‘Help yourself, I can’t eat them all’ said the lady sitting next to us sitting in the soggy floor of the Big Top tent as she offered us her churros, sheltering from the rain on Saturday afternoon, waiting for the talk to start. We hadn’t been back to Port Eliot since our wedding. Going to the festival was now a tradition and marked the two year anniversary of our meeting at the disco in a hedge. Rain had stopped play, just a few moments earlier we were sheltering under a tree drinking chai when Bruce Parry wandered by on the way to his talk about the film Tawai: a voice from the forest he has been working on for the 5 years since he left the BBC. He stopped for a chat about Amazonian plant medicines, Shipibo shaman and Temple of the Way of Light.
The Big Top was packed as we listened to Miranda Sawyer to interview Bruce, as he described his compulsion to learn from indigenous wisdom, to access cultures before industrialisation, nomadic cultures and to understand their social structures. Sharing. Sharing was his big insight in these communities. And was so fundamental to his thinking that he had himself decided to establish a community in which to walk the talk of his sharing lifestyle. At the end of the session we continued to chat with the lady sitting next to us, sharing stories and pictures. Port Eliot had become a kind of community for us.
Port Eliot festival is a who’s who of creative Cornwall. As we wandered around I saw Suzi my creative writing coach from Falmouth, Mirri, the lovely jewellery designer who made my engagement and wedding ring, Caroline who’s beautiful illustrations we used for our wedding invitations and many other special people along the way. On Sunday the sun shone. As we sat on the Druid’s hill warming our bones while watching a folk band outside, overlooking the river and Brunel’s viaduct. One year since he proposed in that spot and two years since we spent the afternoon chatting and getting to know each other. We wondered at the magic of Port Eliot. And many festivals to come.