Down to Dorset to work at Camp Bestival with Petra Chocstar in her chocolate icecream van. I’d learn to scoop properly she said. The finest technique is to do a long snail-like curl which makes the icecream look bigger than a firmly packed scoop. This is harder than it looks to achieve. Other rules: don’t miss out the edges of the tub when scooping because you’ll end up with a sticky fist by the time you get to the bottom.
“icecream wasn’t put on properly”.
You replace it.
“Do you mind a cup?” I asked an adult.
“Yes, I mind. I want a cone”
whimpered this fully grown adult reverting to five years old. Ice cream vans bring out the kid in everyone.
“It’s a bloody festival” I’d explain wearily “What do you expect? Efficiency?”
Strangest was the ‘silent disco’: you are given headphones as you enter the tent. If you don’t wear the headphones it’s a surreal experience, like going to a deaf person’s convention. People are writhing in silence, enclosed in a private world of sound. Once in a while, they will all rise in unison and pump the air with their fists, in the direction of the plinth where the DJ fiddles with his turntables. The DJ rarely acknowledges his audience.At festivals in Britain, people wear wellies even when the sun is shining. A festival is a chance to wear all the clothes you’d never dare wear at home; the poncho you picked up somewhere ethnic, the flamenco dress, the fairy wings, glitter, animal masks…
After Camp Bestival I drove to River Cottage canteen in Axminster. They held a food stall at the festival and I met their chef Tim Maddams, and very briefly, Hugh Fearney-Whittingstall. Unfortunately River Cottage Canteen was closed by the time I got there. I managed to buy a couple of local cheeses… And nipped into the old fashioned sweet shop next door, buying salty liquorice, mega sour lemon balls, butterscotch gums. Nowadays of course they are not sold in quarters (which is actually 115g) but 100g. Mondays seem to be quite dead in Dorset which is a shame when a festival is on.
I had arranged to stay at the house of some people I met through Twitter @greendrawers and @eatdorset that night…a pop up bed and breakfast! We arranged to meet at sunset on the beach at Burton Bradstock where there is a fish ‘shack’ called The Hive Beach Café.
“How long can you keep that up?” I asked him.
“Probably another five years” he said “I’m quite old for a commercial diver”.
“Grannies isn’t it?” explained @greendrawers “where else locally can they buy organic cotton baby clothes to send as presents, knowing they aren’t going to get a sniffy reaction from the parents?”
“To stop us escaping I guess” joked Mat.
“Is it a fix?” I asked “Do you think they have chosen who will win from the beginning?”
“Not at all” replied Mat “Some times I was up against really ‘televisual’ competitors…one gorgeous woman who did Gluten-free food, another babe in a mini skirt, but I got through. I asked John and Gregg the presenters why and they simply said ‘Your food tastes better’. It was quite brave of them to put four guys through to the final.”
“I never imagined I would get through. The first round I was surrounded by people bandying around French cooking terms. I can’t speak French, I’m an amateur from New Zealand. One guy was actually French but the food he produced went horribly wrong”