Selfish Saturday: The social animal purrs

invasion-colchester-iv-poster-a4Sometimes, just sometimes, running towards is better than running away.

Both this Saturday and the previous one were taken over by massive social occasions. Both times I was out with the family, I had to watch over the boy to keep him out of mischief, I was feeling rather under the weather (with those persistent headaches that refuse to budge even under medication)… and both times I actually had a great time.

I wasn’t going to miss Invasion Colchester, unless I was so poorly I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t miss any of its previous incarnations, and I wasn’t going to start now. We did run late and miss all the Doctor Who participants who were about in the morning, but the town milling with Stormtroopers and other assorted Star Wars personages (yes, the Dark Lord himself was there as well; he couldn’t possibly be excused), Ghostbusters, X-Men and space marines, among others, more than made up for it. The boy, who had been building up courage to get photographed with Darth Vader, chickened out at the moment of truth, but he still got to pose between Darth Maul and Leia, as well as with R2D2. Best of all, I got to actually watch the Ratnavali Tribal Collective perform – and allowed myself to hope that I’ll be able to train with them in their new space.

Today we headed off to the Chappel Beer Festival. Spousal unit used to attend pretty much every year, referring to it jokingly as an annual pilgrimage, but I’d never been. We opted for the ‘family day’ Saturday, so we could take the young one with us; Friday night is for the serious beer sampler, crowded, noisy, and something for the menfolk to go in a troupe, which wasn’t going to happen this year anyway.

It was… like a music festival without the music. (There would be live music, but we weren’t going to stay that late.) The younger people, who had come for the beer, hung out in groups around the bars. The families had moved into the campsite and sat around on the grass, eating and drinking, kids and dogs playing around. There was a hog roast, ferrets racing and being cute in between races, and generally the beer (cider, in my case) was the least of the reasons to enjoy myself there. The young one, who naturally had no beer but gorged himself on blue bubblegum ice cream and pink candy floss, had the best time of all. I believe that the chance to get three rides on the top deck of a double-decker bus, plus one on a proper train, would be enough for him… but the day was hardly over when he started looking forward to Halloween and the ‘spooky day with Thomas’ event the railway museum will be organising.

I was tired last Saturday. I was tired today. I needed a lie down and a nap before I could do anything about dinner. But I’m happy, and that says a lot. Back in Athens, when I was feeling blue, I used to flee to the shops and absorb the energy of the crowd. Here, that’s not nearly as easy – the shops are far away, and likely to be closed when I need such recharging. These two Saturdays, though, sandwiching a week with plenty of alone time again, have done more to balance me than anything I’d managed to do in a long time.

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