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Glastonbury fun

I talked a bit about my Glastomadrama at Glastonbury. It was pretty stressful even though it did all end well. But I thought I would just share a few photos as we had a really lovely weekend.

I was unsure as to whether we would make it at all as it was only 7/8 weeks after my surgery. But as Timm and my son were working there, it would have been pretty lonely at home. I am so glad I made it, even if I did have to rest a lot whilst we were there.

Sam and Timm Cleasby at Glastonbury festival

We had just the loveliest weekend. It’s been a really stressful time and to get some one on one time with Timm was pure joy. Charlie came with us (Eli is in Australia and Thom didn’t want to come so stayed with his bff) but he is nearly 19 so didn’t want to spend the whole time with us. He mainly just popped back for food, drinks or cash! So it was brilliant to get some time with Timm that was about nothing but fun.

Glastonbury flags

Glastonbury

If you haven’t been to Glastonbury, it’s like another world. A whole city of over 200,000 people, it is absolutely huge! My first Glasto was in 2000 when I was 6 months pregnant and this was my fifth time there. If you have an impairment or disability, then get in touch with the access team as soon as you have your tickets. You can talk through your needs and ensure you have things put in place to support you. Whether that is PA tickets, accessible camping, accessible toilets, disabled platform access or more, don’t assume that you won’t be able to enjoy a festival, have a look into what they can do to make it accessible to you.

she wee at festivals ileostomy bags

For me, it was all about access to the toilets so I knew I could get there at a moments notice and have the space and facilities to change my bag if needed. I didn’t use the accessible toilets unless it was necessary or an emergency. When you are facing a stinky, overflowing festival toilet, having a she wee and an ileostomy was a god send!! Stand up wees and poos for the win!!!

Glastonbury with a teenager

I’ve always taken the kids to festivals since they were babies but it is so different with an adult child! I have to say it was lovely to not have to worry too much about him. It was also great to have time to see bands we like together. He is an absolute doll that biggest bambino of mine!

Camping with an ileostomy, festivals with a stoma chronic illness and festivals

It was a HOT one! Temperatures were well into the 30s which made my ileostomy bag a bit of a nightmare. It was hot and sweaty and trying to keep hydrated was tough. I took some rehydration sachets with me (I always keep some in my kit bag, theyre my number one recommendation!) They were so useful in staying hydrated and well.

Your festival, your way

The main thing for me is to not fall into the FOMO trap and to listen to your body. As I was recovering from surgery and also just living with the aches, pains and fatigue of chronic illness, I know I need to rest. It is easy to feel that you have to do festivals a certain way, that it’s about going wild and being out all night. Or feeling you have to see every single band there.

The reality is that you do your festival your way. Sure, make a list of the bands you’d like to see, but also know that you probably wont see them all. And the things you don’t expect to see that you fall upon will be the best things ever.

Listen to your body and do what you need to do. For me, that meant missing Stormzy as the crowds were too big and I got quite anxious at the thought of being knocked in my stomach. But instead we went and sat in the stone circle and had a drink and watched the whole beautiful festival below us.

It meant going to bed at 9pm on the Saturday night because I was exhausted and in pain. But it was lovely, I had a cup of tea and read my book whilst listening to the Killers playing in the background. My Glasto might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it was right for me and that’s what is important.

relaxing at a festival chronic illness

The whole weekend was a joy and though at times it was tiring, I was so proud of myself for making it there.

Here’s to Glastonbury 2020!

Sam xx

My Glastonbury hero – there are still good people in the world

Let me tell you a story about how people are wonderful. A modern Glastonbury tale of social media and kindness.

In April this year, I had my 8th surgery in 5 years. We had Glastonbury tickets and I thought there was no chance of making it, I didn’t think I would be well enough to go.

But I did make it!! Thanks to the accessibility team for sorting me toilet and access route passes and my husband for tons of patience and support. If you are attending a festival, do check on their website for access information and get in touch with their team to discuss your needs. You can find Glastonbury’s Access information here. Also check out Attitude is Everything. Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music.

