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The 11th Bungay Balls Up
22-May-2010 to 31-May-2010
The Bungay Balls Up is an exceptionally chilled out festival held annually at Hulver farm in Suffolk. Photos, reviews & more can be found on the Bungay Balls Up festival website
Nicky & I turned up mid afternoon, to an already pretty busy buttercup field. We were welcomed by Charlie who pointed us towards Void who took our money & gave us a pair of crocheted buttercups courtesy of FAK Industries Inc. We sat around for a bit saying hello to various old friends. In a peak of activity we pitched our tent near the far corner.
We didn't really do a great deal on the first day other than say hello to people. The pace of life slowed noticeably pretty much as soon as I'd parked the car giving me a much needed relaxing break. Here follows a few notes from the field.
I enjoyed my first epic game of croquet with Void, Matt & Simon. On the surface my opponents were very gracious, helping me out with the rules & advice, but underneath it all they were as ruthless as could be. There were multiple postings, including an unlucky Matt at hoop 11. When Simon managed to get through the final hoop we all mounted a united defence forcing Simon to play most of his shots from deep within the buttercups. He even helped us out by playing a shot from out of the rough on one side, all the way across the pitch & into croquet set bag. I managed to achieve a personal record of hoop 11 before we all ran out of roquets & Simon sealed his win.
In the evening I joined Ewan, Becky, Arron, Jane, Richard & Duncan for a session of Saboteur which featured some fantastic double bluffing. We then moved onto playing Bonanza, the object of which is to earn money by planting crops of different beans, Ewan delighted in the fact that at times the trading aspect of the game was too much for me to take.
Tom, Void & I swang kendamas about for quite a while. We played a few rounds of Battle - a kendama game still in its prototype stage. Each player is dealt a hand of cards which either have a challenge or an action card. Challenge cards specify certain tricks & a score, the harder tricks earn the player more points. Action cards are used to force your opponent to repeat a difficult trick or set yourself the task of repeating a trick five times to gain more points. The winner is the player with the most points after all cards have been played. Shockingly I managed to win two rounds.
In the evening we enjoyed some very nice venison sausages in red onion gravy. Very nommy.
Ewan & Plumsie had assembled the hot tub again this year which was as enjoyable as ever. Well done guys.
We took a quick trip into town to drop off some recycling & pick up some more food.
In the afternoon I had a second game of croquet, as part of the grand Bungay Croquet Tournament. My opponents were Simon, Void & Ian. It was another very long game lasting over two hours, again there were lots of postings, 3 of them for The Void. I managed to punt through more hoops than ever, unfortunetely most of the time I was going the wrong way to get myself in position. Simon won again.
I entered the marquee in the morning to find a trebuchet had been constructed from a pair of chairs, a bamboo cane & an industrial sized baked bean tin filled with a set of boules.
In the evening I enjoyed an extended game of volleyclub. I faced off against Bungle, Glyn, Matt & Charlie, with Tom, Rob & Abbi. Our communication was excellent, or as Tom commented, "you mean we each know each other's names?" The highlight of the game for me was managing to continue a two in one hand juggle while trapping the volleyclub between my elbow & my body & remain standing long enough for Rob to grab the club & continue the point.
Later on I had another enjoyable dip in the hot tub with Plumsie, Tom, Sarah & Nicky. Afterwards I gingerly stepped into the strange caravan for my first ever sauna. From the outside it looks like an abandoned caravan, although the extended chimney & the sheep's wool insulation in the window give a hint as to what goes on inside. The interior on the other hand is fantastically kitted out with a big stove, pine benches & shelves for neatly stacking naked jugglers. People kept coming in until we had a total of twelve bodies squeezed in. I really enjoyed the social aspect & it does make your skin feel softer afterwards, but the rivers of sweat from all over my body & the chill of getting out & dashing to the shower weren't very pleasant for me. Hot tub FTW.
I did a bit of passing with Anne & Glyn, we spent quite some time trying to work out how to juggle an Irish Shamrock which I vaguely remembered being taught to me by Lynne last year. We got pretty close, but we later found out that we were trying to do the 5 club version with 6 clubs.
Bungle really didn't get on with Fluxx at all.
In the evening we had another marathon Saboteur session to the background cheers, oohs & ahs from the poker tournament. It was a significant way into the next day when I went to bed, at which point the game was being dominated by 'Chipzilla' Beckah.
I was quite surprised to learn that a very smug Ewan was the eventual winner.
I had a good long session with seven balls which was feeling very good.
A lot of people went off site to watch Sarah & Matt perform with Circus Ferrell who were pitched nearby. Arron, Nicky, Glyn, Anne & myself were far too engrossed in a game of Robo Rally to be distracted though.
Later on I had a good passing session with Matt where he retaught me PPSZSPPS/PPSPPZS & we also did PPZPP/PPPPZ which felt very nice once we had them running.
The weather took a turn for the worse, but because the wind was blowing when ever the rain ceased the sky was full of kites.
With the help of Lynne, Anne, Glyn & I finally managed to get the Irish Shamrock running & managed to add the sixth club too.
In the evening it was time for the show. Ken Pretentious took on the job of compere, there was far too much getting the kids involved & two instances of parents intervening to stop their children getting even more embarrassed or tormented. Matt performed a number of four & five ball siteswaps, a nice run of a six ball half shower. The Void blew the audience away by performing Walk the dog with a yo yo. Tom Derrick did his excellent tennis routine with oversized tennis balls & a stringless racket. Spiro Circus played with Spiro the stuffed dragon, this was a kid's act most notable for the heckle, "Come on Spiro, tell everyone you're gay". Monte & Mamph did some very nice hat & club passing. Sarah Biskup was strangely dressed & painted like a cat & performed a nice high energy ring & ball routine finishing with a six ring pull down. Star of the show was undoubtedly Matt Hennem with his superb body popping contact routine. Martin & Mamph strode on stage with dayglo clubs & matching belts for lots of very difficult passing patterns, I noticed that they tend to just do one or two odd throws as a transition rather than stop juggling & argue for ten minutes in between each pattern like we do at TWJC. Finishing the show were Rob Fiery & Annette Gliwa who just about managed to get Ken off the stage in time for a well choreographed gloclub juggling & passing routine.
After the show it was back to Montegriffo's for a very nice steak & ale pie. Again very nommy.
The wind was a lot stronger today & was blowing our tent into very alarming shapes. After checking the forecast we reluctantly made the decision to leave a day earlier than planned. We heroically wrestled our tent down just in time to avoid the rain again in the early afternoon. A little later on there was a quick call for volunteers to help reassemble the camp kitchen tent which had been blown over, as I was hanging on to a guyline while the stakes were relocated I decided it was probably the right decision.
I took over possesion of the MagiClub from Bungle, he'd been filming a few tricks all week (drinking from a glass while balancing the club on the rim proved popular) & we finished it off with me juggling three clubs then throwing the club to be caught by Bungle in the tube. It was such a shame we weren't filming the inevitably flawless first practice attempt.
I had one last passing session with Anne, Ian & Cedric where I showed them how to do the 'everybody does 3 count feeding' pattern. No one believed it would work until it did.
Thanks again to Charlie & Alex, Farmer Paul & Family, The Void & Alice, Monte & everyone else who helped put on the festival.