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Monday, 6 July 2015

Download Rundown & Days of Sunshine!

Hello everyone! I just thought that I would drop by and fill you in on the goings on around here over the last month or so, the most notable of which was the fact that I went off to Download Festival! 
For those of you that have been following my blog for a while now you may remember me blogging about this back in 2013, but for those of you that don't know Download Festival is the biggest rock festival in the UK, which is held annually at Donington Park race track in the East Midlands. It is always held for three days across the middle weekend of June and attracts some 80,000 per year, hosting some of the biggest names in rock over it's over 30 year history: Including acts such as; AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Alice Cooper to name but a few!

This year was my sixth time at Download, all of which I have attended consecutively minus last year when we opted to go to Readings Festival for a change. I have to say though that having been to Download for so many years, returning back this year was like going to a home away from home. I and I think that it will always be my festival no matter how many others I go to! I look forward to it every year that we go as we always have an amazing time, plus it is the only form of holiday that I get to go on.
However I did um and err over going this year partly due to the expense not long after buying our first home, but mainly because my best friend and her FiancĂ© were unable to come and I have never been without my partner in crime before!

We also normally have a number of other friends that come with us to as it's not really my hubby's thing, so there usually ends up being between 6-8 of us in total. However this year there were only two of the male friends that I normally go with that could attend. I worried that it wouldn't be the same without my best friend and with only a few of us going, but I was desperate to seeing one of the headlining acts MUSE, who are a band that I have loved since I was eighteen but have never seen live as they don't tour very often. Then even when they do tickets are very hard to come by!

So in the end I decided to go and I am so glad that I did, because I literally had the time of my life! Granted it took me a while to recover when I got back after five days of camping, (as we arrive on the Weds when the site opens,) partying, going to bed as the birds woke up, and surviving on a few hours sleep. Before we would then get up, go and see the bands and do it all again. But it was so worth it! I did miss not having my best friend there, but being that there were only a few of us it gave us the opportunity to make new friends, of which there were many! All of whom we are staying in contact with, and hoping to meet up with again and some point. This is despite the fact that we live at opposite ends of the country!

When we arrived on Weds 10th June the weather was lovely, which was lucky as we had to queue for 2 and a half hours to get into the site, which is something that we have never had to do before!
We thought that this may have been due to the fact that they were trialling "dog tags," which were basically little bits of plastic that were fitted onto your wristband that had chips inside them to enable you to pay contactless like you can with a card. I was a little sceptical about this to start with to say the least, especially since they were the first big UK festival to be using them! It meant that you could only pay for everything on site with your dog tag, which you pre-loaded with you ticket before leaving and could top up whilst there. It took a little getting used to just bleeping a wrist band on a machine as payment, but I have to say though that by the end of it I was converted as it all ran smoothly and made paying very easy, maybe a little too easy! But then coming back to reality and using cash felt very odd, it's strange how quickly we get used to different ways of doing things!
The queue ahead of us when getting into Download just as the entrance tent came into view

  My Dog Tag Wristband

My tent and our camp complete with the Gazebo! 

The stunning sunset on the Weds evening! 
So anyway back to the weather, like I said it was lovely on the Weds when we arrived and remained that way until 8pm on Friday and then the heavens opened! When I say opened I mean rain for 24 hours straight until 8pm Saturday night, which isn't really what you want at a festival but equally it wouldn't be a British festival without it! Luckily it stopped raining just in time for MUSE to play which meant that I was able to use my camera, which I was most worried about not being able to do if the weather had persisted. MUSE didn't disappoint and were literally the best band that I have ever seen live, and it was made even better by the fact that myself and a girl that I had met there managed to work our way really near the front. It was a pretty rowdy crowd of predominately men, and we were all packed in like sardines keeping each other up as we all jumped about. I am not sure how I managed to get out of that crowd without breaking myself or my camera, but again it really was worth it and an experience of a lifetime.
Waiting in the crowd for MUSE to start

The crowds behind us whist we waited for MUSE!

Matt Bellamy MUSE's lead singer!

The confetti balls above our heads that were thrown into the crowds before and after they burst!

Images from during MUSE'S set

Some more images from during the set including the fire blowers at the end. We were so close to the front that we could feel the heat from them as they went off!

On Sunday the weather was once again not particularly fabulous and the site was a sticky mud pit, but it certainly didn't dampen anyone's spirits! I know that festivals aren't for everyone but I love them! I feel most alive and relaxed there, watching live music with friends in the euphoric atmosphere. Yes the mud and the rain aren't the best, but it makes you feel quite free and at one with nature. Plus you definitely appreciate the creature comforts of your own bed, toilet, and running water more when you get back!

The crowd at second stage on Sunday night, and back at the Doghouse the rock club on the campsite

 The amazing end to the headliners Kiss's set on Sunday night, which ended the festival

The sunrise begining to break though at the campsite village on Monday morning before we returned home

The sunrise as it broke through further on the Monday morning 
Typically on the day that we left Download and ever since I have got back, the weather here and across most of the country for the last few weeks has been just beautiful! The summer has now well and truly sprung for now at least! 

However it is probably a good thing that it wasn't this hot at Download as I managed to burn quite badly with little sun and cloud cover, despite being careful and having factor 50 on! I now look like a bit of an idiot with my burnt chest and thighs complete with short lines! So I definitely won't be going out in the sun anytime soon! Not that I am a sun lover anyway, but it is nice to have the brightness even if it is rather on the warm side!

So you are now nearly up to date with the goings on around here!

Last week my hubby had the week off to recover from a stag do from the previous weekend, and I was off on the Weds which turned out to be the hottest day of the year so far here, so we took a jaunt into town. I am not sure exactly how hot it hit here in the end but I think that it must have got to the mid 30's, as whilst sipping on a cooler in a local cafĂ© I recorded the temperature at 32 degrees in the shade at 4:30pm! This for those of you that don’t live in the UK is practically unheard of even in the summer!

On the way back home we went via the river walk and came across this little fellow below:

There are usually a lot of squirrels jumping around this walk but on this day I think that the heat may have been getting to the squirrels too, as he was practically the only one about! He caught our eye not only for this reason, but because of the fact that he seemed particularly tame. These shots don't really do justice as to how close he was as they were taken on my phone, but he was cute little thing and kept posing for the camera. In the shot on the bottom left he reminded me of a little fox.

Further along the river walk we saw lots of Blackberry bushes all beautifully in flower, with the start of the Blackberry fruits beginning to form as you can see below: 

We will have to go back Blackberry picking in a few months once they are ripe!

Once home we finished off the day by having some lovely raspberries, meringues, and ice cream! Perfect for a summer day and Wimbledon season even if it wasn't quite strawberries and cream!

Since last week the weather has continued to be lovely and rather warm, minus the odd bit of heavy rain and electrical storms on Friday night!

I hope that the weather is good where you all are and that the heat is not getting too much for you! Stay safe in the sun and thanks as always for popping by and bearing with another long and picture heavy post! I got a bit carried away with all of my Download talk! x