Anyway, I got there to the hottest glasto in a long time and my stoma started playing up. The stoma bags were peeling off and I went through 16 in 4 days. I think it was a mix of the heat, sweating, my still lumpy and uneven tummy and unfamiliar food.

Stoma problems

Usually I change my ileostomy bag every 2 or 3 days, so to be safe I packed 18 bags so I’d have loads spare. But by Saturday at Glastonbury I only had 2 bags left and my bag keeps leaking. I enter panic mode, how on earth have I gone through so many? Why didn’t I pack even more? Was I going to have to go home

We went to the medical tent but they didn’t have any ostomy bags. They suggested calling my supplier or going offsite to the nearest hospital and asking them. I called my supplier but they were closed till Monday. The thought of getting offsite and out to a hospital and then getting back seemed too much to bear.

So I decided to tweet my plight with the hashtag #glastomadrama and got 100s of retweets! Maybe just maybe, there will be someone here who has a few bags to spare? I’m panicking, this could be festival over. To get so far to get here then have to leave?! Gutted!

Then I got a phone call from BBC Sheffield – a woman has seen my tweet and called her dad. When he couldn’t get in touch with me, hed seen I present on the BBC and called them to give me his number!

My hero

He was at Glasto and has some spare ostomy bags! I can’t believe it, a knight in stoma bag armour!! We navigate a meet up, which anyone who has been to Glastonbury knows can take a long time and be a nightmare. We exchange text messages saying “I’m wearing a shirt with tigers on it and I’m outside the Caberet tent” and “I’m an old man wearing a flowery hat”!! Eventually we find eachother and he’s happy to give me the bags. But there’s a problem, the bags are in his campsite the other end of Glasto, maybe an hour or so walk. I feel a bit sick, I just don’t think I can manage the walk there and back.

So we went to the Welfare Site and asked for help! They called the A Team who came to our rescue and drove us both to his campervan to redeem the ostomy bags and saving my festival!!!!

Glastonbury A team welfare team disabled accessibility

Andrew spent a good few hours of his Glasto to help out a perfect stranger. He could have ignored the tweet, he could have realised I couldn’t manage the walk &not want to wait for the a team to drive us, he could have turned his head and pretended not to notice. He didn’t.

If not you, then who?

This is Andrew. He redeemed my faith in humans and saved my festival. He said to me ‘if you’re able to help someone, then help them, if not you, then who. If not now, then when?’

Glastodad glastonbury with an ostomy bag

Thank you Andrew, you’re a true gent!

Sam xx

Love Festivals, hate camping?

Love the idea of a festival but loathe the reality of sleeping in a tent, washing with baby wipes and shitting in a filthy portaloo?

You want to get yourself to Tramlines!

Tramlines festival in Sheffield is an award winning, city wide festival of live music taking place on 22nd – 24th July this year and is the perfect antidote to festival tent face.  Forget glamping, it’s all about music, glitter and ridiculousness and then getting in your own lovely bed at night!

Seriously, it’s a great idea for those of us who have disabilities or illnesses where the very idea of a festival sends chills.  Camping can be tough, camping at a festival with few facilities and acres of mud between you and your toilet can be a fucking nightmare.

Tramlines is a cracking deal for a weekend of music, at just £32 for a weekend ticket, it’s a full on bargain when you look at the cost of other festivals.  You can pay that for one gig!

reverend and the makers mark tierney tramlines

Photo: Tierney Photography

Sheffield is an amazing city for culture, music and nights out, and the awesome thing about Tramlines is that it is city wide. With a main stage at Ponderosa and second stage on Devonshire Green, you get the big festival feel and a cracking line up.  But what’s even better is the loads of little venues around the city showcasing bands, artists, film and culture.

Be sure to check out the Folk Forest in Endcliffe Park and the beautiful Sheffield Cathedral, as well as all the fringe venues around the city.

Your ticket gets you a wristband that allows you into a ton of venues and you can wander around the city and soak up the brilliant atmosphere and see bands and artists you would usually not know about.

