excuse to look through all the lovely photos I’ve taken of my kids at Glastonbury festival over the years!