Eventually, after some streets, highways, mini-highways and tiny country roads, we came to what would be our home for the next twenty-four hours, the Hollies Hotel in Bower Hinton (near Yeovil).
I was utterly charmed from the start...how could I resist a place so enamored with the various roofing options in the world that it couldn't pick just one?
And any establishment with such a soft spot for gargoyles is OK in my book.
It had been quite some time since I'd been outside of a city, so I was loving the uninterrupted expanses of green.
I should also point out that the rooms were lovely and the breakfast was top notch so if you are looking for a place to lay your head in Bower Hinton (near Yeovil), look no further.
After we dropped off our things and met up with our friends Dan and Nicky, and it was off to Glastonbury. Thank god Dan was kind enough to do the driving. As a native Brit he's better on the left side. And besides, bourgeois as it may be, his Land Rover was a more appropriate vehicle for a farm than our Ford Focus.
Now last year, as is the case nearly every year, the site of this fabulous festival was a mud pit. Everyone was frolicking happily in their wellies, with nary a sunburn in sight. This year we were faced with a hot dust bowl.
The crowds were parched and listless.
the dry as a bone, limited shade hospitality area
Eventually, after attempting in vain to eke out some shade in the noontime shadow of a fence, we gave up and headed to one of the tented stages.
Sprawled on the grass at the side of the John Peele stage in the blessed shade, I gazed upward, thankful for a respite from the searing sun and for the breeze, however slight.
Luckily we hit the good old John Peele at the right time. The stylings of the fantastic band Delphic were followed by the gorgeous strains of Marina and the Diamonds, which I enjoyed immensely as I lounged. After a bit of Lissie over at the Queens Head and a few stolen moments watching the US v. Ghana World Cup game, it was time for the main event, the reason we drove halfway across England for a mere day. MUSE.
Night fell, the temperatures cooled and the boys took the stage. The dazzling light show alone would have been worth the trip, but man oh man did that band perform. With more energy and vigor than I could ever imagine mustering, they played what can only be described as a blinder. The crowd (myself included) would have followed them anywhere. In fact this young gentleman was so enthralled that he climbed 15 feet up on a rickety wooden trellis in order to get a better view:
And I image he was handsomely rewarded, especially once the Edge took the stage with the band to play a bit of U2.
But, as is always the case, all good things must come to an end, and presently it was time to head back to good old Hollies Hotel. We left our 150,000 fellow festival goers to their tents and sleeping mats, while, after cool showers with lovely scented soap, we laid down in our nice comfy beds. It was perhaps the boring old person way to go, but I can't say I regretted it!
Stopping only for some roadside strawberries along the way, we hauled back to London the next day. It was of course imperative that Paul get to Hyde Park in time for the 2:00 kick-off of the England vs. Germany game (the less said about the better, obviously).
After dropping him off and a brief stop at the borrowed apartment, I took the opportunity to relax and wander around town. I was very nearly the only one on the streets, but the pubs were packed with soccer fans!
I ambled down Bond Street, then over to the Phaidan store, Fortnum and Mason and finally into the courtyard of the Royal Academy of the Arts,
where I joined the other tourists in kicking back, putting my toes in the fountains, and gazing at the sky.
Delightful. After a stroll by Buckingham Palace and a lounge by the Serpentine in Hyde Park, I was ready for the evening's entertainment.
We spent a lot of the first half of his set relaxing towards the back of the field.
But once Live and Let Die and the accompanying pyrotechnics came about we were on our feet. And once he got hot and heavy with the Beatles catalogue it was all over. As it turns out, there aren't many things better than seeing a Beatle play the Beatles.
We were too jazzed to sleep so Paul and I took the long way home, strolling about the wide boulevards, the tiny side streets and the occasional green squares. And presently we fell into bed, spent but happy from our musical adventures.