The Sark Folk Festival and Nesting!

At sixteen weeks, just like a light switch being switched, the sickness disappeared as quickly as it had arrived, and life returned to some semblance of normality again, whatever that is! Well for two weeks at least, because strangely, at eighteen weeks, that familiar nausea sensation returned, albeit not as all consuming as it had been previously, thankfully.

It coincided with us attending the Sark Folk Festival so I concluded that it was probably due to this. But sadly it has continued a little ever since.  Hormones. Or perhaps tiredness.  Because let’s face it, festival-ling is exhausting at the best of times, let alone when you’re pregnant and have a toddler in tow, and you’re cycling everywhere!

It was a strange weekend really. My parents were meant to accompany us for the first night, but they had to cancel at the last minute.  This was a real shame, although it did mean that we were kindly given their room at Stocks, one of the few hotels on Sark and a very lovely and indeed expensive one at that.  It was an absolute treat for us really, most definitely the highlight of the weekend (thank you Mum and Dad!).

Not only was it lovely to chill out at the hotel before the festival on the Friday, but it was really rather amazing to cycle back there with Elijah that early evening freezing cold and tired, and enjoy such un-expected festival luxury - a warm, clean and comfortable room, the opportunity to make endless cups of tea at the flick of a button (rather than having to boil water on the campsite!), take a shower and lie back on that huge bed, all the while knowing my poor friends were camping in a field instead (tee hee, sorry Vic!)

Waking the next morning was pretty amazing too; it’s blissfully peaceful at the hotel, not a sound in the air, well aside from our squeals as we attempted to make the most of the outdoor swimming pool, albeit the air temperature at 14 degrees at that stage! But we warmed up with a free breakfast and all in all I managed to squeeze in four showers while we were staying there, not just because I have an OCD shower thing but because I was at a festival and I could. Ha!

The weather was a little challenging over the weekend to say the least, the intense wind grew very waring and the air temperature was much cooler than you would expect at this time of year. Plus, the rain arrived, which I guess is part and parcel of festival-ling but an irritation nonetheless! Still we managed to go ahead with the pre-planned festival yoga classes and I’m very grateful to those who made the effort to attend.

The Saturday class was a particular highlight as I was joined by a number of yogis and yoginis on the bottom field, near to the hedge, which provided some relief from the incessant wind, and provided incredible views out to sea and of Guernsey in the distance. It doesn’t get much better than that, a yoga class with a view and a yoga class in the great outdoors too. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, spending time in nature is essential, in my humble opinion, for the happiness of our soul. It makes us feel alive. 

And practicing yoga in the elements like this, on uneven earth – the real earth with all its energy and earthiness – in the sunshine, with the wind blowing against our skin and the sound of the birds and the insects crawling on us, well it doesn’t get more special, more uplifting for the soul, than this. I certainly felt better for it, and it’s always lovely to share yoga outdoors like this.

The Sunday morning the weather was not so kind and I was amazed that so many braved the wet weather to join me for a class back on the earth, in the corner of the two main tents, with a lovely man playing his music and singing his songs on one of the stages and the sound guys setting up for ‘Big Sheep’ (I LOVE this band) on the other, so that voice projection was a bit of an issue. But we still managed a good forty minutes of yoga to stretch away the aches and pains from the camping and all the cycling and walking.  Nothing like yoga at a festival to make the spirit shine!

I’m not so sure that camping on the Saturday made the spirit shine though. Returning to our tent at La Valette campsite that Saturday lunchtime from Stock’s was a bit of a low point, what with the intense winds blowing across the field so that it was really rather unpleasant, and indeed cold, sitting outside! And I don’t know who I was kidding thinking that we could get Elijah to take his lunchtime nap in a tent. It was bright, hot and very noisy what with all the wind.  He looked at me, laughed and proceeded to jump around on the airbeds, what fun, Mummy and Daddy had brought a trampoline along camping with them!!

So we thought we’d get him to sleep out on the bikes, but our tractor-crazy son just laughed at us again as he pointed out all the tractors and the bumpy roads and all the tractor and bike tracks on the roads itself – this funny boy is also obsessed by tracks, utterly obsessed.  Sigh. We had a lovely cycle around the Island however, albeit the wind making it a bit of a mission and a little chilly at that so that it was actually quite a relief to return to our hot and bright tent, even with the now-hyper-child-who-was-missing-a-nap in tow!

Typically, he fell asleep on the way back to the festival that later afternoon, a massive ‘no. no’ in the world of napping, and he napped his way through the next hour or so while we sat in one of the tents, enjoying the relief of finally escaping the wind and hearing some music in the background - mind you not that the music was appreciated by my fellow festival-goers this year.  While Elijah found the music too loud the others concluded that folk music was just not their thing, which was a bit of a pity as I love it!!

