I first realised something was wrong as I joined the (very long) bus queue in the pouring rain after getting off the hovercraft in Ryde. A rumour ran along the queue that it was taking the buses 6 hours to get to the festival site – a distance of 6 miles. That can’t be true, we thought. But it was, though our driver shaved off an hour by taking a detour via Newport. What had happened was that the first cars into the festival car park had immediately stuck fast in the mud; no more could get in, and the route soon got blocked with traffic for its whole length. We also heard that there were two car ferries circling in the Solent – the police were preventing them from landing.
Five hours later, then, the bus reached the site and I thought my troubles were over. It was dark by then of course, and still raining; and in front of me there appeared a vision of hell – a hill of mud, lit by strings of lights reflected on its shiny surface, up which a host of dark figures with tents and bags were slowly toiling. There was no way of telling how much further it would be once you got to the top. It was a lot further, and I dared not let my suitcase fall. For the first time, but not the last, I regretted my foolishness in not stopping to buy wellies on the way.