Monday, 10 August 2009


Sunday’s for me are usually a quiet affair. Sunday is a day for good food and plenty of rest, ready for the week ahead. Yesterday was different. I spent the day helping with the set-up of the Red, White & Blue.

It was a beautiful, sunny summer’s day and I took the mile walk up to the site at a leisurely pace. I couldn’t help but notice how many people had taken the effort to hang the Union Flag. If you were to believe what they say in the papers you would think the people of Denby and Codnor didn’t want the BNP anywhere near, but the flags tell a different story.

As I neared the entrance a security guard greeted me. He got on his walkie-talkie, one of the organisers came to greet me and took me up to the fields. There had been a set-back because of the weather and there was such a lot to do in such a short time. The festival was only 5 days away and only one marquee had been erected so far. I’d expect the area to be waterlogged because of all the rain but it was dry; perfect for camping.

It wasn’t just local people helping out. People had come from all over the country. They were from Liverpool, Blackpool, London, the South coast, East coast; a good mixture of friendly, happy, hard-working people.

I set to work, getting out the marquees from storage, with a lovely bunch of guys. They were so heavy, it took four people to pick up just one and I knew I’d be suffering this morning. Looking at the pegs made me feel I was in ‘The Borrowers’. We loaded them, a couple at a time, on to a trailer attached to a quad bike and they were delivered to the appropriate spot for erection later. Everyone worked well together and the job was swiftly done.

Around lunchtime someone came to tell us lunch had been provided. A marquee had been erected to provide us with free food and drink and freshly made soup and sandwiches was on offer. Tea, coffee and soft drinks filled a separate table. We sat around tables soaking up the sun eating, drinking and laughing.

After lunch, Lewis and I went on to the camping field to lay out the camping and road areas. The area was to be sectioned into four separate areas by metal stakes and rope. This should have been done a few days earlier but rain had put a stop to that. We worked to a plan that allowed enough space for the huge lorries that would delivering later in the week and we had to work quickly; campers were already turning up for the event. In fact we had to ask one camper to move his tent because he was outside the designated camping area. He took it well bless him, despite the searing heat.

It isn’t easy swinging a sledgehammer in that heat. With me being female and Lewis a small lad we struggled with it. At times we were in fits of laughter because we just couldn’t manage it. We worked out a plan that I would hold the stake while Lewis hit it. Not a good idea. He missed, took the skin off the side of his hand and I was worried he may take my head off, so we changed roles. By the time we came home one of the four camping areas had been completed and six marquees erected.

By this time we were shattered and ravenous again. We nipped to McDonalds for a Big Mac, brought it home and sat and ate it on the patio. I’m not a fan of fast food joints but yesterday it tasted wonderful and to be honest I could have eaten two. It was only then that I noticed I had sunburn on my shoulders, face and chest. It’s not sore but I put some cream on that turns sunburn brown. It’s fantastic stuff.

Lewis and I spent the next hour or so drinking San Miguel and discussing our plans for the Amber Valley stall before he went off home and I went upstairs for a good nights sleep.

I awoke this morning feeling extremely tired; my knees, arms and back ache like hell, but it was worth it and I’ll be doing it all over again.

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