Last year’s Greenbelt was held in between the week of the identification of ‘suspicious cells’ and confirmation of breast cancer. It was also very sunny – so was quite a different one for me – I spent a lot of it sitting on the bank in the sunshine, talking to friends, and contemplating life. So it’s was quite ‘interesting’ to go back this year knowing that nearly a full year has passed – and a whole heap of friends were there for extra big hugs!
This year’s plan was to take it gently – I had appointments at the hospital on the Friday morning, and then drove to Moulton College (£114 for up to 4 nights, including cooked breakfast and fruit). It’s basic student accommodation, and around a 30 minute commute (to the site entrance + another 5+ minutes to get on + quite a long walk from day parking), but I was warm, clean and able to sleep – and full of food until around 5-6pm when I could choose from one of the food trucks:
I managed to find a few friends on walking through the site (one of my friends jokes that getting across Greenbelt with me takes ages cos I know too many people), shared a rotisserie chicken half with a friend whilst we waited for the marvellous Kate Bottley to do some cooking mixed with chat (much comedy):
The laughter from that was a great set up for the weekend, as I’m feeling quite bleak quite a lot of the time (new drugs maybe, or just body stress), and I headed back for a good sleep (woken up twice because I was too warm – never had to say that at Greenbelt when in a tent!).
Headed down for breakfast 9.30am (they serve til 10am) – I found the red fruit afterwards (there was other options too, but a full English always going to get my vote):
Drove in, took a while to queue up to park, and found by the time I got down to Pagoda area that I’d already walked 2km! I enjoyed bumping into Bryony – and we enjoyed watching Jack Monroe in ‘Table’ (aka SharkBite, surely it needs renaming), before ‘dropping into’ Jesus Arms – then sitting there seeing various friends til 4pm!
Bryony and I then decided to have a go at Percussion:
She captured this picture of me looking a bit over-excited with a big drum:
Then it was back to the Jesus Arms, before queuing/watching some acrobatics, heading back via the main stage – and back to Moulton:
Made it up a bit earlier, in order to get in for 10am communion (always the highlight of Greenbelt, and always carried out with my Winchester housegroup):
If you want to watch the service, it was shared on Facebook Live (and Greenbelt have no plans to remove the video).
Feeling rather weepy, decided to go and join the St Martin’s in the Fields singers for some old time hymns, before being told the Pierce Brothers were worth a watch, and then heading onto the Jesus Arms:
It was then time to head over to the Tiny Tea Tent to catch up with Jenny Baker (author of ‘Run for your life: how one woman ran circles around breast cancer‘) and a few other friends, before watching Hyena, and catching up with Adam and Naomi back in the JA!
It was a struggle getting out of bed by this point, and looking at my step counter from the last few days (average 10-12k+ steps), made a vow to try and ease off a bit more today, so have enough energy to drive home tomorrow!
I headed down to partake in some wirework art, and then some clay ‘what do you want Greenbelt to look like?’ before debating where next. Hear ‘Bex Lewis’ from across the field, and there’s the lovely Kate Bottley 🙂 Then headed off to get some glitter done (Bekki Radcliffe’s suggestion), before checking out the stands for the organisations exhibiting:
Then ran into Bryony again, as we were both heading to the JA early, ready for Beer and Hymns (I’ve never been in the middle of it before, and wanted a seat!) – annoyingly the seats got taken outside about half-hour before it started but still good fun. Afterwards, headed off to hear Rebecca Stott talking about her book In the days of rain about leaving the Exclusive Brethren (my parents both left Exclusives, I grew up in Open Brethren):
Then it was time for the traditional final meal (Hog roast – WITH crackling please), hanging out with some friends, before watching Harry and Chis in the Big Top, chatting to a handful more people in the JA, and heading back to Moulton for another good night’s sleep!
Great final breakfast, into the car, still hadn’t sorted out WiFi at Moulton (will try earlier if back there next year), and stopped off at Shugborough Estate en route home (half my house is unusable whilst decorator is painting lounge-diner, with most furniture in the kitchen)!
Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst (Lion Hudson, 2014) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.