This is a real bonus for those of us with accessibility needs. Festival sites are notoriously shit for accessibility, which can really put off people with illnesses or disabilities where they gave extra needs. Being city wide means you have a wider scope of places to visit and it’s a bit easier to check them out beforehand.

tramlines festival sheffield

Tramlines has accessible viewing platforms on the main stages and if you have a carer, they can get in for free!  There are a few Changing Places in Sheffield meaning if you or your pal needs a full access toilet, you have a choice. Check out the website here. 

The line up this year is fab, I’d highly recommend it for a weekend out whether you’re a regular festival goer or a festival virgin.  Get tickets now before they sell out.  And if you want to see my lovely son playing loud guitars, head over to see Goathead at the Leadmill on the Saturday!
I’ll see you there bad asses!!!!

Love Sam xxx

tramlines festival sheffield

tramlines festival sheffield

 

tramlines festival sheffield
Disclaimer: This is not a paid post, I’ve not received any remuneration for writing about Tramlines, but my brill hubby Timm is a festival director and so I suppose I do indirectly benefit from the festival. Even if I didn’t though, I’d still highly recommend it. Cos it’s wicked. So buy a ticket. 

The 10 best things about Sheffield

I bloody love Sheffield and so thought I’d share with you the 10 best things about the mighty Sheffield… (In my humble opinion)

 

1. We breed the very best folk

Jarvis Cocker, Arctic Monkeys, Jessica Ennis to name but a few.  Sheffield is home to a huge amount of amazing people, the great Sean Bean, Joe Cocker, Michael Palin also hail from our great city.

But it’s not just the famous folk, the people of Sheffield are the warmest, funniest, most generous in all the land.  After the farce of the Sheffield Half Marathon this year (officially cancelled minutes before the start) Sheffielders came through and did us all proud with local people handing out bottles and cups of water to the runners who ran anyway.

People of Sheffield are proud and no matter where they live in the world, Sheffield is always in their hearts…

jarvis cocker best sheffield folk

Totes braggy photo of me and Jarvis…

2. The Snooker makes us all fans and experts once a year

Once a year, everyone in Sheffield becomes a snooker fan! The World Snooker Championship held at Sheffield’s mighty Crucible Theatre is a sporting highlight that shines a light on our great city.

It matters not if you never look at another snooker table for the rest of the year, throughout the championships Sheffielders are experts on 147 breaks, snooker tactics and we all DEFINITELY once saw Ronnie O’Sullivan in town…

cue ball snooker sheffield

 

 

3. We have the best music scene

Sheffield has always had strong ties to live music, we have some great larger venues, but even better smaller ones that host such a range of music that fit to all tastes…  From Corporation to The Plug, Leadmill to the The Harley.

Music in Sheffield is exciting and I believe this is because we nurture young talent, a good Sheffield band take a place in your heart and are supported strongly.  And because Sheffield is the world’s biggest village (see number 10) everyone knows everyone in the music scene… This is a nice thing! Going out in town means bumping into the who’s who of Sheffield music and collaborations and musical appreciation are rife.

Go take a look at Exposed for a foray into Sheffield music awesomeness…

Some Sheffield musicians are Arctic MonkeysBring Me the HorizonPulpDef LeppardRichard HawleyLongpigsMilburnReverend and the Makers, The Long Blondes… to name but a few!

sheffield music

 

 

4. We have our own festival… Tramlines

Sheffield has it’s very own inner city Glastonbury, Tramlines festival is HUGE and takes over the whole city with venues all across Sheffield from the main stage through to bars, pubs, parks and pretty much every space going.  It’s one weekend a year where music lovers, families, hard core festival goers and festival virgins alike don a wristband and experience three days of music, arts and Sheffield love.

tramlines sheffield music festival

 

 

 

5. Hendersons is KING (and we are a bunch of foodies!)

Hendersons Relish… It’s a Sheffield staple.  We hold Hendersons to our heart and have a ridiculous amount of love and pride for this spicy relish!  We sing about it, make art from it, dress up like it.  It’s as big a part of Sheffield as the now destroyed Cooling Towers (See number 9!)

