Saturday 6 September 2014

Great times at Rewind North with El Nido and Marmite

The saga and stress of our campervan conversion continues and, when the dust has settled, I'll tell the full story.  In the meantime, we were able to use El Nido to sleep in, albeit with no gas or water and limited electrics, when we went to the Rewind North Festival with our good friends Steph and Ian and their motorhome - Marmite.  For those who aren't aware, Rewind is a weekend Festival of 80s music, featuring many of the bands and artists of the day and, as we met and grew up together in the 80s, Cathy and I love this era.  You can find more details about Rewind here.

Friday 29 August 2014
We'd packed most of our things in Nido the night before.  With no fridge, gas or water, we were relying on Steph & Ian to provide most of the facilities, although we did thankfully have a working loo. So in the morning we packed our fridge items in a cool bag and headed off to meet them in a lay by on the A556.  We met them at 1000 and drove off in convoy to Capesthorne Hall, the location for Rewind.  Luckily it's only about 30 minutes' drive from home, so the risk of our dodgy underslung LPG tank blowing up was minimal! On arrival at the campsite we could see a large motorhome had already grounded and was stuck in boggy ground - not a great start.  The staff were a bit slow to react but eventually we drove our way through the field to our pitch, overlooking the camping area.

Setting up in a campervan is relatively straightforward and we soon had both awnings out, tied down, with mats, chairs and tables out.  Ian and I put up the kitchen tent while the kettle was on.  It was then lovely to spend a while relaxing over a brew and some cake and biscuits, having a chat with Steph & Ian.  They've just returned from a 5 month trip which included almost 3 months in Greece and we were keen to hear all about it.  Given our excitement with being in Nido for the first time and thinking about a great weekend ahead, it wasn't long before the beer and wine was flowing!

I had volunteered to cook on day one and made a chicken curry.  I'd ground all the whole spices at home the night before and had everything else ready to go.  I enjoyed doing the prep in Nido's galley, chopping onions, garlic and ginger.  The kitchen tent was really handy and I was soon in there, wearing my campervan apron and slaving over a hot pot named Flo!  When Cathy's Mum died this year and we got to the difficult day of emptying her flat, we found this pot that can be used as a normal pot, steamer or pressure cooker on a stove top - perfect for our needs.  So we named it Flo in her memory and it goes well with Oska, our Remoska cooker.  As the curry was cooking I warmed up the naan and cooked the rice too and we were soon tucking in - I think I overdid the whole chillies a bit though - Ian and me were fine but Steph & Cathy were looking a bit pink in the face!  At least there was some cucumber raita and lager to cool things down.

Washing up done we were keen to go over to the Festival site and take a look around.  On the way in we swapped our tickets for the ubiquitous wristband.  Cathy and I had also bought Posh Loo tickets as we didn't know if Nido's loo would be working, so we collected a 2nd wristband - well worth the money in our opinion.  Crossing the lake we went through the wristband check and search (no own food or drink allowed in) and into the Festival area.  The main stage was over to the left in a natural dip with the grassy auditorium sloping up around it, so perfect for thousands of festival goers to get a good view.  Around the right hand side were various stalls selling food, drink and many festival related items, such as brightly coloured wigs and hats.  Cathy bought some neon orange leg warmers to go with her wellies and I was tempted by an afro wig, but managed to refrain!  We had a good walk around, looking at the sights and watching some crazy people on some very scary fairground rides.  The Babycham van was giving away free samples, as was the Black Tower tent - well why not!  Around the edge were three very large big-top tents containing bars and where other live music was being played.  As there were no live bands on the main stage tonight we listened to some of these local bands while enjoying a pint of Doombar (me and Ian) and a glass of Prosecco (Cathy and Steph).  By now it was starting to rain so, rather than get soaked on day one, we headed back to the vans for a brew and a (relatively) early night.  This was the first time we'd slept in Nido and so we'd see if the bed was big enough and comfy enough - the boy done good on both counts! Once in with the reading lights on, cozy and warm we knew that eventually, when he's well, we'll love our time away in him.
New plates and ready to go
Setting up camp

Curry on in 'Flo' in the outside galley

Inside one of the big-top bars
Saturday 30 August 2014
We woke quite early after a warm and very comfortable night's sleep.  Following the Campervan Rules, I had to get up and make a morning brew for Cathy to enjoy in bed. Although we had no onboard gas, I had our small gas ring so that went on as I opened the Victoria choccie biscuits, normally a Christmas morning treat, but we felt the occasion deserved them.  A bit later I opened the blinds and could see the Corry's were up and about too.  Breakfast was sausages in rolls with a brew, sat outside under Marmite's awning.

