Tuesday, 3 August 2010


It was quite nostalgic standing in Knebworth Park yesterday morning. It was a bright sunny day and I could see the lovely, tiny St Mary's Church in the background.  I once went to a wedding there.  Nothing looked very different really. We were there to pick up our son who had been to a festival.  As it was what I would call a Heavy Metal Festival, it was a difficult job trying to spy him and his mates amongst the relentless sea of black T-shirts as the hordes of unwashed left the park.

I wondered how many of them still felt it was as good an idea as it seemed the night before to buy five foot totem poles with various ogre's heads on them, or plastic leatherette helmets with horns on? At least they won't have to buy them next year.

I looked back over the years since I worked at the park including the day I got paid for wandering around pretending to do something like "security" on July 20th 1974. I basically got paid a fiver ( a fair day's pay for a fair day out) to watch The Allman Brothers, The Doobie Brothers, Van Morrison, John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra, Alex Harvey and, right at the bottom of the bill, Tim Buckley.  Everyone else there had paid £2.75 for an advanced ticket or £3 on the gate.  I know all this because whilst I'm writing this I am looking at the poster for the said event on my wall. Here it is:

Anyhow, it all happened last Century and I was still only a teenager. A lot of water has flowed, etc . . . and any other cliche you want to add.  Happy, carefree times though, I must admit. I hope my son and his friends enjoyed the weekend as much as I enjoyed festivals.  Obviously nowadays I tend to go to Cropredy.  Unfortunately we're not this year (I don't think much of the line-up and RT isn't on).

Ah well.  We had agreed to pick our son up but we were expecting to be later than we actually arrived as the plan was to pick them up in Harvey on the way back from the Midlands.  Then I was expecting to get up early this morning to take second born to Luton airport.

However, a frantic phone call on Sunday night brought us back early as she had discovered that the flight was MONDAY morning not Tuesday! So Mrs Dave had to drive Harvey down on Sunday night as I had spent the afternoon sitting in my sister-in-law's garden enjoying a glass or two of local ale (actually, it was Banks's bitter and the phrase "tolerate" might be closer to the truth).  It was a baptism of fire as she hadn't driven it on a road before.  She's used to it now!  All is well.  Second born safely in Croatia.

Actually, Harvey has to go to the garage to have its electrics looked at.  My brother-in-law stuck a multi-meter in the lighter to see if it worked.  He thought nothing of the sparks.  It would appear that it might have blown a fuse or two as we can't get the radio to work.  Or the cab lights.  Or, indeed, the lighter - not that we smoke but nowadays the lighter is used for other things.  Like solar panels to trickle-charge the battery.  Anyway - it needs looking at because I just look at these things and I have no idea whatsoever about how they work.  Like knitting.  How can you put some wool between two sticks, jiggle them about and come up with a jumper?  That's not a skill, that's witchcraft.

Anyhow, I digress.  It's a lovely day.  I don't know why I'm sitting here writing when I could be outside in the sunshine.  I've added a picture of the view as I sit and write. I've managed to avoid getting the washing on the line in the photo.  It all looks nice and verdant.  I suppose I should do as I've been told and go and get some Ant killer and toilet rolls.

It's that time of year when we get a little problem.  Ants, that is, the toilet rolls are because we've run out.

Rambleaway is a character in a traditional song.  It just seems apt because I'm, well, rambling away I guess.

They rambled the country from village to town
This Nancy she followed her true love around
He swore by the stars that he'd prove faithful and true,
In the very next town, well he bid her adieu.


Mike C. said...

Rich Goddard and I put up the fence around that first Knebworth for "cash in hand" and a fistful of free tickets. Long hours of banging holes through corrugated iron sheets and bolting them to a scaffolding in the hot sun was a bit like being on the chain gang.

Amazing to think it's still going and that kids are still listening to the same old music, though we made our own heads on a pole in those days, of course. I seem to remember a Lord of the Flies scenario with a real pig's head, though that may have been somewhere else. Festivals are a foretaste of hell.


(Word verification: "jardedi", something about Star Wars in there somewhere).

Dave Leeke said...

Yes, interestingly enough, I was going to mention the fact that Richard and I worked together and were sent down Old Knebworth Lane out of the park when we wanted a break. Again, interestingly enough, because when Richard and I got bored we went to his mother's house for tea. We sat in their garden and listened to the whole of Van Morrison's set whilst drinking tea and eating sandwiches.

Strange times.

Brendini said...

I've only heard two versions of Rambleaway; one by the Albion Band and the other by Waterson/Carthy. I like both. One for the tradition, the other for the update.
I should think Mike's mention of Richard will conjure up some very warm memories for you Dave.
Word verification = diesses. Rather negative connotations methinks.
I only went to Knebworth twice. One I can't remember at all, the other was Peter Gabriel's first post-Genesis gig (I think) singing Me and My Teddy Bear.
Due to my incompetence, verification has now become lyrocybu - The ancient Greek art of stringed instrument folding.

Dave Leeke said...

The quote is from a Hutchings/Beer rewrite of the song by The Albion Band (from "1990"). I know your opinion of Hutchings is quite ambiguous(and why)!

And yes, Brendan, you're right - a mention of Richard does bring back warm (?) memories indeed.

I was there at the Gabriel gig with you - but it was quite a later gig. I was at the first London post-Genesis PG gig with Hugh Williams in 1977/8. Interestingly enough, Bob Fripp toured with that band and refused to play on stage, so hid behind a curtain! He was always okay when I saw him with King Crimson (once at Weeley and once at Hyde Park).

I'm really not sure what "Me and My Teddy Bear" was about, though!