This weekend is Moseley Folk Festival. It will be the last music festival of the season for us and the last chance to squirrel away some funds before the cold remainder of the year arrives and starts to nibble away at our rations. It will also be the most expensive festival ever for us to trade at, but early indications suggest that Ocean Colour Scene, who are headlining on Friday, will draw in the crowds.

This means that yesterday – designated day off for thoughtful insight and reflection (game of thrones on the sofa) – became a prep day instead. Not that we have made any toasties yet. This is one of the things I have learnt since quitting the real world. Barny actually did quite a lot of work while I was at the Day Job. Toasties, it would appear, are not simply about assembling the individual components in the correct order. You have to assemble the components as well. At a little street market this is only a few hours work, knocked on the head during a lazy afternoon, but at events of this size the number of hams and the sheer volume of cheese becomes a little daunting.

When tomorrow’s bread arrives we will have a stack of bread taller than me. The total cheese we will be taking with us weighs more than I do. The hams are each bigger than my head, and we have 5 of them, more than an entire pigs’ worth. All of this has to then be transformed into toasties in a process that really shouldn’t take very long, but is counted in days simply because of the volume of food.

Slicing cheese for example. We have, with the possible exception of the life-long vegan, all sliced cheese in our time. Takes no time at all. Especially if you have a heavy duty slicing machine with gives you a lovely even cut and simply has to be hauled back and forth across the blade. Repeat 600 times and you’re done.

A black and white picture of our meat slicer.

Here is an illustrative shot of our meat slicer. The moody filter was unnecessary, but ultimately pleasing.

600 times is a lot of times. Repeated again for the ham to make the whole sandwich. You get the idea. I had just never really considered how many jobs there were before you could actually make the toasties. Once you have assembled them over a three day period there is then the festival too attend so that you can actually sell them. We get there the day before the punters, during the eerie pre festival quietness with only you, the roadies and some stressed-looking organisers on site. It’s a little like being in the eye of the storm. We make more toasties, go and catch up with people we’ve met at previous festivals and generally strut around like we own the place.
A moody filter on an as-yet empty festival ground.

Not the same picture as two weeks ago. I used a moody filter this time.

The next three days are then a whirling blur of cheese and bread, punctuated by sleeping. Eating mostly takes place when we remind each other it hasn’t happened for a few hours, and then all too soon it’s over, the punters have left and all that remains are empty crates of bread and cheese tubs, lost napkins and torn toastie bags twitching in the mud where only three days before there had been crisp grass and great swathes of quiet field.
A field of aftermath in the wake of Strawberry Fields.

Much later.

Previously I’d have returned to the real world to do a days work on the Monday, thankfully now just a distant memory. I’m probably going to sleep instead.

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