“It was Mr Henry Henderson who first began manufacturing his own special type of sauce back in the late part of the 19th century. Originally manufactured at 35 Broad Lane in Sheffield, Henderson’s Relish is still being made and has been in uninterrupted production within half a mile of the site from which the first bottle was filled.”

hendersons relish art jarvis cocker

This image of Jarvis Cocker is painted in the spicy yorkshire sauce

You can buy prints of this amazing work here by Neil Antcliff.

hendersons relish sheffield

But we aren’t just about the Hendos, Sheffield is fast becoming a foodie capital with amazing places to eat.  Pub grub is so much more at The Great Gatsby by Shyboy Cantina and for something a little smarter the amazing Wasabisabi is a must.  Sheffield Food blogger Feast and Glory is a great place to look for reviews and ideas on where to eat next time you are out!

 

6. Sheffield is the greenest city in the world!

61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space, and a third of the city lies within the Peak District National park. There are more than 250 parks, woodlands and gardens in the city, and an estimated 2 million trees, giving Sheffield the highest ratio of trees to people of any city in Europe.  There are 4 trees to every person in Sheffield… I love that fact!!

We are currently storming ahead in a vote for Sheffield to be the best UK city for country lovers

These facts come from the Creative Sheffield site;

  • Despite its urban location almost three-quarters of the city is taken up by natural vegetation and waterways.
  • More than a third of the city is located in the Peak District National Park – no other city has a National Park within its boundary.
  • In addition you’ll find 150 woodlands and 50 public parks all within Sheffield and it is rumoured that there are 4 mature trees to every person living here!
  • Over 44 per cent of Sheffield residents live within a five minute walk of a wood and half the city’s population live within 15 minutes of the open countryside. Imagine that!

sheffield green city

7. We have our own language

After thas finished tha snap tha can av some spice, orate?

Gi’or wi thisen, thas gorra get dahn thi jennel.

Neyow.

Understood? I love the confusion on people’s faces when they listen to a full on Sheffield accent, like the Full Monty but further…

In case you were wondering the above statements say

After you have finished your food, you can have some sweets, alright?

Give over with yourself (stop yourself, calm down), you have got to go down the alleyway between two buildings.  (It is DEFINITELY a jennel and NOT a ginnel…)

 

8. We have a band who play ukeleles, make puns and swear a lot… Everly Pregnant Brothers

I love a ukelele.  I love puns.  So I was always going to love Everly Pregnant Brothers! A group of Sheffield men, including artist Pete McKee and singer ‘Big Shaun’, they play Sheffield ukelele versions of classic songs such as No Oven, No Pie (No woman, No cry) and Hendos (Yellow).

everly pregnant brothers timm cleasby the picture foundry

A Tramlines favourite, EPB are everything that is right and good in silly, funny music that doesn’t take itself too seriously…

If you are over 30, you may remember the Hole in The Road?! Yes? They sang about that too…

9. We all mourn the loss of the cooling towers

The Cooling Towers were an important part of Sheffield, the beacon on the M1 that said you were nearly home (or just getting to Meadowhall, yeah yeah I know I should probably have included Meadrall/MeadowHell or it’s many incarnations but you know, it’s just a massive shopping centre!!)

When they came down in 2008, a city mourned. There was an attempt to save them by artists, but alas they were demolished and an icon disappeared.

You can buy beautiful art prints by Jonathan Wilkinson here, seen below.

cooling towers sheffield

 

But plans to reuse the site for a £500,000 public art project are to go ahead and so perhaps we will soon have a new icon to behold!

 

10. We are the biggest village in the world!

We really are!  Despite a population of over 550,000, Sheffield manages to redeem the feeling of living in a large Village.  Perhaps because the city centre is the heart, with clusters of great areas surrounding or perhaps it is just the great people of Sheffield.  Either way, you know on a stroll through town or a wander on Ecclesall Road you will most likely bump into a lot of people you know!

views of sheffield

Sheffield just has a great feel to it, it has a character and an authenticity that Sheffielders hold close to their hearts.  It is a great place to live and whenever I have been away for a while, coming back into the city always lifts my soul and makes me smile.

 

Sheffield and proud x

 

My son is so bad ass…

This is my awesome 13 year old son and his band at their first gig in the school hall, I am SO proud of him!

You will definitely be seeing more of them in the future!