We went to a festival this weekend, Deer Shed in North Yorkshire. It is billed as being kids and family friendly and I would have to agree with the tag line. When I arrived, the field was full of happy people. There were men doing battle with tents, children playing on space hoppers, mums with plastic glasses of Pimms, rainbow jumpers and lots and lots of smiling faces.
There were oodles of creative crafts for the children to try, interesting stalls with quirky handmade stock to purchase and fabulous food stalls with hardly a chip in sight. There was a circus tent and the music and the beer tents. There was plenty of fresh water to drink and the loos were remarkably clean. The organisers had thought of everything.
My family had a wonderful time. There were plenty of people there that we know from home and the children formed a huge feral pack and careered around the site wallowing in the unaccustomed freedom. The adults found a place to act as the base and spread blankets surrounded by camping chairs so the children always knew where to return to if their nerve failed them or they ran out of cash. Everyone looked happy and relaxed.
Except me. I hated it.
As far as I am concerned, it had no redeeming features whatsoever. I arrived half way through the weekend and left again before the day was out. Of the two days and nights that my family was there, I managed seven hours but I would have happily left after three.
So what's wrong with me? Why am I swimming so hard uphill when everyone else is happy to grab a rip tide and enjoy the ride. The list of things that I don't like about festivals is so long that to even begin to mention them makes me sound like a fuddy duddy killjoy. Sadly, it seems that I am the only person of my acquaintance who doesn't love it. Despite mentioning my view tentatively to a wide range of people, I have yet to find anyone who replies 'I know exactly what you mean. I hate it too.' I am completely on my own. I did wonder whether some other people didn't enjoy it quite as much as they made out but were happy to go with the flow but I saw no evidence of this.
I'm not going next year. I shouldn't have gone this year but I felt guilty when the rest of the Clarks were so keen. I am hurt and upset that I am incapable of doing something as simple as sitting in a field for a weekend to please others. It is probably just selfish of me not to smile and pretend that I'm having the best time and I'm sure that the others must think that I'm weird or mad or both.
Perhaps I should cultivate my slightly eccentric demeanour, begin wearing purple now rather than in old age? Then people will say 'Oh it's only Imogen. Don't mind her. She always was a little odd!'
Perhaps they already do.