I'd forgotten what a homecoming it can be.
This lot at The Green Gathering aren't even the same bunch of good folk who watched with tender concern and doubtless amusement as I negotiated the turbulent path through The Teens, shedding my school blazer for the summer in exchange for grass matted hair, newly mastered dance steps and the illicit goodness of a well laced hot chocolate from Ruby's Late Night Cafe.
Somehow though, they still felt like family rarely seen, but not forgotten.
The elegant decay of Piercefield Park in Chepstow, with it's derelict remains of grand Georgian enlightenment designed by Sir John Soane, is a perfectly fantastical setting for such a reunion, offering rolling hills, lush woodland, steep drops into the Wye valley and a sweeping Mythical view of the Severn Bridge.
I delighted in being surrounded by musicians with a shared language and history and felt priveliged to be included in their number, playing delicious gigs at the Triban stage with Nick, Conrad, Kris Howe, who stepped in seamlessly as percussionist in Jake's absence and Anna Karthauser, who joined us with her vocal harmonies, both fierce and angelic. Seeing the kids parade, full of theatre and liberty reassured me that the youth of today are doing fine and still know how to play and The Curiovan, full of wondrous weirdness and analytical interest, struck me as a quiet treasure for the curious mind, countering the hunger for instant gratification that we're encouraged to cultivate by capitalist consumer culture.
Amongst the play and celebration, there are sturdy souls getting to grips with the technical detail and scientific facts of developments and challenges to environmental health, so that they can inform the community and facilitate a strong public voice and educated choices, spreading the word about the troublingly close reality of fracking, even in the dinner queue!
One remarkable encounter round the fire at the speakers forum one night, was with a straight talking green woodworker, who it turned out was from the same small corner of the West Highlands as my Grandfather, Donald. During our short conversation we worked out that we shared a surname in the not so, so distant past, and as the corner we were discussing really was very small, we had to conclude in concord, that we are distant cousins.
I shouldn't have been surprised of course, from the moment I arrived, I knew I was with family.