Breakfast In Bed

Monday, October 22, 2007

Middle Farm Apple Festival 2007

Having been absent from the party circuit for over six weeks now, it is with some trepidation that I have started re-introducing myself, and so The Middle Farm Apple Festival seemed the perfect non-threatening event at which to gently dip a toe into the social pond. I am a big fan of Middle Farm anyway, and a regular customer at their famous cider barn, which houses the National Cider & Perry Collection, as well as an impressive selection of real ales, fruit wines and liqueurs, and most importantly, pretty much every type of mead one could hope for. Their annual Apple Festival is a family-friendly event with local bands, fair-rides, food stalls, sheep-racing, Morris dancing, and gallons and gallons of cider. After popping into the Blind Lemon vintage fashion fair in Brighton on Sunday morning, I arrived at Middle Farm just in time to catch Carnival Collective, who describe themselves as: “a thriving group of musicians, dancers and artists...[combining] break-beat percussion, reggae, funk, house and other dance influences - played on traditional Brazilian instruments - with a rocking brass section, funky dancers and unique costumes and visuals.” This tres Brighton set-up brought the enthusiastically appreciative audience into a dancing frenzy - where it was heartening to see yummy mummies, crusties, kiddies, scarily blacked-up Morris Men (hmmm) and other random cider-fuelled red-eyed punters bopping happily together in the hay.

After a spot of fantastic people-watching and general mooching about in the sunshine, I spotted some friends and hooked up for the rest of the afternoon to watch Django Spears and the Mountain Firework Company. It was also good to have company in the heaving cider barn, where I purchased some Gregg's Pitt Hertforshire cider, apparently a rare find, and certainly extremely pleasing to my own critical taste buds. I also took a chance on some parsnip wine, which I have yet to sample, but am looking forward to sharing with Ant when he returns from his weekend away. Spotting a huge queue of traffic heading back towards Brighton on the A27, I turned left out of Middle Farm and took the scenic route along the coast via Alfriston and Newhaven. This also afforded me a prime view of the stunning autumnal sunset, rounding off the day beautifully.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Nothing to Blog About

It's now been over six weeks since I fell off my bike and fractured my jaw, and I'm still off work, cursed with sleepless nights due to ongoing pain and discomfort. I haven't been blogging, largely because I've had nothing to blog about, being stuck at home. You'd think that having so much time off work would have encouraged me to do something creative - read all those books that have been piling up; learn how to use the swanky new camera I'd just been bought; start writing that novel I've always talked about. But no, the sad truth is, I have done NOTHING for the last few weeks. Well, nothing meaningful anyway. So, what have I been doing when I've been doing nothing? Sleeping, mostly... Since the accident I have yet to sleep through a night, being woken by an assortment of aches and pains – jaw, teeth, head, ears (they just decided to get in on the act in the last few nights), and so I've been laying in most days, and dozing during the day. I have also lost many hours to the various DVD boxed sets with which my good friend Tim supplied me – and am now a firm convert to the compellingly silly '24', in spite of my better judgement. I guess that however bad life feels for me right now, Jack Bauer probably has it worse, as he frantically fights fends off yet another earth-shattering threat to humanity – which rather puts things into perspective! I've done a little bit of work from home, keeping up to speed with my emails, so at least I don't have to face an overflowing inbox on my return. There's been a steady stream of visitors – including my darling 3-year-old nephew Isaac and his daddy (my brother), who came to stay overnight for the first time in ages. This reminded me how restorative the presence of children can be in times of crisis. Unlike my grown-up visitors, Isaac had no real conception of my maladies, and continued with his toddler demands and needs – a refreshing change of focus away from me. I much enjoyed winning the little boy's favour by introducing him to the indulgent joys of watching TV in bed (not something I ever do, but our spare room where he sleeps does have a TV & VCR), at which point any wariness he may have had about his auntie immediately evaporated, as we cuddled up under the duvet watching The Clangers and Bod.

My nephew, Isaac, with Natalie's little boy, Reggie in Queen's Park

I've indulged in a little well-needed pampering, courtesy of Ant, who treated me to a massage for my birthday. Then today I went for a haircut, and decided to change my style completely – a symbolic new start for my imminent return to civilisation. Despite my ongoing grievances, I am planning to return to the office next week, not least to preserve my sanity. It will be a long while before I am 100% back to my old self, as I still have much dental work to get done, and this has to wait until my jaw is fully healed, but being back at my desk and seeing my colleagues again will hopefully give me some semblance of normality. Meanwhile, I still have five more days to try and do something constructive. Or I could just finish season 2 of 24....