The Festivals in Cheltenham are now in full swing, the Jazz Festival successfully under our belts and The Wychwood Festival finishing last Sunday. The Wychwood, based on Cheltenham Racecourse covers music, comedy, cabaret, workshops and cinema, and had a lucky break in the weather for the Saturday and Sunday. The days before had been particularly wet and windy and we had some exhibitors staying at Hanover House (www.hanoverhouse.org), including one who had been camping on the racecourse until driven to more civilized surroundings by the weather.
Next on the festival list comes the Science Festival, based in the Imperial Gardens in Cheltenham in a tented village, but incorporating the Town Hall for the central arena of interactive stands, experiments and displays. The current band of extreme (wet) weather (with the occasional sunny break) threatens to make things a bit damp unless it clears away quite soon but it won’t affect the quality of the presentations, many already being featured in the press and on BBC radio. Hot (curried or beverages) on the heels of the Science Festival comes the Food and Drink Festival for which the tents have already been erected on Montpellier Gardens.
At Hanover House (www.hanoverhouse.org) we have guests who will be visiting these Cheltenham delights, but in addition Veronica and I will be hosting the Bristol contingent of grandchildren while their parents take a break. With the Science Festival we will probably take them over to try and get them interactively involved in some of the juvenile science – perhaps a Van Der Graaf to make their hair stand on end? Anyway it’s something for them to look forward to – even if they don’t understand what it’s all about. The Oxford and Sunningwell contingents might join us too, which with children’s early introduction to technology these days might just interest them.
Later in the summer come the Music and Green Belt festivals, and then there’s an interval before the Autumn and our favourite, the Literature Festival. We have had several guests very recently who have gone on to the Hay-on-Wye Literature Festival which is almost as popular as Cheltenham’s. One of the participants was apparently Terry Pratchett, one of my favourite fantasy authors, who has not appeared at Cheltenham for the last couple of years since he was diagnosed with Alzheimers. I hope he makes it this year. When I attended last year’s festival, I spoke briefly to AS Byatt who had written a book on Norse myths titled ‘Ragnarok’ and she said that Terry Pratchett was one of her favourite authors too, one of the few who actually made her laugh out loud when she was feeling a bit down. We could all do with that from time to time in these straitened economic circumstances….