ANGUISH AND REDEMPTION IN LARMER TREE GARDENS

1 September at End of the Road has started well enough, but before the music had even started I received the call from Sis to say that was in Addenbrookes, prompting an anguised dash back along the M3/M25 to Waterbeach, leaving Mrs RM and James to fend for themselves in a field in Dorset.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday were spent on the elderly ward* taking videos of Dad getting up and walking about being nosey (you see where I get it from) and negotiating his release.

Did I at any point over that weekend think “I’m never going to get to Orkney and finish the Guide, am I ?”. Well, if I didn’t, others certainly did.

Rather more pressingly, I’d almost forgotten that I’d left the family with two tents, chairs and rucksacks to get home via Salisbury on buses, trains, tube and foot.

Dad was back to normal, Mum insisted I collect them. So I did. I arrived back at Larmer Tree Gardens at 6pm on the Sunday and had a cathartic evening of music, kebabs and Bristolian craft.

Tim Thomas joined us for a beer, which was lovely.

and James wished he hadn’t joined me at the Lucy Dacus set in the Garden as my pained singalong ruined “Nightshift” for the folk around me.

I was glad, and only a little jealous, that the family had managed to enjoy their festival in my absence.

Black Midi were brilliant, Dad“. Thanks, James.

Lightning arrived as Aldous Harding finished, ending our evening at 11pm.

In the morning, a mist hung over our tents,

but my 6am walk round the gardens brough the sun out, as the righteous often will.

No End of the Road is complete without a peacock sighting,

or a pic of the summer house,

or an attempt to capture the ingenuity of the origami.

I rarely get emotional, but I welled up a bit at that precise point, and a day later at home, as Dad had his first proper cup of tea since Thursday I welled up again.

Yes, there was Crispy Beef and Singapore Rice from Chung Hwa that night.

*Let me say here, all the staff at Addenbrookes were efficient and lovely.

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