London in summertime is great and all but it does feel good to get out of the city. We planned to go and visit Matt’s mother at her home on the Isle of Wight.
A characteristically stuttered start, Matt nearly missed the train, but soon we were sat down with a couple of cans of G&T (classy…) and some pasties with golden fields rushing past us. It’s a surprisingly short trip to Portsmouth and it feels like you’re in a completely different part of the world once you arrive.
The houseboat is beautiful, as you would expect when two artists built the thing themselves and then decorated it. It sits in a harbour, the sea facing end is a wall of glass doors. You sit on the balcony and let the sky, sea and wine take their effect.
It is such a relaxing place to be. Matt took me there back when we still lived in Manchester , it’s the perfect place to heal.
A couple of days after arriving we went out in the boat to Portsmouth for lunch, and then to watch the annual ’round the island’ race. Started in 1931, this is a 50 mile race around the island and people compete with varying degrees of seriousness. Over 1700 boats regularly attend from around the UK, Europe and parts of America. An impressive spectacle, it’s a lot of money and privilege to witness all in one sitting.
This little guy was there to wave us off…
Due to some massive oversight, I was allowed to drive our little boat. Feeling like James Bond, I took us into Portsmouth and managed to catch a lot of sun. Apparently even James Bond is not immune to a little sunburn.
There was a lot of walking to gorgeous places, everything smelt slightly sea stained.
We had breakfast in the sunshine and just generally chilled out, as well as working on plans for our next venue project.
Cannot wait to go back!
We have temporarily moved to Chorleywood whilst we are sorting out our next place to live, hopefully doing some building guardianship in London somewhere. Chorleywood is not exactly my first choice of place to live, but we are very lucky to have a place to live rent free while we sort our shit out! It’s also a nice change after living in the centre/south to be near so much green goodness.
Party in the Park
This year I was involved with the arranging of the local Party in the Park festival in New Cross’ Fordham Park. The experience was very enjoyable and I met lots of interesting people. I also learnt a lot as it was the first time I was involved at the planning stage of a festival of that size. One of the things I particularly liked about it was meeting so many people from local businesses. When I was in Manchester my job was so demanding I never really got to get outside of that particular bubble. Although New Cross does have a somewhat deserved bad reputation there is a real sense of community, of people being proud of where they are from and looking to help each other out and support each other.
The meetings were held at New Cross Learning, which if you are based in New Cross I do recommend you check out. They are a volunteer run library and provide all sorts of useful resources for local people. They also had very nice biscuits.
After a lot of emails, spreadsheets, cups of tea, stressing out, lists and discussions it somehow got to a few days before the event and set up began.
I was working on the day of the festival but managed to get out early and have a wander round. The bands were great, I really enjoyed Rhiannon and the Nightmare’s performance. There was a real mix of people as you can see from the pictures.
The event has its origins in the Deptford Free Music Festival, which started in 1989 and grew into a massive open air party. A lot of the people who help arrange its modern incarnation have memories of this and so it was quite nostalgic. With south-east London being an absolute hotbed of musical activity, it makes sense to have a free festival that is celebrating the local music scene.
There was a deliberate effort to make this event more family friendly and there were traditional games, storytelling and face painting.
The Bird’s Nest made their presence known with their own stage, as well as cooking up some of their delicious burgers.