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The Big Chill

The Big Chill Festival is on again in the grounds of Eastnor Castle, just down the road from me. Last year, the disruption it caused to us locals was massive. On the Thursday night, I had needed to get home from the hospice, and the friend who gave me a lift got caught in the huge tail-back of traffic past my house. In the end, he dropped me off about a mile away from home, and I walked the rest of the way. I’ve since heard of people who were caught in that traffic jam for three hours!

So this year I decided to plan ahead to avoid getting caught in the worst of the traffic. The festival organisers have been out since Monday, putting up temporary speed-limit signs (which block my view as I try to pull out of my drive, making things more dangerous, not less), hundreds of cones, and signs warning of expected queues ahead. Last year, the Thursday afternoon had the heaviest traffic, as thousands of festival-goers turned up to start their weekend. So I decided that I would leave my car at work on Thursday, and ask a colleague to give me a lift to the bottom of the hill, or the end of the traffic jam, whichever came first. Then I could walk the rest of the way home, and still get there much quicker than if I’d sat fuming in the traffic.

As it turned out, there was no traffic jam at all! In fact, there seemed to be hardly anyone heading for the festival. The traffic was no heavier than on any ordinary day. My colleague dropped me off at the carpark at the top of the hill, and I walked the last ten minutes home, past lines of cones and bored-looking stewards in hi-vis jackets, but virtually no cars at all. I felt such a fraud! When I got home I found that the AA had, very unhelpfully in my view, coned off my drive. So it was just as well I hadn’t tried to drive home, as would have needed to stop on the road to move them before I could get onto the drive.

I got a taxi back into Malvern on Friday morning, since of course my car was still in work. The taxi driver commented that it was quieter than on a Sunday afternoon! There really was hardly any traffic. He had been expecting to be extremely busy taking festival goers from the station to Eastnor, as last year every taxi in Malvern had been working flat-out all day. Instead, it was quieter then a normal day, as many of the locals had gone away to avoid the disruption, and the expected festival traffic hadn’t materialised. He was very disappointed.

{ 7 } Comments

  1. Frosty | 6 August 2011 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    They were all onm my train last night Gillian!!! I had to stand from Paddington to Oxford with the aisle blocked by tents, sleeping bags and rucksacks.

    I’ve also realised I have become a complete ‘old arse’ as I was horrified by some of the conversations I overheard on the trip back…
    Youngsters today…. ;o)

  2. Carol L | 6 August 2011 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gillian
    Thinking about you (and Christopher) this weekend and around if you want to talk at any point

  3. Catriona | 7 August 2011 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gillian,

    I’m thinking of you at this time. I really admire the way you are dealing with things at the moment.

    BTW last year I went home from Malvern to London with my kids on a train full with Big Chill attendees and they were all fantastic. Even the guard thanked everyone for being so helpful on such a crowded train.

  4. paulD | 7 August 2011 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    I thought I heard on local tv the admission fee was £75 !

  5. Sam C | 7 August 2011 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

    Don’t really know what to say, other than “I hope you are getting through this weekend” and “ok, yes, you can buy me a latte on Monday” x

  6. Q&J | 7 August 2011 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Hi Gillian,
    I also see that there is no concessions for over 60’s!

    And, on a less glib note, we are both thinking of you. While one of us works (officially) the other does have a few(?) moments to spare some days if you want to meet. Just sorry it’s me, not ‘er!

  7. Richard A | 7 August 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    Dear Gillian,
    Thinking of you especially today.