I’ve had a bath, downloaded my photos, and strewn muddy camping kit all over the lounge. After the non-stop stimulation and good vibes of Port Eliot Festival over the weekend, Monday morning from where I’m sitting is looking a little grey and boring.
But I still have many inspirational words ringing in my ears, so I thought I’d write a blog post before they are drowned out by the pile of admin tasks. As someone tweeted last night: “Back from Port Eliot with serious festival state of mind. Do I go back to work tomorrow, or set up an organic cider press in Cornwall? Sigh”.
The journalistic shorthand for writing about Port Eliot is to say that it is incredibly posh. Well, it turns out it is pretty posh – the quantities of Hunter wellies were spectacular (and made me unexpectedly proud to be wearing a £7 pair from Trago Mills). But in a sense who cares? The literary programming was on the money, the setting is like some sort of dream world (one in which you have direct access to an exquisite estuary and a Grade I listed mansion), and I feel tremendously invigorated by what I saw.
My favourite bits in no particular order:
1) Tim Smit and a bit more Tim Smit – I saw him twice, once at the ‘Rainbow Debate’ chaired by Rosie Boycott (entitled ‘Can we save the planet and do we care anyway?’) and again solo the next day. Both times, he was lump-in-the-throat inspiring and motivational, urging everyone to a) talk to each other more around the kitchen table, b) take more risks in life (“accountants are good at working out how much things cost but don’t take into account the cost of not doing things”) and c) talk less bollocks at work.
2) Thomasina Miers seabass ceviche in the Big Kitchen. Got a lucky ticket to an intimate demo with the Mexican food lady.. she made line-caught seabass ceviche and we each got a try an unforgettable morsel.
3) Caitlin Moran. The twitter-heroine is not nearly as scary in real life and her call for women to stop being so ridiculous, getting Brazilians and buying expensive handbags certainly found currency with me.
4) Dub on the dancefloor at the ‘secret’ disco in the woods in the early hours. I genuinely thought the “bouncers” on the “door” were going to search me (or at the very least try to work out if I was cool enough), so I felt like a bit of a fool when they said they were just checking whether I had “an even number of silver bangles on” and other such comedy ridiculousness.
5) Caitlin Rose. V cool Nashville singer-songerwriter – heart-rending performance by the river. Not a dry eye in the tent (certainly not hers in any case) when she did an unexpected unaccompanied solo about an ex-boyfriend.
Till next year, Port Eliot! I’m signed up.