Campfire songs Chapter 19

Chapter 19

We had a leisurely morning, a late breakfast and drove home. Organised Lucy and meandered back to our campsite mooring. The weather was behaving itself. 3 campfire Sundays in a row was practically unheard of at this time of year, or so Tracy was telling me. We had 6 songs lined up. Jason hadn't contacted me and I hadn't seen him at the last campfire, so I was less worried about him. Amy was going to do a solo dance when we started with Songbird and then a routine with the girls for Happy and Walking on Sunshine.

Ellie had been having dance lessons with Amy all week and would be part of the routines. That had really kicked off. A lot of Ellie's school friends wanted to join in and Martha was trying to organise a location outside 23 for that to happen. We had been warned that the crowd might be bigger today. Besides Ellie's friends and their parents, Maria, the media student, was getting the Media Club involved. Her youtube hits were through the roof and she wanted to do a better recording this time. Discussing it with the president of the Oxford Media Club, resulted in the loan of some pretty decent AV equipment and some members wanted to come, help set up and see the show. On the comments under the youtube video, a number of people wanted to come and the location had been revealed.

Martha was the unofficial organiser and was worried about the possible numbers and the implications. There were no official toilets for example. Most of the attendee's were from the nearby houseboats and had a 100m walk at most to get back to their boat with its facilities. If you invited someone, you were expected to look after them and organise their contribution. Martha and any girls she brought were allowed to use Lucy, if they needed to. If people just turned up, well, you didn't let strangers into your home willy nilly. If the contribution system failed, there would not be enough food to go round or drink.

Tracy suggested if that were to happen, you order pizza delivered to the car park and charge per slice. The BBQ guys could charge for burgers or sausages. If the guy who brought the drinks, brought extra, proper full cans, he could sell them at a profit. Ideally, if a profit was made from the food and drink, it could subsidise the cost of hiring a portaloo. A bit of research was done and a portable toilet that charged for each visit was found. There was a cost involved, but if enough people spent a penny, so to speak, it would pay for itself.

I suggested that if there were enough people, the locals could hire out chairs and blankets, possibly even torches. Someone suggested (alright, it was me) selling sparklers, but there was a worry about the fire hazard. The alternative of luminous bands was thought a better choice.

Martha had insisted on a strict no alcohol policy. This was after a couple of incidents of unruly behaviour. Initially, this was met with fierce opposition. Martha managed to convince everyone to give it a try and see if they enjoyed themselves. I think people were surprised that they could enjoy themselves just as much without it. If people just turned up, what was to stop them from drinking and then, how would you police them. Tracy suggested putting signs up that looked as official as possible. The chances are, people wouldn't question it. Martha was going to talk to Brian. He was a 6 foot 4 inch labourer who made sure there was enough collected dead wood for the fire. If he caught anyone drinking and pointed out the signs, he could confiscate it. She didn't think anyone would argue with him.

The campsite was a pretty big area and we usually only used a small area of it, so it definitely had room to expand, but, we didn't use microphones and speakers. Would everyone be able to hear? Maria said that was not a problem, they would provide that. Power was an issue, however, a few of the houseboat owners had generators, which they could lend us.

The difficulty was working out if this extra effort was worthwhile. Until the night in question, no one was going to know how many people were going to turn up. When the youtube video reached over 20,000 hits in less than a week the consensus was that it was definitely worth it. Sketched out plans were put into place.

The worry of losing their enjoyable evening was transformed into the excitement of engaging in a money making scheme. Still, there were some who were resentful over their campfire being taken over by others. There were also a few of the locals who did not want to do their entertainment in front of a large crowd. Martha came up with a great solution. We would do a smaller campfire on the Saturday evening at which I was forbidden to sing, just in case. No one but us locals would be invited. Martha would have to miss that one, so we were going to have to provide our own food, but otherwise it would be the same.

It was an enjoyable evening. I loved being able to relax and not worry about performing later. Ellie showed me some of her dance moves, chatted a mile a minute, seemed full of energy until, quite suddenly, she wasn't, and fell asleep on my lap again. I know some people are not that fond of change and I had, inadvertently, brought that. I didn't notice any hard feelings though. Perhaps it is hard to hold on to anger towards a teenage girl sitting down with a 5 year old girl asleep on her lap.



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