30 August 2010

Reading between the lines

Kay has spent the last 5 days at the Reading Festival. Having got all her horrible exams and revision out of the way, she is at last able to let her hair down. I was more than happy to see her off with her friends at the crack of dawn on Thursday (5am) to get to Reading in time to get a good spot for the tent. I was only a tad worried - the day before, it had been raining cats and dogs, in fact, no, it had been sloshing lions and whatever the bigger version of dogs are. All day Wednesday the South of England had seen a monsoon. I could almost believe that a whole year's rainfall had come down in one day. So by Thursday morning, any normal grass was looking a bit waterlogged. Add to that 87,000 pairs of feet trekking across it with rucksacks and wellies and you had a swamp. Did anyone see those pictures of it on the national news? If not, here they are again.... Lots and lots of squelchy mud. But still, I didn't worry. After all, Kay and her friends are sensible.

I had told her not to bother ringing me frequently but to enjoy herself. Just the one call a day perhaps to let me know she was alive, which she dutifuly did on Thursday and Friday. I felt pleased she was having a good time. However, Saturday's late-night call alarmed me a lot. Earlier on, she and her friends had bagged a spot at the front centre stage at the main arena to watch some of the big groups including the Maccabes, the Cribs and the Libertines . But 87,000 teenagers and youngsters were all trying to do the same, pushin' shovin' and swayin' to the music. After some six hours in the same spot, Kay knew the crowd was growing, the pushing increasing and she was becoming trapped against the front metal barrier. There was no room to put a pin. She tried to fight the force by pushing back, but her arms had fallen below the level of the barrier and there was literally no room to lift them and place them on the barrier to push hard, such was the crush. She was stooped forward, arms down,with her ribs being crushed more and more against the metal bar. She said she could feel her last breath being squeezed out of her. It was then that she alerted a security guard to lift her over the barrier to safety. He was able to lift her free, she put her arms round his neck and was whisked into the air over the barrier, leaving the person behind her to take her place in the crush. In fact, she was not the first to be lifted over and her friends eventually followed her some 40 minutes later,when they too felt the life being squeezed out of them. Kay reasssured me she was fine, although definitely bruised. I did not sleep easy that night.

She has returned this morning safe, although definitely not sound. She still has big bruises on her ribcage to prove it and she was sick twice on the return journey. She said that the toilet facilities were pretty crude,stank to high heaven and there was nowhere to wash hands. What with all the mud sloshing about, hygiene was very difficult to maintain, even with the use of bacterial hand gel which the girls had been sensible enough to pack. Whether she has a gastric virus or has picked up food poisoning is up for debate, but from the symptoms and the probability, our money is on the virus! When kids are small, you worry they are going to fall over and hurt their knee. When they are bigger, you don't stop worrying. But apparently a great time was had by all.


Anonymous said...

Sounds like Kay (despite the rib crushing) had a great time. Sorry to hear she's picked up a bug. It's probably a combination of little sleep, alcohol and mud. Hope she's feeling better soon!

Eliza said...

I'm glad she could finally let her hair down, I hep she enjoyed herself despite the scary crush. Hope she gets over the virus soon. x

Retiredandcrazy said...

When they are young you think that once they are "grown up" your job if finished, but it's only just begun! I've worried more about them and their children and their grandchildren now than I ever did when they were little. I'm glad she had a good time. apart from the trauma.

DogLover said...

I'm mystified why anyone would want to go to such an event, but then I was Kay's age in 1950!

With luck, perhaps the experience has put her off going again?

Working Mum said...

People keep telling me that the worries get worse as they get older! And I already worry for England!

Thank goodness there were security guards to help her and that she and her friends were okay (apart from the virus). I wonder if she'll go to a festival again?

Nota Bene said...

Ah yes, the Festival experience...the crushing sounds horrible - I remember when The Boy and I went to V Festival a couple of years ago, we were at the front for The Stereophonics, it started getting very tight, so before it got dangerous, we pushed ourselves sideways and out...very frightening. If they're just bruises, hopefully she'll be fine. I also remember toilets the like of which I'd not seen before or since...and that was just on day 1...bet she wants to go back next year...!

Furtheron said...

the festival experience... I went last year with my son to Sonisphere - OMG! Never camping again! I went again this year but only on a day ticket to see Iron Maiden. We did a day trip to Reading 5 years ago for same headliners - but I insisted on that one we stay in a nearby hotel.

Rules for my engagement - never closer than level with the front of house mixing desks... you get the best sound there anyway so that you don't get crushed or "twated" in a mosh pit.

The toilets are forever a disgrace - although this year at Sonisphere they did at least have good handwashing facilities.

I'm sure she'll soon be as right at rain

Flowerpot said...

I'm sorry about her rib crushing but I hope the virus is over soon. I bet she had a grand time apart from that, but not surprised you didn't sleep well.

Polly said...

Glad to hear that Kay's back safe and sound, and had a good time, in spite of everything. Letting them go feels like one of the hardest things to do.

Strawberry Jam Anne said...

My son and daughter are 42 and 41 respectively, with children of their own and I still worry about them. Glad that Kay was able to get to the Festival and have a great time in spite of the crush, which must have been very scary for her. Pity about the weather though. Locally, we have Glastonbury Festival and this year, the 40th anniversary, the weather was superb.

Achelois said...

Years ago I spent a thoroughly happy time at a muddy Glastonbury. Thankfully the next time it was sunny!

I worry more about mine now aged 20 and 18 than I did when they were little also.

I hope this doesn't sound silly but I hope the rib crushing and the vomiting aren't related.

Hopefully its not either rib or bug related. Sheer tiredness, loud music and a bit of dehydration is enough to make anyone vomit.

Futheron has very wise words and Kay will have learned this now for future reference, never ever right at the front. Its a scary scary experience.

At least she is at home safe and sound now and I bet now she has let her hair down and has returned to home comforts - there is nothing like them. She so deserved to kick off her shoes and dance.

Ellen said...

Glad that Kay had a good time, in spite of the rib-crushing crowd. Hope that she is feeling rested and returned to her normal good health. As other commenters have mentioned, the worrying gets no less as our teenagers get older. (My son will be 18 next week).

Anonymous said...

Hi Addy,

I hope Kay's ribs are better now and the virus has passed. There are some things about being young I don't miss and that is one of them. Must have been difficult for you to hear what happened- can't imagine as you said that you ever stop worrying about kids.

All the best