My stress levels runneth over as my children set off to danger zones around the world. Today TWO of my children are off the the Notting Hill Carnival and my 14 year old is probably at the Full Moon Party in Thailand for all I know. Is it because I’m getting old that I can’t seem to be happy for them, just terrified for them instead? “What do you mean you are pre-lashing at lunchtime?” I ask my daughter. Apparently unless you are drunk there is no point in going. So lots of drunk teenagers I know will be there, at a location where I read yesterday there will be lots of CRIMINALS. What about your belongings? Your phones? How will you get there/home? What if you get lost? “Don’t talk to strangers” is hardly relevant when they’re going to a mass gathering and of course is the most ridiculous thing to say to children who are about to go off to a festival.
I wish I’d moved to the country when they were very small so that they would be terrified of London and not want to go anywhere near mass crowds smoking weed with policemen on horseback. I tried to go once with my brother and a small child. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever done. The crowds were overwhelming and the really sad bit is….we wandered about for ages but didn’t seem to ever find any music. I didn’t really get it at all.
HOWEVER, with my Mary Whitehouse hat on (which you can all feel free to flick or kick off) is 16 too young to be allowed to go to Reading & Leeds festival and party for three days without parental supervision? I was talking to my kids last night about Reading. Where two out of three of my children have been and I have one left who will no doubt want to go through the experience and I can’t very well not let him go when I’ve let the others go. What seems to happen as a matter of course these days is that all the little newbie festival goers newly armed with an impressive wodge of GCSE’s head off to the Reading or Leeds Festivals as a post exam treat. It appears, in our neck of the woods anyway to have become a right of passage. I’m not sure how this has happened because it seems like a massive baptism of fire for kids that age. I don’t want to worry any parents who have kids there as we speak – but it is quite odd that we let them go when you think about it. Our 16 year olds have only just started being allowed to stay out a bit later, to have friends of the opposite sex in the same room for longer than 15 minutes, to go further afield from their homes and to drink alcohol here and there.
Then what do we do? Agree that they can go on a three day drink and drug fest on their own with all their friends and lots of people they don’t know who might sell them things?? For example are they going to be able to access canisters of laughing gas? How will they find their tents? What if someone steals it? What happens if girls get lost late at night? How many police are there?
We were discussing the ways they will sneak in alcohol. Not whether they will sneak in vodka, but how they will do it. Wrapped inside their sleeping bags, in shampoo bottles, fake tan bottles – my daughter did all this a few years ago and had do deal with lumps of shampoo in her drink. She actually hated the experience and swore she’d never go to another festival again. This is mainly because of the loo situation. Which I’m sure you can imagine was dire beyond belief by the third day and smelt truly revolting. She was also traumatised by the fact that the cubicle doors were so low that people could peer over – in the end, having men hanging around in all the wrong places they all had to go as a group posse of girls to ensure safety and privacy.
On a much more sweet note, when my son went over five years ago, his mate left a list for his mother to sort:-
THINGS I NEED FOR READING
…and so the list went on. His Grandmother saw it and said to his mother – I am so proud of M – so lovely to see that he is taking his reading seriously this year – is he going to read in the garden with a torch?