London, Glastonbury and moving house

*Disclaimer: This post is completely unrelated to astronomy and my PhD*

After my exciting 3-day trip to Paris, I spent a long weekend in London before heading off to work at Glastonbury Festival. My time in London reaffirmed my new appreciation of Paris, by being comparatively colder, noisier, and more full of slow-walking pavement hoggers. Despite this, I had an excellent time catching up with friends, learning to longboard, watching Community, juggling, seeing Ben win a skate-dance competition, visiting art galleries, playing ninja and eating yummy Indian food courtesy of the man who left his cash in the ATM at Euston station. As mentioned previously, I’ve never been a big fan of London, mostly because I’m always struggling to pass *through* it with a lot of luggage. That said, the more time I spend actually living and playing in the biggest city in Europe, the more I warm to it.

Having thoroughly failed to catch up on sleep, I headed off to Glastonbury on the Monday. Arriving two days before our catering was due to start with very little of my own food was a bad idea. I spent the first evening stapling food vouchers together while my stomach growled audibly, and the second day helping to register nearly 1000 staff as they arrived on site, all the while making “I’m hungry!” signals at friends as they arrived, hoping someone would take pity on me and share some food (big thanks are owed to Phin for fetching me a fantastic falafel wrap).

On Wednesday the real work began, as our bar (Tolpuddle) was open from 11am to 2am, though we had to start at 9am to get everything ready. I had around 2 hours break throughout the entire day, because even though the bar wasn’t busy at all, I had to work out exactly what my job was, learn how to do it, and revise it to be more efficient and worker friendly. Long day, huh?

On Thursday I was lucky enough to be working the early shift (10am-8pm), but despite having the ‘evening off’ I was unable to stay awake past midnight, and subsequently didn’t catch much of the first official night of Glastonbury. Unfortunately, this pretty much set the tone for the rest of the weekend, with my shifts taking over the majority of my waking hours, and my energy levels generally too low to appreciate anything else. Finishing work at 11pm on Friday meant I was able to catch the encore of the Arctic Monkeys, and enjoyed a cheeky dance at the Guilty Pleasures disco (old favourite of Latitude festival)

Noah and the Whale in the sun

Noah and the Whale in the sun

I did also manage to have a rather excellent Saturday, catching up with several old friends, seeing a bit of Noah and the Whale, sweat-drenched dancing with the Electric Swing Circus, and enjoying an outstanding performance by Dizraeli & the Small Gods. On Sunday I succeeded in experiencing my best gig of all time, with Ben Caplan – the massively bearded, Canadian, shouty folk singer, who shook my hand and signed my album after the show. This was perhaps my first real understanding of the word ‘starstruck’.

Bearded legend, Ben Caplan shaking my hand

Bearded legend, Ben Caplan shaking my hand

As usual, closing and packing down the bar on the last night was horrific, and topping off the night with only 1 hour of sleep was a definite mistake. The journey home on Monday was unnecessarily stressful, mostly because we had the world’s most incompetent and dangerous bus driver taking us in circles around the Somerset countryside. Thankfully I did manage to dash across London, pick up my left-behind bags and catch my train home, with 5 minutes to spare. Overall I definitely enjoyed Glastonbury, although being paid for it may be a factor here. Still, I’m glad I went, and I’m quite looking forward to Latitude now.

After 12 hours sleep, I was more or less ready to return to Sheffield to move house. Somehow I’ve ended up with the smallest room in the house, which is about half the size of my last one. Having lived in a large bedroom for 7.5 out of the last 8 years, I’ve been struggling to fit all my belongings into it neatly, but it is cosy and comfortable, so I’m still excited for the year ahead. Unfortunately this was more or less the end of my working “holiday”, and I was back to mundane tasks in the office by Wednesday morning.

A little glimpse into my new bedroom

A little glimpse into my new bedroom

Now, back to astronomy stuff, I suppose. Coming up next: Observing with ULTRACAM at the WHT in La Palma.

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