Branchage. 2009. Jersey. Challenge. All things I’d never encountered before (except 2009, I’ve very much been there and still dwelling, it’s quite nice and getting busy.)
Journey started from Hertfordshire surrounded by the debris of my bathroom and many cupboards in my bedroom. Our bathroom is in the process of being ‘done up’ and because I’m technically not there it’s where all the crap goes. Next stop was Gatwick which I’d not been to in about 10 years since I was a younger spritely over-eager child heading to Disneyland. A lot has changed since then. Then it was time to board my Flybe plane and head to Jersey. I was sat next to the emergency door and upon seating myself I looked up to see a very friendly flight attendant explaining to me that because I was sat next to the emergency door I was now in charge of it. I’ll give her credit she did ask me if I minded and I thought it would be rude to say no and be a slacker if our plane came into difficulty, I mean she probably has several things she needs to do in her job description as our plane hurtled towards water. So I said, “of course”. She then proceeded to explain to me what I needed to do and I’ll be honest my mind was wondering. First of all to how tired I felt and then secondly I was trying to think of how many people were on my flight (approx. 12) and if they would do the same for me. It’s safe to say my mind and attention drifted during those vital moments of information but I managed to hone back in when she pointed out that there was a row of pictures telling me how to open the door if it came to it. They were handily stuck to said door. She waltzed off and I spent the next 10 minutes staring at them so I didn’t get stage fright if we were to get into difficulty. After those 10 minutes I promptly feel asleep.
It was a short flight as you’d imagine.
JERSEY! I’VE LANDED ON YOUR SOIL! Now let’s do something.
I then wandered out of the baggage reclaim room (I say room because it was dark and there was only one conveyor belt to reclaim luggage) and waited for my bag. There was a small clump of people chatting away next to me and it was only in hindsight as we all sat in an orange VW camper van that we were all going to the same place. I was told I was being picked up by one of the organisers of the festival but I didn’t know who. So I collected my bags and then sat down. I knew this was going to be one of the few moments I could steal to do such a thing.
Then my mobile excitedly told me via text that calls and texts to and from my mobile were going to cost a small mortgage and I should do something about it. I was given a choice of three service providers of only one actually gave me signal. JTWave it was. Thieving bastards.
I digress… Unknowingly I was sitting near the gaggle of chattering folk again when my mobile rang. “Hallo Katie, Phil’s at the airport waiting to pick you up, do you know what he looks like?” To which I responded, “Does he wear a hat and have a beard and glasses?” To which they responded, “It’s Phil, he always wears a hat!”
(I have to point out I’d actually seen Phil standing in front of me, nay more than 4 feet, call up said Lady and say I don’t know what Katie looks like. But I didn’t want to jump the gun, it could have been another Katie and plus I’d just given up the responsibility of an emergency door so was feeling emotionally warped.)
“Hi… Are you Phil?”
Voila! We’re all walking to the van and I end up talking to two Lovely peeps who are there to do some recording for the festival and work in the office. We talked about their pet rat Oz of which is utterly cute and then I proceed to talk aimlessly about how I’ve always wanted a pet rat and tell them about the man in Bournemouth who has a pet rat who sits on his shoulder as he walks around town. His girlfriend has a pet squirrel who did the same and they used to sleep together and play nicely (I meant the pets but then again it also covers the humans). Then there was the Lovely man who I met in Edinburgh in his pub last year who had a pet rat (Martha) who fell asleep in my scarf just in the crook of my neck and his pet hamster (can’t remember, inferior pet to me ) who fell asleep in the crook of my arm.
Once again I digress…
And then I realise through our random chatter that the man they were huddled around chatting to and the man now asking me what I’m here for is that of James Mulligan, Creative Director of Shooting People. How can I explain James? … He’s incredulously witty and has an air of childlike fancy about him; he could talk himself out of any given situation and he’s willing to pick you up and take you along the way. He’s just plain funny and extremely happy to give you the time. I thought it quite rude to start taking photographs of him seeing as I was practically sitting on his lap at the time so here’s a face to put to his name. The photograph is from the launch of the festival so credit goes to someone else who took this. ALSO he’s standing next to Xanthe Hamilton who is the brainchild of the entire festival:
That was the last time I saw both James and Phil (and indeed the Lovely rat people, I’m bad because I’ve forgotten their names… Fred and _____) until the Sunday at the closing gala. To which both of them exclaimed to me, “God, I’ve not seen you since the airport, you look strangely awake considering”.
Then I kept getting phonecalls about the car from Vauxhall. Let me put this into perspective:
There was the opportunity to win a new shiny nugget of a car for the duration of the festival which I mentioned in one of my previous blogs. That was fine and Lovely because I won said opportunity. Then I had a bit of a kerfuffle of organising the car because I had to supply my details and sign terms and conditions and then fax machines weren’t working and post men on strike… And just when we finally got things sorted I gave them the address of where I needed the car to be dropped off… Only for them to baulk at the idea of it going to Jersey.
Apparently the persons I was dealing with didn’t know the sponsorship opportunity they had was located in Jersey and it was apparent that it may cause a bit of a problem from the lengthy pause on the phone*. Many more phonecalls later and there was a well-planned discussion about Vauxhall paying for me to get the ferry and have the car even earlier (coincidentally where I live is the village along from where they were situated) but it would involve me getting about £10 back from cancelling my flight and driving to Portsmouth at 4am in the morning and spending 9 hours on a ferry with a car I’d never driven before.
… Instead they kindly said they’d have to send someone over to drop the car off and then do the same when I’d finished with it. In this muddle of miscommunication they’d completely ignored my plea that I’d be able to collect the car at 2pm. The poor Lady they’d sent (Margaret) was calling me at 10am asking when I’d be there. Oh the hilarity! We decided it best for her to leave the car and keys at the campsite where she’d been patiently waiting for 2 hours already and would be waiting for a further 2 hours if she wanted to meet me face to face. She was absolutely fine and not at all narky with me considering, in fact she was super duper chipper and I can only presume that this rubbed off from the Lovely Lady at the campsite who was extremely Lovely herself.
I ended up back at the airport being driven by Phil which is where I saw, striding out into the gleaming sunshine suited and booted with kit in tow, my brethren the Blaine Brothers. We set off into town which is where we met Alex and Sean and I had my first encounter with the Monopoly money that Jersey trade in and eventually at the campsite. This is a photograph I pilfered from Ben which he took when they were playing with their new toys like good excitable children.
*Vauxhall did know about it being in Jersey, it just so happened that the people I were dealing with did not. I’m sure they have a lot more things to worry about on their plate at the moment.