Stars not of the Rock kind

There is something magical about being in a darkened atmosphere which allows us to see star upon star upon star, something which we do not see in our everyday environment. There is nothing more satisfying than looking at a clear night sky and contemplating your own life comparing it to millions of other peoples lives possibly studying the same night sky from a slightly different perspective. In my most poetic hours I imagine that there is someone just like me looking from another dimension imagining there is someone like me looking from another dimension. In a sleepy stretch of Western Texas desert there is a place called El Cosmico where you can stay in a teepee or a yurt and watch the night sky, thousands upon thousands of stars allowing you the feeling of free falling through countless galaxies. This is a place I would one day like to visit, perhaps Rocksey will be invited to play at this years Trans Pecos festival held annually at El Cosmico and I can sit and enjoy the stars uninterrupted. A teepee is a very romantic thing, or so you would think. A teepee, the western texan starry night sky and a glass or two of champagne, now that sounds too wonderful to be true. In the UK we have camping, last summer, after a decent week of sunshine, Suky calls did we want to go camping over the weekend, what a good idea I say thinking of the above scenario, we head off to the Derbyshire Dales, a most beautiful part of England, craggy outcrops of rocks, sheep, and the odd pub serving real ale and ploughmans lunches with homemade bread and cheese. Rocksey and I arrive at the campsite, a few white puffy clouds meander across the mainly blue sky, the sun is still high in the sky and it is warm. Suky and Senor Pinguino have set up camp with their tent and a marquee next to the van. Mr Lucky and Jack Bennett are making a fire in the firepit and the beers are chilling nicely in a bucket of ice. The weekend is starting to look like good idea. Two hours later, those meandering clouds are now being blown across the sky as gale force winds whip up the sides of the tent allowing the torrential rain to cascade down the sides of the tents and find its way into the relatively dry space we have managed to keep. The marquee has half blown away, we decide that as we are already wet we may as well decamp to the local pub only a 2 mile walk away over the Dales. Somehow a miracle happens. Half way as we scurry along like drowned rats the rain stops and a watery sun appears cautiously at first and then within 10 minutes the birds are singing again and the sun is blazing. We arrive at the pub the rain vaporising in steam around us. Look – shrieks Suky, theres a folk festival on at the pub. Sure enough a chalk board sign points us in the direction of the beer garden and under a still sodden marquee are bales of dry hay, a barbie filled with sizzling sausages and a beer tent serving up Derbyshire ales. Half way down the field another tent has a stage with a young woman singing with an acoustic guitar to half a dozen or so brave soles in wellies and shorts. This is more like it says Mr Lucky a foamy moustache around his upper lip where he has swallowed a large draft of beer. Rocksey is not happy, for one thing he doesnt like camping and for another he doesn’t like real ale. He does like sausages though especially home made ones and whilst he goes in search of fizzy lager I get him a sausage in a bun with lashings of onion chutney. Senor Pinguino is in deep conversation with a chap by the side of the stage. The chalkboard which lists the artists playing has some gaps. Seems like the rain has put some of them off he motions to the guys to go down to the stage and 5 minutes later they are back all smiles. Suki and I have managed to bag a hay bale and the sausage cobs are going down a treat. Some bands have cancelled says Senor Penguino all grins, we can do an impromptu acoustic set, well its a folk festival after all! We have no instruments Mr Lucky is being his usual observant self. Time to be spontaneous says Rocksey come on lets gather some tools for this job! Thirty minutes later the place is rocking, well as rocking as the band can be playing on hay bales with Mr Lucky bagging a tambourine off a hippy and Jack and Senor Pinguino on borrowed acoustic guitars. Rocksey as usual, happy to be singing with a bottle of beer beside him. Suki and I have joined in with the dancing and all are having a good time. A loud rumble of thunder and a streak of lightening lights up the dusky sky. As the set ends fat raindrops start to splatter about the dancers as we run off squealing for cover under the marquee. The evening ends on a high, sheltering from the summer storm the Derbyshire ale goes down well and eventually the rain clears and we stumble back to the campsite guided by a plethora of stars across the vast empty sky. Back at the campsite, Senor Pinquino gets the firepit going and a few more beers are cracked open. Rocksey and I snuggle up together under a blanket, I am toasting marshmallows on a stick. Who needs to go to El Cosmico he mumbles into my hair, when we have the Dales and marshmallows? Later, listening to the rain on the canvas I muse that as much as I would like the romantic Teepee and the chilled champagne and a starry night in Western Texas I have found my own , slightly damper, romantic idyll. Perhaps that other person , in that other dimension, on the other side of the galaxy has come to a similar conclusion.


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