Things To Get You Wet...

Being that this is the United Kingdom, and being that it's the tail-end of summer, the weather is pretty wonky.  To be fair, it has been pretty wonky all summer long, and "damp" is probably being quite generous.

Last weekend, the future-0dd-mother-in-law (she that irons pillowcases) took us to something different... You Americanos might scoff, but Open Air Cinema is not something that is a regular occurrence in these parts.  For reasoning, see paragraph one.  However, Diane had managed to book tickets to see Avatar on one of the local nature reserves. Blanket, coat, picnic, flask o' tea, sorted...

All was booked for Saturday.

Friday afternoon, she comes to collect Molly, and my laptop is open, displaying the weather - not through any sneaky reasons, it just happened to be on my homepage. Friday night, rain. Saturday daytime, occasional rain. Saturday night, rain and wind.
Diane: "Oh, I don't think that weather is right, the one I looked at said it'd be nice Saturday"
Me: "Really? The three I've seen today have all said rain for tomorrow..."
Diane: "But the BBC Weather..."
Me: "That's the BBC Weather you're looking at..."
Diane: "Oh... Maybe it's wrong then. We'll go by the weather report I saw yesterday."
Now, you may be forgiven in thinking this is a conversation with Kellie, but at least you can see A) Where she gets it from, and B) What I have to put up with...

So, Saturday dawns, I check the weather, and it's still showing rain for tonight. It IS, however, quite warm, so I throw shorts on and a jumper, and after Kellie purchases the worlds supply of food (bearing in mind, we're going for an evening) we set about making the picnic.

Diane comes and gets us, and the sky is, shall we say, a very interesting shade of grey.  Rainy Cloud Grey, you might call it... And we head off to Canvey. Five minutes before the arrive at the Canvey Marshes, it starts to rain a little bit.  "It's only drizzle, don't worry..." she says.

We get in, and are told to sit where we like.  I should also point out at this point, that I am carrying two packs of food, five chairs, and a blanket.  Pack Mule Dan.  We decide where to sit in relation to the inflatable screen, pop the chairs up and....

Down comes the rain.  Proper, wet, blown-by-the-strong-wind rain.  Kellie and Diane are wearing their waterproof coats, as are the kids.  I don't own a waterproof coat. Diane produces a sheet of tarpaulin for the kids to hide under, and gives me a brolly.  A brolly, I should add, that is very wonky, and pretty much stood in front of me so I don't get wet - the rain is coming down horizontally.

And it is pissing down.  Full on raining.

For SOME reason, the field starts to fill up, despite the pouring rain.  One group pop up a little tent, and Diane has the cunning plan of calling Jon (The future-0dd-step-father-in-law) and getting him to bring THEIR tent.  Fifteen minutes, he says he'll be. So Mother & Daughter run off to wait "by the car" which I am still certain translates to "Sit In The Warm Dry Car"

They were missing for about 45 minutes. Me and the kids were sat in the rain trying not to drown.  Then slowly, it petered out and stopped properly raining, and just spatter-rained.  Off to one side, a really bright rainbow puts in an appearance - brighter than it appears in this photo - and we oooh and aaah at that. My legs are soaked, my boots are soaked (but dry on the inside, thank you Karrimore!) and, 0ddly, my arms are soaked.  Dom & Molly have soaked coats, Molly has soaked everything in fact because she kept getting out from under the tarp, and Dom has just minorly damp jeans.

Then eventually, Mother & Daughter roll back into the field.  Watching the two of them put up the "tent" was most amusing with the wind, but they didn't need my help.  And when I say "tent" I mean "Windbreak That Is Questionable In Its Waterproofness"  There are also no pegs, so we decide to weigh it down.

Kids Cowering Sheltering
With the kids.

They are thrown in there along with their couple of bags (which contain blankets) and their food is poured in, their flasks of hot chocolate handed to them, and we sit.

Being that Smart Moi is in shorts, I'm a bit chilly, so have a cuppa and put Kellies woolly jumper on my legs - she's got a thick coat on which doesn't do up with the jumper under it.  So, claimed.

The movie, it turns out, can't come on yet.  Too bright. Have to wait for the Burning Orb That Is The Sun to go do, which, just to take the piss, is now out and mocking us with it's warmth.  "Here you go, warm up, because I'm doing a running in a minute just under the horizon!"

I'm stood up now, I figure that if I move around a bit, I'll warm up in no time. So, I'm up, effectively dancing on the spot trying to get some of that warm blood-stuff in my body to do it's circulatory thing and take warmth all around my body.  As much as I wanted to see the movie, I didn't want to watch the movie while suffering from hypothermia.

Of course, I am sure the others would have found it highly amusing. But I refuse to die for the amusement of others.

A Very pretty Sunset
SLOW-as-you-like, the sun starts to fall out of the sky, but, being that I am ever-so-eagle eyed, I spy the fresh bank of big, dark, ominous, wet-looking clouds that are looming on the horizon.

And to make matters worse, they are approaching with alarming speed.  I point see them, turn, point them out to those that care listening, and turn back, only to see them much much closer now.

Being that the sunset is quite pretty, I take several photographs of it. One, because I am still up and about doing the random-dance in order to get a teeny bit warmer, and two, because I wanna.

