Angela Paine’s summer

Jun 25th, 2018 | By | Category: Articles

I’ve been going to WOMAD every year since it began, for many years as a programme seller, until WOMAD merchandise was taken over by new people who dispensed with our services. This year I’ve decided to go to Nuremberg instead, to stay with my friend Anjelika and attend a free world music festival. This will be a new experience. I’m also going to one day of Ealing blues festival, another new experience. I love festivals, blues, jazz, folk, world music. I attended several festivals in India last winter: a film festival in Trivandrum, a literature festival in Jaipur, a sacred music festival in Jodhpur and a Fakir music festival somewhere in Bengal.

I used to earn my living travelling around the summer festivals in England selling old (what they now call vintage!) clothes, living in a tent, never getting enough sleep, transporting my stall and clothes in the back of an old 2CV with the back seats taken out, my children perched on top of the pile, playing music on my Brixton briefcase (ghetto blaster), with frequent stops to fix bits of the engine with string, the odd stick, paper clip or rubber band. The children would put the tent up while I set up the stall before foraging for something to cook over our two twig fire, for I’d always run out of money by the time we reached the festival. Some years it rained incessantly and everyone was coated in mud the whole weekend. But it was fun and it was exhausting. The children ran wild and watched magic shows, mime artists, clowns and leapt on the bouncy castle for hours. Now I don’t have the energy for all that.

Nowadays I’m happy digging in my allotment in the summer, cooking the produce and having friends round for dinner. I love this time of the year. England is so cool and green and I never complain about the clouds or the rain in the summer. I’ve spent several summers in Italy, in sweltering 43 degree heat, which is no fun at all and I’ve travelled to parts of the world where the sweat pours off you all day and all night. I never want to travel this time of the year but inevitably end up helping out my daughter in London, going to visit relatives in Devon and Oxford. I love the feeling of the sun on my skin, the cool English sun, not the hot, tropical sun, but treat it like food: something to enjoy in small amounts every day, not something to gorge on and later regret.

At the beginning of June there are a profusion of medicinal plants in flower: wild rose, elder flower, guelder rose, comfrey, dandelion, ground ivy, the last of the hawthorn that blossomed so magnificently in May this year, the flowers covering the hawthorn trees and bushes like snow round the fields surrounding Stroud.


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