Greenbelt’s been and gone and here are some reflections on the past few wonderful days.
Here are the things that were brilliant: Boughton House grounds are amazing. A truly beautiful place. Tangerine Fields, pre-erected tent – great idea. Warm sleeping arrangements – no waking in the night being cold, which was a major achievement. Good bacon sandwiches for breakfast and a fine tent buddy in my friend Claire. Time chatting in the Jesus Arms – different, more spread out time than in previous years, but still fun. Being made to do silly things by Hope & Social, and either singing, laughing or dancing my way through their performance. The wonderful randomness of the Sunday morning communion and being with friends (and like a good server, I supplied water…) Being totally unprepared for the way poetry would sneak up on me and stir my emotions. Making paper chains and thinking about digital worship. Laughing our way through the panel session I had put together – the hour felt like 10min and the audience were great. Seeing old friends – bumping into nearly everyone I wanted to see, at some point. Enjoying most of the talks I went to, including the usual random ‘this might be interesting’ choice (Bob Holman on Woodbine Willie was spellbinding). Guerilla Beer & Hymns was so much fun. Pie, falafel, halloumi, cake, tea, hot chocolate, duck wraps for Sunday lunch.The days went so fast there was so much I didn’t have time to do.
I thought that I would find it hard not being able to keep in touch with people via Twitter. The irony is that at one point in the year when many Twitter friends are in one physical place, there was little virtual communication. I didn’t find it difficult. I think it made for a calmer weekend – not worrying about who was where or who I was to meet next.
So things were different. I spent time in the campsite, which I haven’t previously done. Different, not bad; but change is tricky and there were always going to be bits that didn’t quite work as well as could be hoped.
Here are the things that weren’t brilliant: For the first time ever I drove myself to Greenbelt – one last hurrah for my car – and it was mostly fine, except for worrying about overheating whilst in a long queue waiting to get onto site. Being sent a very very long way round from the carpark to the place my tent was Not Good. A hairy moment getting out of the carpark, uphill, muddy path on my way home. Not liking where the Jesus Arms was sited (too loud for my old ears). I missed friends who weren’t there. There are lots of things to be learned from this year, for both the able-bodied and for those less mobile for whom access was difficult. And a fair few people who perhaps need to read the Essential Information first.
I wasn’t the only person thinking about refugees as we carried our stuff from car park to tent. How lucky we are to come home to a dry place, with money in the bank and food in the cupboard. Even if this flat is only home for another two weeks, it’s still home, and I am grateful for it, as I am grateful for the three days that are a highlight of 2014.