Another year gone, another Whitsun bank holiday (what it used to be called), another Ruffits. As my reader will recall from last year we went to a field in the middle of the Sussex countryside to camp/caravan, sing, drink, eat and sit around a bonfire: heaven.
Of course this year the mix is pretty much the same: music, drinking, fire, outdoor eating etc, but the dynamic changes every year. More younger people are coming, mainly because their parents or their parents friends brought them along, then other friends are invited and so the cabal grows. This year Lenny and Jane, Carol and Jeremy, Patricia and Robin, Ian and Sarah and their progeny and friends all appeared, along with the ‘Welsh’ contingent dragged along by Lee, Lenny’s son, with Julian and Brian en famile. I’m sorry if I’ve missed anybody by name, but there were also quite a few whose name either escapes me, or I don’t know.
We didn’t arrive until the Saturday afternoon, when most were well established having arrived on Friday, some in the early hours. We got there on a overcast day, and put up our awning:
It’s very comfortable but not as practical as the caravan we borrowed last year from our neighbours. We’ve used this awning a few times, and it is huge and quite easy to put up. So we finessed the set-up on the Saturday afternoon and fired up the mini BBQ for the evening meal, then it’s fire time! It’s not always essential to get there first in order to secure the best spot, because everyone moves out as newcomers arrive, especially if the fire get really hot.
Then it’s the usual turn and turn about for songs, some old some new some self-penned (which I did) and very good renditions all round. Some of the talent on show is just awesome; Britains Got Talent? Pah, not a patch on Ruffits-in-the-field! Unfortunately the rain started in the early hours and turned into a torrent, so by 2.00am everyone had more or less dispersed to sleep off the beer. The following morning the sun shone bright and cheerful, and stayed like it for the rest of the day and night:
…even I got me shorts on! Shame about the legs though. Anyway I went for a walk in the afternoon, while a few went to the pub (see Ruffits May 2013). The sun was shining and it is a lovely quiet area:
After coming back and heating up the chilli, it was fire time again, and this time we all had a good old sing-song and the night stayed clear. But after the previous late night, we were relatively early this time. As usual all the acts sung well, and there was some surprising talent on view. The next day the heavens opened slightly and by mid-morning had become a deluge. There was no way of getting the ten down and pack away dry, so we went for it and packed away wet. The rest were all doing the same while jeremy restored the fire pit back to grass. I like to think we are all ecologically sound in that we don’t leave anything behind except our memories, and we don’t cause any damage. It’s a nice place to be.
So the short journey home, and leave the unpacking until a clearer day to dry all the wet stuff off. All the preparation to go takes a few days beforehand and afterwards it takes time to clear up and pack away (in our case to come out again for the Boar’s Bridge Festival in June) but it’s all worth it; meeting with old (and some not so old) friends and enjoying time together in the same conditions, it’s a real cathartic releases.
Where Carol used to organise Ruffits three times a year, it’s done to the one weekend, so roll on next year and hope for better weather! See you all then, if we’re spared!