I AWOKE to a pattering.
Groggy from sleep I yawned and stretched, touched dim, damp canvas. Despite the telltale droplets beading its surface, it didn’t mean much at first with a pot-over murking my mind.
I unzipped from my sleeping bag and shivered in the cold, pulled on another T-shirt and jersey. Sam muttered in the corner but slept on. I crawled over him to exit.
Outside it was depressingly bleak for the middle of summer.
A flock of inky sheep crowded the sky, pressing low over oily trees. A foggy haze obscured much. A cold, steady rain fell, dead straight, hitting the ground in a rat-a-tat-tat of squishy splats. There was no wind, a small blessing, for vapour trails curled with my every exhalation.
It was all very strange.
I'd been primed on Gathering stories of magnificent sunshine, of bevies of brown bodies stomping away until they threw up thick dust clouds in a dance floor halo. But today, well today felt like you should be inside curled up with a good book.
Muttering a prayer to the festival gods, I ducked in under the tarpaulin. Jacob, dressed warm in a Swanndri, another ex-flatmate and good keen man from the south, was already up and about.
"Morning, Izz. I was just making coffee. You want one?"
"Yeah bro, cheers."
I sat on my couch, waking up. Jacob turned from the cook top, handed me one of two cups, and came to join me. We lit cigarettes and contemplated the gloom.
"Maybe it will all blow over?" I offered.
"Nah, I've done a bit of tramping around these parts. When the weather’s like this, it'll hang around a while. A couple of days, I reckon."
I looked at him. "Fark."
"Could be worse,” he said cheerfully. “You could have only brought a hammock like Charley.”
We laughed and wondered where Charley had gone.
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