Sunday, 10 July 2011

The Big Feastival

So. The Big Feastival. The most amazing of weekends. Three days in the WI Tent with my Shoreditch Sister girls on the grass of Clapham Common, mostly blue skies, hot sunshine, some cloud, but thankfully no rain. Jam sales, lots, all the gooseberry and elderflower jam gone by the end of the second day. Pina colada filled pineapples, party umbrellas, coloured straws. SISTERHOOD badges, worn proudly. Crocheted blankets and union-jack cushions, draped over an iron bedstead, a hammock with a stripey toweling blanket. Fellow tent buddies: amazing vintage style hair and make-up done for us by Hair and Make-up Dept, subversive cross-stitch from Urban Cross Stitch, brownies from The Beehive Bakery, clothing and jewellery from Lucy in Disguise, nails from WAH nails, want-to-buy-it-all thrift from Leona Thriftola. Talks from Tara Starlet, Tracy Edwards, Gizzi Erskine, Willie Harcourt-Cooze, Matt Carroll, a cocktail workshop from the guys at Milk & Honey, a quilt making session with our founding member and past president, Jazz Domino Holly who has a craft related book coming out soon. Musical bingo and Lindy hop sessions. Dinners and lunches from pop-up restaurants, eaten off sustainable source palm leaf plates. Hula-hooping demos from Marawa the Amazing, who really is AMAZING, and morris dancing from The Belles of London City. Filming sessions with Jamie Oliver (not me, alas, he was cooking sticky ribs so no vegetarians needed). Making friends with members other London Women's Institute Groups, the Borough Belles, East End WI, Brixton WI, Clapham WI. The cake competition, cakes to look like other foods, fish and chips made from marzipan, cake iced to look like cheese, the winning entry, deservedly so, a three tier Victoria sponge covered with an icing 'table cloth', laden with a lemon and kiwi 'quiche', chocolate 'cocktail sausages', gingernut 'scotch eggs'. Crafting with visitors in the craft area, knitting, crochet, collage. Meeting people from all over London (some familiar faces), all over the country, courting potential new members, answering questions about the WI. Music from the main stage reaching us throughout the day. Smoke from barbecues, the tantalizing smell of sausages (yes, even for a life-long vegetarian). Sugar dusted doughnuts, bright sunflowers in jugs. Bunting and fabric scraps.

At the end of the three days, exhausted, but 100% keen to do it all again next year.

Some pictures by M, some by me, I lose track of which...

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Weekend, misc.

Okay puppies, so I've been awol again. But last weekend was Big Feastival, three days of fun and madness and hardly any sleep. Lynne has been far more organised than I and got a post up already here, mine will be a couple more days at least, but in the meantime, here is the week/weekend before last, also a scorcher.

There was cricket at the Oval, cider and smooth grass, but no cricket whites. Dinner at Riding House Cafe with my parents, gin, elderflower and cucumber cocktails, figs and goats' curd. Brunch at a friends then, later, juice and slabs of cake at Jak's in Knightsbridge, air hot and sticky, crates of oranges glimpsed through windows. An evening spent in North London, dinner at some friends', we drank our own version of a gin, elderflower and cucumber cocktail, ate Nigel Slater's peach and blueberry cobbler for dessert as the sky darkened and swallows (or swifts?) dipped in and out of the gables of the house opposite. Watched Coldplay perform at Glastonbury on the BBC, reminded me of being a teenager, owning their albums. Sunday we hit Southbank, drank iced drinks from Dishoom pop-up, sat on the rooftop garden of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, melted and melted, enviously watched the children screeching and running in the fountains, then escaped to the air conditioned Hayward Gallery with J and H to see the Tracey Emin. I actually really liked most of it, didn't think I would, but I did. The quilts especially.

Sunday night M and I took ourselves up to Primrose Hill with a couple of takeaway pizzas from Marine Ices, a few bottles of beer and a picnic rug. Sat and talked as the sun went down, to the background chatter of other visitors to the hill, and the chords of a nearby guitar.