If Carlsberg did weekends……..then it wouldn’t be this one!! Just joking, we had a great weekend aside from the weather. On Friday I decided to go blackberry picking with Charlie, Jorgie, my Mum and the Dog. There’s loads of blackberry bushes near my mum’s house and I thought it would be fun for Charlie.

I felt like a role model mother as we picked blackberries in the sun. Charlie was getting exercise, picking healthy food and enjoying himself. However, after stopping to pull his pants down twice in the space of 10 minutes so he could have a wee and telling him 27 times to only pick the BLACK berries not the red or green ones as they weren’t ripe and then him still filling the tub with them, the euphoric feeling of winning at parenting started to fade. After collecting nearly, a full tub I put the tub on the floor, so we could reach for the higher berries and then the dog piped up so when I turned around she had her nose full on in the tub shoving as many berries in her fat gob as she could, so we practically had to start from the beginning and fill the tub up all over again.

We were taking Charlie to a festival at weekend so after blackberry picking I left Jorgie and Tia at my Mums, so I could drive home and get Kyle to set off to the festival. I was upset and a bit anxious at leaving Jorgie as it was the first time I’d left her but taking her to a festival would be a nightmare with sterilising bottles, getting her to sleep and constantly changing her and I thought that Charlie would require full on attention from two parents at a festival (I was right!). She turned 3 months old on Friday, so another milestone reached. She’s growing up so fast!

We were meeting my best friend Jane, her husband Dave and little boy Finn on the way to the festival and their friends Jim, Ella and baby Freddie. I was feeling pretty smug when we set off on time considering the amount of stuff we were bringing. We had packed everything but the kitchen sink (picture attached as evidence), but we realised 15 minutes into the journey that actually we hadn’t packed everything at all and had to turn around and go all the way back home to pick up Charlie’s backpack and favourite toy George, who he won’t sleep without.

Half an hour lost but back on the road we met Jane and Dave. Everything went pretty smoothly arriving at the festival with the exception of the usual rigmarole of carting all the stuff for miles to the campsite, over loaded like cart horses and dripping with sweat in the sun only this time with little people moaning that “they need a drink” and “I want to get out of the pram” or “I want to carry the tent” or “I need a wee”.

Setting the tent up was also fun with Charlie adamant that he was going to help by trying to hammer in the poles with a rubber hammer, stealing the tent pegs every 5 minutes or just jumping on top of the tent. Running around the field was also a favourite of his when you really do need to have eyes in the back of your head. After a few minutes he was crying after face planting a pile of nettles, so the left side of his face was covered in red blotches that didn’t fade until 2 hours later.

Charlie was shattered after having a run around during Manic Street Preachers and fell asleep just before the Libertines. Finn however, had other ideas and it was our turn to let Jane and Dave provide the entertainment as we watched them aimlessly chase Finn around for the entire duration of the Libertines set earning themselves a well-deserved drink at the end just after the set had finished.

The weather hadn’t been too bad on Friday, but the rain and wind started during the early hours of Saturday morning and pretty much didn’t stop for the rest of the weekend. I was freezing and woke up to a damp sleeping bag where water had seeped in from the side of the tent.

One of the big differences of doing a festival with kids as opposed to on your own is the time you expect to get up. Ordinarily at a festival I would get up between 10am and 11am or if you are really lucky 12pm. Try 6.30am, which is the time Kyle and I got up with Charlie on the Saturday morning!!

After having breakfast and attending a 9am story time session with Charlie and Finn where every other child in the tent was quietly listening to the story whilst our children decided to happily run around laughing, kicking and throwing straw at people, we quickly knocked that on the head and went back to the tent to get ready to go into the festival.

Charlie was playing football with the lads (or trying, I don’t think picking it up and running away with it counts) and I was putting my make up on when Kyle came back to the tent and said, “is Charlie with you?”. I replied no which is when we realised he wasn’t with either of us and actually we didn’t know where he was.  Panic ensued as we ran around the field shouting his name before a man shouted “Are you looking for your little boy? He’s just over there” and pointed to the other side of the field. He had left Kyle to come back to the tent and show me a sticker but as all the tents look the same he had run straight past it and ended up with two nice women who had looked after him.

He was crying and saying, “mummy I’ve pooed my pants” and had quite literally shit himself. Bless him. So, the epic parenting fail of the year so far goes to me and Kyle.

The rest of the day consisted of torrential rain and wind, spending time in the toddler tent, riding the helter skelter and re-mortgaging our house to buy curry and rice for the 3 of us. The weather finally settled around 7pm so we watched the Kaiser Chiefs while Charlie and Finn had a competition of who could run the fastest and furthest into the festival crowd whilst bumping into people and narrowly avoiding knocking over people’s drinks.

After Charlie had tired himself out he sat on Kyle’s knee and kept repeatedly saying “Daddy why do you have carrots? What are you doing with them?” Kyle was getting really agitated as he didn’t know what he was on about until he eventually got up off the floor to realise he’d been sat on a pile of scabby carrots that someone had evidently picked out of a stir-fry.

After the kids had gone to sleep we all managed to watch Catfish and the Bottlemen. We stood there absolutely freezing, teeth chattering, huddled together as we had all brought inappropriate clothing due to the summer heatwave and did not expect the only bad weekend of weather of the whole summer to be the weekend we had picked to go to a festival. And yes, we had paid a couple of hundred quid for this!

I’m glad I hadn’t fully listened to Kyle who had tried to tell me not to bring a sleeping bag or coat as it was unnecessary baggage that wasn’t needed as we would be far too hot. Hence my 4 playsuits, shorts, 3 vest tops and thin rain mac when it felt like the middle of winter (#winteriscoming). I should have known better having done around 3 festivals a year for the last ten years, yet I chose to listen to him.

The wind and rain completely battered the tent that night, snapped a tent pole and left a hole dripping water in so we admitted defeat early Sunday morning and packed up to go back to the car. The walk back to the car was fun pushing Charlie and all the stuff, uphill in the rain with the odd idiot shouting the obligatory ‘Alan’ phrase. We were sat in Wetherspoons having breakfast by 10.30am looking like homeless farmers who had been living in the wild for too long. We didn’t smell too great either.

Arriving home Sunday lunchtime to see Jorgie and Tia and have a well deserved hot shower we reflected on the weekend and decided that actually it had been really funny, and we had enjoyed it in a weird kind of way so after having a takeaway curry we are already looking at the festival we would like to take Charlie to next. Charlie’s first festival………done!


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