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And so to the Tent Palace…

of the Delicious Air. This will be the venue from tomorrow until Monday for the Poetry Swindon Festival (or is that the Swindon Poetry Festival? It seems to go by both names – part of its mystery!) I’m looking forward to being the “blogger in residence” for this year’s festival, which is still a true indie – none of the mainstream publishers appear to have discovered it yet – and I’m expecting a good sprinkling of Hilda Sheehan pixie-dust over events.

So, that tent. There’s a lot to unpack here: Tent. Palace. Delicious Air.

Tent: I’m not a great one for camping, and marquees bring up thoughts of wobbly floors, rain pattering on canvas and draughts. Then again, I’ve been in some posh tents in my time – the Charleston Festival tent has always involved potted plants, standard lamps and a range of soft furnishings in Bloomsbury prints, although sadly only on stage.

Palace: only slightly anxious about this one. I don’t have a ball gown or a tiara, but in these Harry-n-Meghan days jeans are probably OK. And thick woollies, of course (palaces are only slightly less draughty than tents).

Delicious Air: hmmm. Could be an ironic reference to a local farmer doing his muck-spreading, or possibly a nearby sewage works. Or maybe it refers to the fresh semi-outdoors ambience (must take woollies!!!). I just hope there are no vases of scented lilies.

But naturally I’ve done my research, and I see it’s a quote from Richard Jefferies’ The Open Air. The festival takes place at the Richard Jefferies Museum (his birthplace) at Coate. I hadn’t heard of Jefferies until I went to the 2014 Swindon Poetry Festival. The Wikipedia entry tells me he’s known for his nature writing, and another little detail jumped out at me – that he lived for a short while in Eltham, in South East London, where I grew up. Small world indeed.

I’ll be blogging about the festival events – workshops I’m going to, readings, the odd interview and maybe even some gossip – at the Festival Chronicle, so please do head on over there if you’d like to read all about it. I’m also hoping to fit in the odd nap (I can’t do the late nights like I used to!), a bit of in-room yoga, and I’ve heard there’s a swimming pool which I’m very happy about. I may well blog a bit here too, let’s see how it goes.

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