bloget #2: qu’steddfod, 8/August/17

pre ps…….. I wrote this yesterday after having failed to get to my first ever Eisteddfod so I hope justifiably feeling a tad despondent…….. good news is things have improved thanks to the  indomitable stewards in dayglo and their undiminished patience in the face of absurdity and criticism (and who are doing this voluntarily), the embattled shuttle bus drivers bearing far more of the brunt than they deserved, and yes, the police for managing thinly-disguised shambles with stern aplomb, and also in dayglo……. chocolate brownies all round for these dayglo elves’steddfodau!


So I thought I’d post my adventure anyway, a little extra bonus daily bloglet, to get it out of my system then I’ll feel better……… it is very long, very, very, very long so get a mug of tea/ coffee/ wine and kick of your boots for this mud-free opus‘let……..

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

it rained
oh how it rained
as it did on Sunday, day two of the Wales National Eisteddfod on Anglesey a mere few miles away from me…. way-hey!…. I thought, my chance to finally chance what I’d put off for years since moving to Wales, to experience the country’s premier Welsh arts and cultural event………

it rained
oh how it rained
…. but this is Anglesey, and of course Wales, and predictably the wet stuff from the sky is a certain fact of life and something any outdoor activity is advised to make provision for with workable contingencies……

it rained
oh how it rained
…. a mere one day of rain and the on-site parking became a wallow that pigs, or even hippos, would have revelled in but not so much cars…. cue: alternative off-site parking and ways to transport punters from that A to the B that is the Eisteddfod, or y Maes (the field) as it is known……. this came in the shape of what seemed a hastily cobbled-together ‘back-up’ plan, and I use the term loosely, itself all too soon in dire need of its own back-up plan…….. off-site parking which is yet another three miles from the site that I live meaning I had to travel near twice as far in the opposite direction and only to come back…….. my first ever day at an Eisteddfod was in decidedly shaky, or more accurately, muddy ground………

it rained
oh how it rained
…. after four miles I found the two mile queue of traffic moving an average speed of minus miles per hour…… tick tock, tick tock, time flaked away until finally crawling bumpily into field of grass now sprouting a veritable crop of cars, rows upon rows bearing their seeds of passengers all wearing the same gobsmacked expressions of disbelief soon enough to morph into shell-shock…… each trundle of wheels turning a groaning surface increasingly slick…… surprisingly at this point even I still retained shreds of hope not yet frittered entirely away……..

it rained
oh how it rained
…. and then I spied with my sleepy eyes something beginning with “qu” delicately balanced on hundreds upon hundreds of legs stretching over the fields and far away as far as my eye couldn’t see……. mine along with every other beating heat sank into the sodden soil……… cue: shuttle buses……………
there weren’t any!……… not at first……. then one then two then a third finally emerged groaning from the ever-increasing snaking streams of traffic onto the self-same now over-burdened ground……. calculations calculated in my head informed me I was going to be here an awfully long time as the front of the queue was as far away as looking through the wrong end of pair of binoculars….. any instinctual queue camaraderie and good humour soon drizzled away……….

it rained
oh how it rained
….. interestingly the back of the queue, which was starting to vanish as far away on the opposite direction as the front of it was like those dreams where however hard you try you never get closer to where you’re going, was unsettlingly calm probably being initially largely oblivious to what fate awaits (a very long wait) repeating the mantra “not long now, not long now, not long now” until it was clear forward momentum was not being realised…… there may well have been a sign at the entrance reading
“welcome to Maes Q: abandon hope all ye who enter”
……… this was in stark contrast to the front of the queue that felt like another country, or reality, by now which was already descending into barely disguised chaos on the verge of unravelling…….

it rained
oh how it rained
…. cars drove in, cars drove out, buses shuffled in, buses (eventually) shuffled out, people shuffled dazed and confused, all jostling through the same same entrance/ exit/ portal/ gate of doom………. it was clear the culturally-accepted unwritten notion of queuing was crumbling by degrees………
meanwhile…….
the one single ‘how long is a piece of string’ queue barely moved a foot or pairs of feet as yet another hour found itself blowing in the wind…….. ho hum, I pondered……… decision made!….. abandon all hope, for me anyway, as we rescued the car from the restless herd of others grazing the now over-burdened fields to make a less than great and more subdued escape heading for the twisty, windy, bendy, bendy back lanes I know so well…. Eisteddfod or bust!………. finally the gate of y Maes hove into view where I spilled out my passengers so at least it was Eisteddfod for them even though it was bust for yours truly being I had a car and now nowhere to park as despite fields, field everywhere there was also mud and water, water everywhere……….

it rained
oh how it rained
…… thus defeated I woundedly wound my way homeward bound having driven nearly twenty miles for a four mile trip my first Eisteddfod experience of queues and mud and roads and queues….. so near and yet so far all dressed up and nowhere to go…….. as for those I delivered relatively safely to the Maes, well, theirs was a tale of mud, mud everywhere but worth every squelch, and undoubtedly a‘whole’nother blog……….. sadly instead of wearing a ‘D‘ for “dysgwr” (Welsh language learner) I’m sporting a ‘D‘ for disappointed……….

it rained
oh how it rained
as it does here… lots
…. who needs a back-up plan when you can run around in wellington boots waving your arms in the air!

welcome….
to the Qu‘steddfod….

ps….. thanks for making it to the end, you’re a rare breed…. please refer to my ‘pre ps’ way back at the beginning of this ramble… there are still some Esiteddfod days to go so maybe, just maybe one blog will actually find me there on y Maes and not outside looking in.

© robert greig 2017

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