The sun’s been out for most of the day and Shambala’s looking beautiful, with people in colourful costumes everywhere. I’m not doing a show today so I’m able to relax properly.
Captain Hotknives did have a show though, a solo set in the Wandering Word tent. This is a lovely big yurt and it’s a place where I’ve watched amazing stuff before. It’s very cosy and everyone takes their shoes off when they come in.
The tent was packed for the Captain’s performance. I got out of my wheelchair and sat on the floor and Pete sat in it instead. I enjoyed watching everyone being extra nice to him as they squeezed by. Very quickly we were well and truly wedged in.
The show was fantastic, and very funny. But half way through I realised I needed the loo – very urgently! Baclofen, the regular medication I take, is a muscle relaxant and it relaxes everything – including my bladder – so when I need a wee I don’t have much time.
I’ve been trying really hard not to make any stupid decisions during the Festival. I’ve been eating healthily, watching how much I drink, and trying not to take silly risks. So who knows what came over me in the Wandering Word yurt when I made a ridiculous decision. Unfortunately Pete and Eoin, who’ve been supporting me wonderfully, didn’t know me quite well enough to tell me I was being stupid.
What I did was decide that rather than trying to get my wheelchair out of the packed tent, I’d crawl out and go round the back for a wee. I massively overestimated my own mobility and it was much tougher, slower and more dangerous than I expected. To top it off I didn’t even make it in time.
In one respect we were lucky with the timing of my rash decision, because ten minutes later there was a huge downpour. Had this happened during my three-hundred-metre crawl the whole event would’ve been even more stressful.
I was soon reunited with my wheelchair and we rushed back through the rain to our tent, with Eoin pushing at speed and Pete running alongside. As we rushed past a bakery stall Pete had a load of free cheese straws thrust into his hand. Once I’d sorted myself out a bit we sat in the Accessible Camping Area marquee eating cheese straws and waiting for the rain to pass while Fran carefully pointed out what an idiot I’d been.
After this error of judgement I gave Eoin and Pete a mandate to tell me not to be ridiculous if I suggested anything as stupid again. I made much better choices for the rest of the evening and we had a wicked time.
Lots of other venues that had proved quite difficult to get in and out of last year were much easier this time. The big dance venue, Kamikaze, which gets so packed it’s impossible to get a wheelchair in, has an amazing new viewing platform. The ramp starts outside the tent and leads to the platform inside. You get a brilliant view and there’s plenty of space to dance. This meant I could throw some crazy shapes in comfort.
It’s great to see how accessibility at Shambala is improving each year and to know that the needs of disabled festival-goers are being taken into account more and more.