New things challenge week 2: music and new places

I am overwhelmed by contributions to my second challenge week! This is the first of two posts summarising all the new things that people did. Today I am concentrating on those that fell under my two suggested themes of ‘music’ and ‘new places’. If I can fit everything in, the second post will be about all the other super random and eclectic new things that happened!

The ‘music’ theme was inspired by the fact that I spent a large part of this week at Ely Folk Festival, doing many new things including stewarding – more about that in a minute. Over to everyone else…

Jeanette managed to combine both themes in one, while supporting her husband at a remembrance service for the battle of the Somme. She made her first visit to Ely cathedral and experienced a performance by a proper actual choir for the first time. She also saw the Desmond Dekker Band: The Aces and The Selector, live at The Big Weekend in Cambridge. I was very sad that this clashed with my festival stewarding as I love a bit of ska and 2-Tone!

Jo went to Yorkshire Sculpture Park and to a new village, Staithes.

Sarah W went to Hathersage FC, to watch not football but the Ninja Warrier event.

Claire A took a new route home in the car from Newcastle, and ate in a couple of new restaurants including one of the nicest meals she’d had in months, at the old Biscuit Factory in Newcastle (involving two puddings).FB_IMG_1468299296904

Rachel W went to the newly refurbished Post Office depot – to collect her Doctor of Education certificate! And she sang part of the Tallis 4-Part Mass right for the first time at choir.

Tabea went to – and swam in – Loch Tay in the Highlands with her family.

Terry (mum) practised a new tricky piano piece (Brahms Intermezzo) instead of just playing all the pieces she usually plays, and went to RSPB Titchwell, Norfolk with Neil (dad).

Caroline is in a choir at work and once a week teaches some of the members to read music. This week she did Steve Reich’s clapping music with them. She also went to a new exhibition at Downing College: Ai Weiwei’s Cubes and Trees. The trees are created from trunks, branches and roots from different types of dead trees and are held together by nuts and bolts. By chance I saw these being assembled but need to go back and see them properly.FB_IMG_1468299357069

Claire C visited the Fur and Feathers game, hunting and fishing shop in Ely to buy maggots for her husband’s fishing trip, and visited a new gym – first time in any gym in ten years. AND she went to a meeting in a new place – the staff room in her eldest’s school – to discuss the local neighbourhood plan with the school’s head, the head of the local college and someone from the council. Very grown-up.

Adam went to Poole’s Cavern in Buxton, on a whim.

Everyone (TerryAlison and Jeanette) bought the album and/or watched and loved the Glastonbury set of a band they hadn’t heard before – Christine and the Queens.

Sarah P watched and listened to the whole end credits of The Lego Movie and saw Batman’s Dark Song for the first time. She also Googled ‘different music’ and learnt that there are 1264 genres of music and listened to some interesting snippets of tracks from ‘glitch’ to Slovakian Rock.

Liz learnt the lyrics to a song she loves but has previously always sung along to with made-up lyrics (Massive Attack’s ‘Teardrop’). She then sung it through correctly twice in the car on the way to work.

Lauren ran in a new place – Saffron Walden – in a 5k league race.

Leona had lunch in the members rooms in Parliament Buildings Belfast, for her librarians’ summer lunch – it only opens to the public during recess; she also got a lift there in an electric car.

Me: to save space on my July list, I’m including my Ely Folk Festival stewarding new things experiences here. I’ve never stewarded anywhere before. I’ve been to this festival before but never on my own. I’ve spent one day on my own at a different festival but all I can remember about that is rushing around a lot and time dragging, seeing a lot more stuff but getting annoyed about having to carry everything everywhere.

Thursday: Went to my stewards’ briefing. Got my badge. Got free beer. Spoke to lots of lovely people. The stewards who could play and sing put on their own little performance for us. Talented bunch, including my former boss and his partner who it turns out both decided to steward this year, too. And I joined in a little singalong in the bar. Lovely evening.

Friday: Five hours on first proper shift. Checking toilets and bins but since the festival didn’t kick off until the evening and my shift finished at six, there wasn’t a lot of that to do. So I delivered a hosepipe, which I had to borrow a stanley knife to trim; hammered some pegs into the ground to secure some rubber matting over cables; helped trim some rope to tie back the big marquee flaps; helped cordon off a camping area; relayed a message; topped up the water in the stewards’ tent, and made a sand bucket. I also followed an expert round for a while, who taught me the value of a bit of banter with the punters, so I then spent much of the day smiling at everyone which is probably why some old drunk man later tried to get me to give him a kiss and go back to his tent with him. A new thing I could’ve done without! Walked ten miles and danced one mile, according to my Fitbit. Oh, and I used a radio! Didn’t quite get the hang of it.

Saturday: Was the backstage steward. Held a gate open for John McCusker which was about as claim-to-famey as things got all weekend! And told some band members where to park. Also joined in one of the singing workshops – there are lots of morning workshops at these things but I’ve never been brave enough before. It was OK but there was an assumption that we knew the songs already and I didn’t, so I didn’t get to sing that much, and we were only really joining in choruses. I had company today, though, which was a relief! 

Sunday: Emptied bins almost solidly for 2.5 hours. This also involved chucking bin bags over my shoulder into a big skip, and unlocking those big plastic bins. I quite enjoyed it – I felt much more useful and the time went faster. I trundled six or seven miles with my trolley and talked to a few festival-goers as I went round, which was fun and very out of character. Today I made a special effort to see some bands I hadn’t seen before: over the whole festival the new bands I saw were Josienne Clarke and Ben Walker, Tom Figgins, Chris and Kellie While (I’ve seen Chris several times but not with her daughter Kellie), Steamchicken, Granny’s Attic, Ange Hardy and Lukas Drinkwater, Rosie Hodgson and Rowan Piggott, Georgia Lewis and Friends, Rusty Shackle, Gigspanner, and a few new people on the Open Stage. Got more free beer.

Overall I think I would do it again. It’s a great way of meeting people and filling or structuring your time if you’re on your own, although I don’t like the feeling of not knowing what I’m doing and having to ask people questions all the time. But you get a free ticket!

Actually this is still quite long – probably should have written a separate post. Here are pictures of Rosie Hodgson (new) and Mawkin (not new).


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