Aha, the great British Summer. You really never know what you’re going to get and it makes planning weekends so darn difficult. Us Brits really do love to talk about the weather; as I write this post I started the day in shorts and a t-shirt and I’m about to go and fetch a snuggly jumper whilst contemplating switching the heating on. UK Summertime, and our love hate relationship with the rain, reminds me of a great song by British band “Madness” called Sun & Rain.
I feel the rain falling on my face
I can say there is no better place
Than standing up in the falling down
In so much rain I could almost drown.
This past weekend I was invited to the Standon Calling Festival in Hertfordshire. I hadn’t heard of this festival before and wasn’t really sure what to expect but I saw the festival was dog and child-friendly so I figured it was going to be a pretty fun crowd regardless. My two Westies came along for the ride and very much enjoyed the attention they received all day, from tiny children stroking them every 10 metres to grown men going gooey over my smallest pup, Oscar. It was a really friendly vibe.
What I love about the Summer in England it’s that I always get the feeling most Brits are ready for anything. We’re so used to the weather turning on a dime that our Summer mindset has to be adaptable and organised, something I’ve realised after this weekend I need to get better at. Summer to me represents long evenings where the sun doesn’t go down until 9pm and it still stays relatively warm, long walks along the seafront when it’s cool enough for little paws to walk on the pavement and elongated dinners with good friends coupled with some good summery cider and cheese boards.
I’ll admit, I’ve not been to a festival in a very long time. So long that I didn’t realise the cloth wristbands (which most of us kept on our arms all Summer as a kind of humblebrag of how good our Summers have been) now have NFC technology in them and none of the stalls take cash anymore. Instead, you have to use a “top-up” booth and then load money onto your wristband. That was weird when I got to experience the beautifully British social awkwardness of getting to the burger van and handing them a £10 note only to be told they “don’t accept cash”. I sloped off like I had committed a crime and did the wonderfully British thing of being too proud to ask what to do next, so I just stood and watched as each person lifted their wrist to the burger window to tap on an NFC reader. I had my “aha” moment and off I trotted to find a booth.
This does make the queues for drinks go down very quickly though, normally the beer tent queues are outrageous but this was a breeze. NFC FTW.
So, as you can see from the giant bag I’m having to carry on my back, I’m not terribly good at being organised for all eventualities, especially when traveling with two dogs in tow. My bag that day was carrying all my camera equipment, a GoPro with separate holder, two dog bowls, a water canister, dog food, dog treats, purse, flip flops, an extra jumper and some spare camera batteries. I’d love to say that this is rare for me, but even when I travel overseas I horribly over estimate how much stuff I’m going to need and end up resembling a pack-mule more than a woman who has herself together. I’ve realised there are some tools missing from my Great British Summertime toolkit that will need to be purchased because as lovely as Free People heels look with dungarees, they are not suitable footwear for muddy festival grass.
The British welly of choice seems to be good old fashioned Hunter wellies in countryside green (currently on sale at Office for £45 from £85). I also love the gorgeous styles from Joules in the Chelsea boot style.
My Mum was a big fan of the Barbour jacket and I can see why. The wax jacket has evaded my wardrobe for years, actually, any kind of waterproof jacket has evaded my wardrobe; after this weekend I’ve realised I need to invest if I want to go out anywhere this Summer. I love this one from Soho Home.
I love all the baskets from Eaton Hampers. They’re really reasonable and the items inside aren’t plastic. You can’t beat loading up your basket with some typical British goodies like pork pies, mini sausages, a cheese board (I love a good sharp cheddar in the Summer) and some crisp summery cider (my favourite is The Truffler from Orchard Pig).
Something to Capture It All With
I’m a huge fan of the GoPro Hero 5 now. It’s tiny, the video quality is superb and it packs perfectly amongst all the other stuff I’m carrying around. I also use an Olympus EPL-8 with a 45mm lens when I’m out and about with limited space, all the photos you see on the blog are taken with this camera; when I vlog I simply switch out to the 17mm lens.
Are you heading off to any festivals this year? What can’t you live without when you’re away from home facing the elements? I’d love to hear in the comments below.