Though it be madness, yet there is method in it. True enough. For the most part, I bear a charmed life and so it is, with gladness, that I journey to a garage in the back of beyond to meet a friend and a friend in waiting and to give back. Such is the nature of Greenbelt – and more particularly in this instance the site vibing team – that someone doesn’t stay a stranger for long. Hellos, hugs and suncream (yes, it’s one of those rare ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ days) are exchanged, a rapport is quickly established and the team work begins.
Having heaved all manner of gadgets, gizmos, whatsits and thingamebobs out of storage, the three of us gaze on the organised chaos in the moss at our feet, the sprawling array of technicolour and synthetic fibre and bargain market fabrics, mostly stitched but some yet to be and the only outside curiosity comes from a cat (literally, an actual cat).
Initially proud that a substantial portion of the flags, banners and bunting lengths on haphazard display was made by me, I am quick to realise that not all is as it should be and that, perhaps due to rain (yes, it has been known to rain at Greenbelt, once or twice), the strings have not been put away with quite the attention they needed. Thus the whirligig of time brings in his revenges and today we are forced to pull and heave, flip and twist, shake and wind with the occasional ‘do si do’ or round turn and two half hitches in order to straighten and rewind it. One manoeuvre could almost be mistaken for street dance. It’s quite a method. Quite an event. Quite a spectacle to the uninitiated. How does the joke go? How many site vibers does it take to untangle the bunting?….
Our big chief Saga, with a smile, produces doughnuts and Ribena (“other brands are available”) out of a bag like a magician would a rabbit out of a hat. A dish fit for the gods* but then she’s good at that. Saga looks after her team. The birds are chattering and chirpy in the ancient woodland ‘out t’back’ and the sun, for now, is making the fabrics shine. I catch a glimpse in my mind of how it will all look again in August, adorning the Glade, the Forge, the Big Top. We are happy if a bit grubby. We few, we happy few. I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it (and not waste in fact). And the best part? There is always room for more volunteers.
I know what you’re thinking: why would I want to spend my time unravelling something? Furthermore, why would I want to spend my time unravelling something that is then going to be wound up again? Isn’t it all just a bit ‘John Maynard Keynes’? But you see we’ve done that now for this year. 2016 bunting prep check. All neatly tidied away check, ready for Saga, for me, for the team, for you – yes, you – to string up around the Greenbelt site to bring out the beauty and the potential and the merriment and the mindfulness. The pretty madness to add to the splendid method. As volunteer jobs go, it’s one of the nicest. If you like to look on your end results and smile, then this is the team for you. Volunteer – it can be a little bit mad but what’s a bit of madness between friends?
* Not a heresy, but a quote from Shakespeare – of which there are several in here, for no other reason than that I like him, it’s his big anniversary and he says good stuff. Feel free to find and identify them all. There might be a prize – a roll of bunting and some cable ties?
To read about opportunities to volunteer on our wonderful site vibing team, click here.