So while our friends drank their way through the festival, all Elijah wanted to do was get outside and hang around the tractors parked up around the side of the field.  This was not what I had had in mind when I booked the tickets for the weekend, I had hoped for a lot more sitting around watching, and perhaps a little dancing to, music rather than standing around checking out the tractors in the freezing cold wind but one does what one does – I’m going on my own next year though!

We returned to the campsite that evening with a sense of resignation. After a night in Stock’s it was a little disappointing to say the least, although there was a positive because it was a lovely evening and we were on our own to enjoy it.  So while Elijah played with his toy tractor making tracks along, well the track, I took myself off to the bench on the edge of the cliff by the Lighthouse to enjoy the solitude and tranquillity of being all on my own and watching nature unfold before my very eyes, bliss.

All three of us were in bed before darkness had fallen, and I laugh when I reflect back on this now, because E and I were exhausted and desperate to go to sleep and just get on with it, the night in the tent that is, but Elijah was having none of it and was bouncing and jumping around having lots of fun on his ‘trampoline’ and I was desperately trying not to chuckle as E was trying to be stern with him but Elijah just ignored him and continued jumping and giggling.

Still all good things must come to an end and finally we settled Elijah down between us and there followed a rather long night for E and I, where neither of us felt like we got any sleep what with the noise of the festival revellers returning, the discomfort of the blow-up mattress (really not very comfortable at the best of times, let alone while pregnant!) and the sound of the wind and the rain, yes rain, outside the tent. Sigh.

It was with some relief to reach 6am and feel like we could get up and get on with the day – there’s nothing quite like waking in a tent to find that there is sheet rain and fog outside, and knowing that you need to take the tent down in it however, yuck!  Still there was a positive, the queue for the shower was short as a result of this so Elijah and I managed our sixth shower of the weekend and dressed in our waterproofs (well done E for making sure we had these with us!) we took down the tent – after a cup of tea boiled on the camp stove of course!

By 9.30am it was done, tent packed, rain easing and we were back at the festival site for the Sunday morning yoga class and a few hours of music before returning home.  It was a lovely Sunday actually, the festival takes on a more leisurely pace in my opinion and we very much enjoyed – even Elijah – listening to ‘The Big Sheep’.  Still, it was good to get back home and unpack from the weekend, and take a quick dip in the sea to clear the energy of a rather lumpy boat journey and then collapse – ah yes festival-going, camping and all that outdoor air certainly got the better of me!

Still, aside from the tiredness and the nausea, returning home from the Festival heralded a new beginning for me – nesting! It just happened really.  All of a sudden I had this intense desire to bake. Now don’t get me wrong, I do go through phases where I like to bake, but within one week I’d made my first ever cheesecake which was so well received at work that I never got a chance to give it a try any, a banana loaf, two batches of fairy cakes, a French chocolate cake thing which sadly looked nothing like the one my Mum makes, some disastrous healthy oatmeal cookies (what is it with healthy cookies, they never stick together!) and those wonderfully delicious energy balls – not that they are strictly baking, more so mixing!

I’ve also gotten right back into my cooking and my ‘Deliciously Ella’ cookbook is off the book shelf and back in the kitchen again. I know she’s a bit of a cliché and everyone went a little crazy for her last year but there are some yummy recipes in there.  I particularly like the lentil and butternut squash dhal and the brazil nut, avocado and basil pesto, yum, yum!  Cravings are now back to normal again, its hummus all the way and I rather like her recipe for this. My mixer doesn’t know what’s happening, for months it has been sat there doing nothing and now it’s used at least once a day.  It’s funny how pregnancy brings out these things in us.

Nesting may have taken hold of the kitchen but sadly not the rest of the cottage itself as we have some quite major building work going on.  Two of the front rooms have been dug up for damp proofing, which means we are living in one main room with stuff all over the place and the dust, oh my gosh, I had no idea dust could travel so far!  Arghhh! It’s certainly challenging my cleaning OCD, albeit easier to maintain one main room than a whole cottage, but nonetheless, I am reminded constantly to take a deep breath in and out and let it all go…

And that really was the message of my week last week really.  All the signs were pointing to the need to let go and go with the flow.  Helped a little by a healing from a cranial-sacral session, I found that there were times where there was nothing I could do but let go, chill out, make sandcastles on the beach (when the sun’s been shining), bake cakes, enjoy yoga nidra, sit in silence, enjoy nature and try and get some sleep (Elijah dependant).  Oh and the other message, loud and clear?  To put all summer camping trips on hold for the time being!