All this time - despite the previous, current, and expected weather - people are turning up into this sodding field, setting up their camping chairs and tents and blankets and picnics and everything else, and all I can think of is that I've accidentally joined some Camping Cult that, at the end of the field, will simultaniously commit suicide by throwing itself on a sharpened Thermos Flask.

Bane of my Life...
Well not this person, nu uh.  The movie is yet to start (Avatar, remember - nearly three hours of blue giants running around) and already I am cold and damp.  Figuring this may be my last day on earth, I get a photo of those responsible for my untimely demise for the forensic teams to use should the need arise.

Hopefully the poor couple behind us will be helped by this photograph being published too...

After a few minutes of taking this photo, the heavens opened (again) and I scurried for my chair/jumper/brolly combo.  With the kids in the tent, however the tarpaulin was now free. As was the blanket.

I get a bit of both in an effort to stay warm (ish) and dry (ish) and to see what's happening on the screen.  Oh yes, plus I wear glasses so they are covered in water as well.

Kellie hears the word "Free" and is off like a shot, and around us, I see people donning what appear to be Medical Waste Bags. Over here in the UK, our rubbish is categorised by the colour of the sack it's placed in, and as far as I could see, everyone around us was donning medical waste bags - bright yellow rubbish sacks.  They were giving these away for free, so Kellie grabbed one and made suggested I put it on to help stay dry.

Still no movie, I should add.

Now, dear reader, you should try to picture me.  I am sat in a field. Wearing shorts and boots. Part of my legs are covered in a greenish jumper. Part of my body is wrapped in a blue blanket. Another part of my body is wrapped in striped tarp. I am also wearing a hooded yellow plastic bag. And sunglasses.  AND I'm shivering like a little dog in a public place.

THEN Kellie hands me some food.  THAT was easy to eat...

Finally we have some form of movement from the organisers, and a lady comes on the loudspeaker and thanks us all for braving the weather - there are four HUNDRED people sat in this field. She goes on about some of the stuff the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protect of Birds) do on the marshes, and then gets the film going.

Almost - first there's the ten minute random clips of random critters - prolly making sure the projector hadn't been washed away I suppose.

Now it's virtually dark, and Avatar goes on.  Most people cheer.  My teeth chatter. Saves on energy chewing the cheese sandwich I suppose.

AND the rain stops!  It's still bloody windy, BUT the rain has stopped!

I love Avatar.  I think it's a brilliant movie (even if it is just Pocahontas with blue people) but can't help notice how cold I am.  And such is my shivering, that Kellie notices too.  The entire blanket is bundled around me, the jumper is wrapped around my legs, but I am still made to wear the clinical waste coat.  Tea is pushed my way, as is food and sweeties, but I remain shivering for the entire movie.  Proper full-on whole-body juddering.  I've gotten damp, and now the wind is blowing through me and stealing my body heat, so I am a coooold Dan...

I am good - I don't check a watch nor a clock nor a phone - I just go with it. I'm enjoying the movie, and after all how often do you get to sit in a marsh in the black of night watching a film on a blow-up cinema screen while soaked to the skin and shivering in the blowing rain all while eating a picnic.

In September.

The last scene in the movie flashes on the screen for it's two-seconds, but already I am up, out and moving.  I am packing up, clearing up, folding up and generally grabbing whatever belongs to us.  I NEED to get to the car and I NEED to get that heater on.

Like the wind that has been gnawing at me all evening, I am moving like a thing possessed, and do believe we packed up quicker than it took us to dump everything out.

No sooner are we back in the car and the engine is warm, I've got the vents aimed at me, full heat, full force.  But I'm dead on the inside. My body is all gross and corpsified, and the journey home doesn't warm me up.  By the time we get in, it's nearly 11pm. Kids are thrown into their respective beds, and I am cranking up the heating, the rads and throwing myself into bed with Kellie.  I decide the best course of action is to steal her body warmth. 

Despite being cold and wet and shivering, we all had a brilliant night.  Next time (!!) I think I will wear a couple of pairs of everything I own, PLUS the blanket and tarpaulin. And a hot water bottle too ;)

But the evening did teach me one thing... No, nothing to do with my attire... No, it taught me that the Great British Public will sit through till the bitter end if they have paid for something in advance.  It doesn't matter how much rain fell out of the sky onto us, it doesn't matter if the wind blew the first three layers of our skin off, we paid for those tickets, so we will bloody well get our moneys worth out of it!!

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3 Responses to “Things To Get You Wet...”

GreenCastle said...

Oh Dan, this is soooo funny. Especially as we talked about going but the weather put us off.... ROFL
It is a good film though and i was slightly dissapointed in missing it.
You do have to question the sanity of the organisers... lets see we can be fairly sure of no rain in June, July and August... lets put it on in September then. I wonder if they will do it again for Christmas, maybe with Polar Express....

Adullamite said...

Outdoor cinema and a mum in law that irons pillowcases.....?

Dan said...

James, you should have cone regardless, was a great evening. Yes, they could have done it a bit earlier in the summer, but then, its not been great at all this year ;)

Adullamite, I think it doesn't bode well for my future... They say if you want to know what your wife will be like in twenty years, look at her mum...

On the bright side, at least I know I'm going to have PLENTY to blog about in the coming years!