The day was a bit drizzly and cloudy so we dressed accordingly, raincoats, wellies or walking boots.  The live music wasn't starting until 2pm so we had a lazy morning chatting and drinking tea or coffee.  The Corry's had a made a great effort dressing up, with wigs and wacky clothes!  As the music started we headed over to the main arena. Bands were on for about 20 minutes, with a quick change around.  I can't remember who was on, but we wandered around, had a few beers and something to eat from the pulled pork & ribs shack, then popped back to listen to more bands.  It was a great atmosphere and many had made a great effort to dress up in 80s gear - I particularly liked the green soldiers from the Toy Story movie.  About 4pm we headed back to the van to rest for a while and have a brew, before heading back to the arena just before 7pm to wait for the big bands.

It was a bit rainy on and off by now but that didn't stop the fun.  We enjoyed many well known bands and artists, including Jimmy Sommerville, Marc Almond, Tony Hadley, Level 42 and Billy Ocean.  After the final act for the night there was a great fireworks display and we made our way back to the vans, tired but having enjoyed a great day.

Morning Brew Time
The start of the dressing up! 
Wellies & Wine! 
Ready to ROCK & ROLL!
This Doom Bar's going down well

Sunday 31 August 2014
Sunday broke bright and sunny - the promise of another good day to come.  We slept in, not waking until just after 9am, then it was the same again - brew time, followed by bacon & egg rolls and a quiet morning.  With it being much warmer and sunnier today we didn't need to worry about coats and Cathy and I wore our "El Nido says Relax" t-shirts - the Corry's carried on their wacky dress code!  Heading over to the main arena, we enjoyed more bands (and the odd beer) before coming back to eat.  Steph had made a large moussaka and greek salad, both of which were delicious and enjoyed with the odd glass or three of Shiraz in very warm sunshine - this is the life!  But before that we had El Nido's naming ceremony!  With a bottle of bubbly provided by Steph & Ian we blessed his name and all who travel in him and splashed a little on his front bumper. The campers on the other side of the fence must have thought we were mad, although one did offer to take some photos.  Well fed and watered we washed up and walked back over to the main arena for 6pm.  Again, there were some great bands and music, culminating in Holly Johnson and all the 'Frankie goes to Hollywood' hits, including Relax and Two Tribes. This was a great finale to the weekend, followed again by fireworks.  We weren't ready to finish the night though, so we walked up to one of the big-top  bars and had a few drinks and a dance while listening to a great rock band.  Finally, well after midnight, we reluctantly left, dancing all the way back to the vans!  What a great weekend.

El Nido says Relax! 
Ready to Party!
Nido's naming ceremony
What you looking at!? 
Tucking in
Finishing off the delicious moussaka - well somebody had to!
Big Top time
Moving so fast the camera couldn't keep up!
Must have been wobbling my head!

Monday 1 September 2014
Monday morning and it was raining but, hey, no work for us today!  Steph & Ian kindly laid on breakfast in their van and we then slowly packed everything away before heading home to unpack, clean and return the van to storage before it starts its proper refit in a couple of weeks.

We had a great time at Rewind - fantastic music, fun, dressing up, food and drink.  But it was the company that made it.  After all the hassle, stress and worry over our van, it was lovely to forget it all for a few days and just let our hair down.  That we managed this and had such a good time was due to Steph & Ian - good friends who have helped us see that the last few months have been a tester and both us and Nido will emerge on the other side in a much better state - considerably poorer and wiser - but still able to achieve our future dreams and plans.  Thanks Steph, Ian and Marmite!