I wasn’t sure what, if anything, could bring me out of blogging retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I miss writing these little posts but since we moved back to the UK just over a year ago, time has been at something of a premium.
However, something happened on Friday night that I needed to get off my chest, and frankly, what better medium than my long dormant blog.
My husband and I were due to attend his father’s retirement party in the beautiful city of Wells in Somerset. The event had been in the diary since Christmas and we had booked a room at a charming hotel which dates back to the 15th century; making the most of the fact that it would be just the two of us staying, with the 3 offspring safely lodged at my parents house for the night.
The evening didn’t get off to the best start owing to a faux pas by the hotel who mistakenly thought that we’d like to be shoved out the back in a chip-fat fumed, IKEA-furnished, staff-digs type apartment rather than the four-poster bed, with free-standing bath and cathedral-view room we were anticipating.
Add to this disappointment we’d been in the car for over 3 hours, my husband had arrived on a flight from Brazil a mere 10 hours earlier and was understandably jet-lagged, we were running at least half an hour late for the party due to all of the above and you’re probably beginning to realise that it was turning into ‘one of those nights’.
So, we made a hurried change of clothes and headed to the party which was being held in the function room of a local restaurant. The place was heaving when we arrived, literally jam-packed with colleagues, friends and family all wanting to give my father-in-law a suitable send off. It was standing room only and having said a quick hello to my in-laws, I was introduced to an ageing hippy named Michael and left to my own devices to socialize with him.
Without wishing to be mean, I’ll be perfectly honest here and admit I did feel a strong sense of, “Dear God, can I really be bothered to have polite conversations all night with people I will almost certainly never see again.” But, as with most family occasions on this scale, sometimes you just have to grin and bear it.
Michael was wearing a scruffy shirt, cut-off denim shorts and open-toed sandals with no socks. He had not a single hair on his head, but a full Father Christmas-esque beard on his chin. (I later learned that he is often referred to locally as the man with the upside-down face!). To say I was feeling over-dressed would be an understatement.
I politely asked what Michael did for a living and he replied he was a dairy farmer. Some very good friends of mine run a food and agriculture PR company so over the years I’ve gleaned tiny snippets of information about this industry. Armed with precious little else to rely on, I launched myself into detailed debate over the price of milk and the difficulties surrounding the dairy supply chain.
And yes, the conversation was every bit as dry as you are imagining.
However, Michael seemed thrilled by my interest in his farm and his Friesians, so there we remained, for a good 15 or 20 minutes before my husband appeared to offer me a drink.
And this is where it started to get a little weird..
My husband is not really interested in celebrities or famous people unless they are really properly famous (royalty, prime minister etc.), or they do something that he considers to be hugely worthwhile and/or with demonstrable talent (racing drivers, really clever engineers, Bill Gates..) So when he arrived at my side, took one look at farmer Michael and started enthusing about how great it was to finally meet him, I’ll admit I was a tad confused.
I looked at him quizzically and think I made some comment about the price of a pint of milk and the beast that is Tesco.
By now, Michael the farmer was grinning broadly, and provided the much-needed clue about his identity by divulging that he’d had a very busy day negotiating the set that the Rolling Stones will be playing next month.
In his garden.
A minor event known to the rest of the planet as the Glastonbury Festival.
And yes, I’d spent my one-on-one time with Michael Eavis not talking about how he managed to secure Mr Jagger and his mates, nor what Coldplay, Stevie Wonder, U2 or Beyoncé were like. Or Blur, New Order, Pulp, REM, Amy Winehouse, Radiohead, Kings of Leon, The Chemical Brothers…I could go on.
I spent it talking about… milk.
Rock and roll!