It's been a week parenthesized by festivals, one of which was quite unexpected. The weekend before last we went walking in North Oxfordshire, where, incidentally, we found this beautiful fallen oak, looking for all the world like the skeleton of a beached kraken.
Someone quite obviously goes there to eat, for tucked underneath were piles of crow and magpie feathers, a pheasant's wing, and a lamb's scapula. I'm hoping that someone was a fox. Whoever it was, the place felt spooky. We sat in the branches and Nomi couldn't resist a dangle.
Suddenly a text from Annie - come to the Rollright stones! So we did. It was only down the road. (They have to keep them fenced off, I'm told. Something to do with excessive amounts of telluric energy. Lord only knows what would happen if we actually touched them).
What's this? A festival! The Rollright Fayre. A small but perfectly formed gathering, with all the tell-tale signs of a good night had - zombie eyes and puckered lips. We weren't equipped for staying over, but the gatekeepers kindly let us in to have a wander and to taste our first chai of the season. How perfect. The Rollrights simply require a fayre.
And then it was off to Sunrise, possibly my favourite festival of all. None of your boutique-shmoutique, off-the-peg insta-fest here. No, Sunrise is cut from the cloth of hippiedom, pure and simple. Small enough not to need your psychic shields, large enough to go large, Sunrise has it all: a beautiful site with expansive views over the Eastern Mendips, rollicking festival folk music, plenty of dub and prog, a dollop of eco-agitation, good chai, a chance to reconnect with old friends and psychedelic adventurers, and, not least, some banging techno.
And - thank goodness - a nice cup of tea!
The main stage looked like one of Kubla Khan's pleasure domes. We just caught the tail end of what was clearly a mighty set by Zubzub.
I was there with my Shroom hat on, talking about the history of the magic mushroom and academic approaches to the matter of psychedelic experience. Thanks, as ever, to the Portal for the Immortal for having me.
Thanks to Runic John's aptly-named 'Miracle' potion, Saturday night down at the Eartheart Cafe was a blinder (no, I don't know what's in it - he won't tell me - but it does what it says on the tin).
We were dressed up for 'Steampunk night' but, frankly, I recommend a suit at a festival. I mean, sartorial standards have just slipped too far...
And yes, we were both rehatted thanks to the rather wonderful Vintage Relics stall (coming to a festival near you). As the, ahem, old bardic triad has it: three things a man should have: a hat, a pipe and a library. Well quite.