Cosmeston Halloween 2002
Gales? Ha! The Cosmeston Halloween show is the last chance of the season to get drunk and fall over in a field and a little wind was not going to deter us. Five tents, four Gwerin, one sibling, and Will therefore set off to face the weather. (Stewart and Squish came too but went home to bed like girls.)
All was calm as we arrived but in deference to the weather warnings we chose a sheltered corner of the field and securely pegged out the tents. (Note to self – when double pegging your plastic tent, leave some pegs spare so you don’t have to scramble in the grass in the rain, wind and darkness at 5AM looking for them.)
The usual fun and games continued throughout the evening and the wind stayed gentle enough that the bonfire went off without trouble. We noted the carefully prepared flood defenses outside the tithe barn, lessons clearly learned from other years where we’d spent the evening paddling in ankle deep water.
The fire in the barn kept everyone warm and happy and there was much drinking and singing of songs. The Brenin gave us a rendition of his much-famed daffodil song, and the ballad of the Return from Hastings got its first outing.
When we left the barn and headed tentwards the wind was still gentle. It was not to last. At around 3am Ben’s Swamp was the first casualty, when the tent floor suddenly became a wall and a hasty decision was made to drop it before it took off. (Kate’s tent was still fine) The Brenin’s tent lasted a few hours longer before suffering catastrophic failure with snapped poles, torn canvas, and the relocation of the king to the relative safety of his car. (Kate’s tent was still fine) When I emerged to re-peg the escaping front half of my tent at about 5.30 I was one of three survivors and Will’s tent wasn’t looking too stable. (Kate’s tent was still fine) I lay awake until daylight periodically re-pegging and watching my tent bend and buckle around me.
When it was late enough in the morning to feel justifying in abandoning tent, I got up, re-pegged again and after breakfasting in my tent with the walls swaying back and forth enough to repeatedly smack me about the head, went to investigate how the village had fared. (Kate had to tighten one guy rope)
The village looked like there ought to be a serious-faced BBC reporter talking about some terrible catastrophe. All the authentic tents were flat, a lot of thatch was down and there were sleepy, shivering reenactors wandering about mournfully, surveying the damage. We helped pick up the pieces, then retreated to the large metal container-come-office and drank coffee while listening to the radio reports of the winds overnight and watching the electricity flutter on and off.
Seeing my tent about to become airborne I dashed across the field and with help from the rest of the Gwerin and sibling dragged it into the museum where I could rescue my belongings and pack up the tent without losing it over the fields. (Kate’s tent was still bloody fine)
We retired to the calm of the on-site café to eat breakfast and drink more coffee until it was time to head home.