On Saturday evening I’m stepping through guy ropes, walking towards the car with the open boot, wading through children, ears full of shrill explosions. I can smell fried potato. Fry smells and kerfuffles in a field reminds me of festivals. I very much like festivals, but this aces every awesome weekend I’ve ever spent in a field.
While I’m persuading the hungry throng to reform as an orderly queue; roll my eyes, tell my fellow team leader, ‘This is like working for the UN.’
This flippancy hits some giggle points but, in the other hand, holds a confident pinch of truth. Between us here; the bold group leaders, the tireless kitchen crew, the patient site staff, the jolly trio that set up the archery contest; we have something to bring to the turbulent path from childhood to adult life.
Let’s pick on the small kid for an example. Cried on Friday, afraid of being left parentless in a tent. Tent and team mates express sympathy. His team leaders tell him this is a normal reaction and he will feel better soon. We predict, in fact, that by Sunday he will be very proud of himself when he tells his parents how he has risen to this challenge. He agrees to give it a try. We hold him to this agreement even when he vomits a small lake at the sight of the climbing wall. It might sound mean, of course, but Sunday comes and the child in the example fulfils the glory of the prediction.
Happy as I am to report my fireside story debut as a success, the largest percentage of my pride is in the overall effect of the weekend.
On Sunday evening I’m driving home smiling. Put the radio on to keep me lively for the drive. It hunts for a signal. I remember that my aerial is in the boot, sing to myself instead.
As my car hits the peak of the Okehampton hill, a shot of choral gloriousness jumps me out of my seat- I had forgotten the radio was still on.
As my car backs clumsily into the dark driveway, Mr is waiting. There is a bottle of elderflower champagne. Between tales of fires and food queues, Mr does manage to tell me that there is a thoughtful storage shelf in the attic now.