Catalyst Festival 2016 – Day 1

CatalystI started this post when we we’re away. It was too gloomy in our tent to crochet, read or journal so I used my phone to get some thoughts down. We’ve back a month not and I’ve finally finished it! 

The weather app on my phone tells me it’s 13C outside. Well oh my word you’re kidding me. I am currently in my sleeping bag with thick winter socks on, my pyjamas, a t-shirt, a hoodie and Chris’s sleeping bag unzipped over the top of me and still feel chilly lol.

So I figured while I’m on Jaxon-duty back at our tent I’d get writing. I’ve been journaling and crocheting during the day while Jaxon plays so decided I would get a blog post written and do some reading while I try to warm up a bit. (Did you know when shivering you burn around 100 calories in 25 minutes? Think I need to lose some layers and sit here shivering for a bit – too much good food going on right now!)

Day One – Saturday

Having looked up how quick Waze thought we’d get to Stoneleigh we knew we needed to leave around 8/8:30 to get to the site when the gates opened at 10. Chris and I spent Friday evening packing the bags etc and then packing the car. At one point I was sat on the kitchen floor surrounded by Jaxon’s clothes making sure he had enough outfits and enough combinations of layers to keep him warm if needed. What I didn’t exactly plan for was the glorious sunshine we were blessed with. Somehow I had packed a single pair of shorts and one of his pyjama tops was lightweight enough that he could wear that.

Anyway back to the beginning. So we popped into Mum’s on the way to collect the travel cot for Jaxon. Although he could probably cope with a proper air mattress now or some kind of mat, having the travel cot gave him a bit of restriction which helped us to make sure he was warm enough.

We headed off and Jaxon watched Thomas for a bit of the journey. My iPad Mini case is dying a death so Jaxon kept taking the iPad out of the case so in the end I had to call time and he had to watch the scenery instead. We stopped at Watford Gap Services to charge up Zoe (Our Electric Vehicle). We did have enough charge to get to the site but the nearest charging point from Chris’s research was about 10 miles away so we needed to make sure we had enough of a cushion to get ourselves to the charging point. While at the service station we took a walk over the bridge that links the two sides of the services.

Jaxon absolutely loved looking through the fence at the cars and lorries as they went under the bridge. We then got on the way and did the rest of the journey. From Watford Gap it’s about half an hour so was a fairly quick second leg.

We arrived on site and were given sort of vague directions to where Red 1 was. We knew we were looking for a marquee that was our church’s social/food tent but it seems like every church has their own variation of it. We headed towards one marquee but it wasn’t ours so we were about to turn round and go back to the steward who directed us when I suggested going down one road that was 90 degrees to where we were. It turned out to be a good idea as we spotted one of the guys from our Community Group followed by another member of our group so then we knew we were definitely in the right place. We tracked down our “Site Co-Ordinator” and she was able to direct us to where we could put our tent. We were actually fairly early so could choose where we were going. We decided to go close enough to the marquee that it wasn’t too far to dash back for bits if needed but also far enough away that in theory Jaxon wouldn’t be disturbed by any noise coming from the social tent.

Once we got our tent up and wriggled it about to make sure we were obeying the fire regulations, we set about setting up beds and chairs etc. Jaxon’s was really easy to do and took the least amount of time. Thanks to the team from church who were sorting the food, they’d also brought some toys which was great because we’d only packed a tiny selection of Jaxon’s toys. We did a bit of organising like getting out the bedding then I took Jaxon to play with the toys. Although I could see the sun was shining and we’d had a whole conversation about sun cream, I was a bad Mummy and misjudged the sun cream situation and I was too late. (He was a little pink when it got to bedtime!)

Jaxon loved standing next to the table football and spinning the handles even though he couldn’t see what else was going on. (By the end of the week, the older kids had got him being like a ball boy, he’d grab the ball from the goal and then chuck it back into the top ready for the older kids to keep playing)

Dinner on the first evening was a hog roast of sorts. The pork joints had been done in the oven and we had bread rolls and salad to accompany it.  I was very bad and had thirds but lunch had consisted of various snacks we had packed with us so I was very hungry by that point!

The intention had been that Chris was staying back at the tent with Jaxon and I would go to the main meeting. Unfortunately while washing up the plates from dinner I realised that I had actually forgotten my toothbrush. I had two options, risk the bad breathe or skip the meeting and go shopping. I went to information to find out where the nearest supermarket was and bumped into one of the lads who used to be in Chris’s youth group! He was able to give me the postcode to the local supermarket (8 mile round trip. Not too bad!) and off I set. Found the car in the car park and then got my sat nav all sorted.

I got to the supermarket and found the toothbrush and toothpaste bit okay. I then set tried to find the “Free From” section to get Chris a packet of Macaroons as they are yummy (and a good peace offering seeing as we had been being grumpy with one another before I left), but it was really hard – I then asked a customer service person and she was like “Yeah it’s behind you” but she could see the funny side when I explained that I’d looked round the store like three times and couldn’t find them and clearly just needed to open my eyes!

I ended up back at the tent rather than going in for the last half an hour of the meeting. Chris was then annoyed at me that I was in his space. He had been doing sudoku puzzles and I was sat right where he’d been laying on the air bed. Oops!

Following the evening meeting I went into the social tent to hang out with everyone, we drank hot chocolate – I may have had seconds of that too! It was keeping my insides warm as it was getting cold by that point.

I went to bed around 11 feeling very grateful for my new toothbrush and a snuggly bed – once I’d figured out what I was going to sleep in!


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