Is It Just Me?

Stage at High Lodge, ThetfordWe went to see KT Tunstall in concert at High Lodge, Thetford last night. Thetford is a beautiful forest on the Norfolk/Suffolk border and High Lodge is a large cabin inside the forest that Wil and I are most familiar with as the place we have a hot drink and a piece of cake after a long bike ride around the black route.

Deciding to use the truck to get there was a decision based on the fact that we’d probably be parking in a boggy field along with 5 million other cars and the truck would be better suited to driving around in the mashed up muddy conditions. However, we soon felt the sting for our choice when we pulled into the petrol station only to spend £70 ($140) filling the tank. £1.30 per litre. When is it going to stop?

I’ve certainly been doing my part to try and hurt the fuel stations over the last couple of months for I’ve hardly gone anywhere in a car instead opting for my very fuel efficient scooter or plain old pedal power come rain or RAIN. Because over the last month that is all it has done. Rain.

We traveled the hour to the concert in the rain, stopped and got a bag of chips along the way in the rain and pulled over into a scenic little layby to eat them. IN THE RAIN.

Upon arriving in the car park we unloaded ourselves in our wellington boots, three layers of shirts, jeans, coats and gloves (yes, it IS June here too), took our fold-up chairs and a large umbrella because, I’m not sure if I mentioned, IT WAS RAINING. As we started to make our way to the car park exit a male voice behind me shouted ‘excuse me’. I turned around to find one of the parking marshals looking at me. ‘Yes’, I replied. “No umbrellas” he replied with a stern face.

I smiled as though he was joking. “No umbrellas?” I confirmed. He shook his head. I looked at Wil through the streams of rain dropping between us and looked back at the man whose expression was that of a man who was definitely NOT having a little joke. And then tossed my umbrella into the back seat of the car.

And that put the tone on the evening for me. Because here we go again and here is where I wonder once again, is this bureaucracy gone mad or is this me just being an old, angry, bitter woman?

The no umbrella rule, we learned, was due to good old Health & Safety poking it’s ugly head in to take over where common sense once used to rule. That’s right good people of England, you can’t be trusted to use umbrellas because you might poke someones eye out.

I have a few issues with this the main one being as I just mentioned.

What happened to common sense?

Before all the people who feel they have to justify the rule by telling me ‘umbrellas can be used as a weapon’ or ‘they block peoples view’ or ‘the last time you went to a concert the artist was harpooned by a stray umbrella’ let me just say, I don’t care. Because while they took the time to carefully list:

No cameras.
No video or sound recording equipment.
No glass bottles.
No cans.
No tables.
No anything else you might like to do or think about doing or think about thinking about doing
The event will continue regardless of weather conditions unless they are severe.

They most certainly did not include ‘No Umbrellas’. And had they done so I would have been a little better prepared than just wearing my wellies and a warm coat. Like maybe worn some water proof trousers and a hat or a big bloody bin liner. The fact that Health and Safety determined that it was acceptable for a few thousand people to pay £35 each to turn up and sit in a field in pouring rain and get soaking wet goes beyond any sensibility I can imagine. How the hell do you enjoy your evening like that? Probably by getting so rip roaring drunk that you don’t even feel it. But make sure you’re not achieving your drunken state by alcohol contained in glass or cans because glass and cans are NOT ALLOWED.

Why would you think that glass and cans are not allowed?

Pretty good missiles aren’t they, glass and cans and I imagine that Health & Safety made the decision people can not be trusted with them. So imagine my surprise when Wil returned from the drinks stall with a cup of hot tea and said ‘funny that, they’re selling drinks in cans over there’.

Are their cans softer when they get hurled into peoples heads?

This is the same cheeky business they carry out at the airport where they confiscate any kind of bottle or container you packed in your luggage but then happily sell you the identical item in the duty free section.

We watched our concert and after about 30 minutes of being sat in persistent drizzle we assumed the concert organisers turned the rain off, probably because sales of their own umbrellas weren’t as great as they’d anticipated. I know, how cynical of me. No more cynical than when we saw one of the multitude of security personnel leaning over a group of people congregated on a picnic blanket and assuming the conversation that was going on Wil leaned over and whispered

“Ello, I thought I saw someone over here crack a smile. There is NO smiling allowed. No smiling, no talking and definately no listening to the music or singing, we don’t allow that either”

And as funny as it was I couldn’t help thinking he was probably spot on.

Is it just me or in a day and age where we can’t be trusted with umbrellas at a rainy concert isn’t it getting a little bit out of hand? I mean when are people left to think for themselves these days? Kids aren’t allowed to have sports day if the grass is damp incase they slip over and they aren’t allowed to play conkers anymore incase someone gets hit by a piece of projectile conker. You can’t cross the road where you want to you have to use a crossing if there is one and I believe ‘jay walking’ in many places is actually a fineable offence. Health & Safety are responsible for the ridiculous zebra crossing that spans the width of the small road leading up to my office, which is at a dead end in a 5mph zone.

Health & Safety are raising a nation of idiots. A nation of drones who won’t ever have to think for themselves because its all done for them. Babies will be born and issued a rule book on how to live and what to do and these kids will grow up like robots because common sense will be a thing of the past.

The concert turned out to be quite good and so did the venue despite the watchful eye over every move but just before it finished I took an illegal photo of the stage and then we left just before it finished just so we could find our way out of the car park without anyone telling us which way to go! That’s called ‘getting our £35’s worth!’



  1. God – it really is ridiculous isn’t it? I don’t understand how it got to this…. years ago when I went to concerts in mud filled fields I’m pretty sure we had umbrellas and I don’t recall any umbrella related deaths in the whole week!! We must have been bizarrely careful without even realising 🙄

    I know Thetford too – when I read that I was all ‘NO way!’ my best mate lives in Ixworth 🙂

  2. foxsden said

    Same here..and surprisingly I’ve never taken someones eye out either! Next they’ll be replacing the mud with carpet at Glastonbury.

    Ixworth is about 15 miles from me as the crow flies. Cliché thing to say but small world innit!

  3. I’ll be down there again soon – was just there about 3 weeks ago – I’ll wave 🙂

    we went out in Bury – sweet little place I thought – quite like Lincoln actually, cobbly and quaint in parts…

    I went to Glastonbury I can’t exactly remember which year but it was either 98 or 99 I think… whichever was the really muddy one. We used umbrellas to do this like mud sledge thing… it was awesome 🙂

    those where the days when we didn’t see an umbrella and run screaming…

  4. foxsden said

    LMAO… scary things those umbrellas!

  5. Emperor Ming said

    Very moving post. Rains do these things to us

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