Got three hours sleep the night before the event, due to a stomach upset. This sleep came in handy 1-hour installments, making it even more wacky fun. Up the hill with adjustable spanner, tape measure, and leatherman for ten past nine. Set to moving things for the fire arch. Find out that we've got one of the wrong bits. Spent time sorting out random other things, providing a body at the steps and so on. Head off to get the new bit of fire arch.
Find bit, remove the lock on the door (from inside), move bit, replace lock, nosh a Yorkie. Back to hill for walkthrough, then sorting people out, then making great progress with the arch. Leave hill around ten to five. Get home, throw toast and cheese into stomach, get changed into fireproof gear, long for the day to be over. Send J on ahead with facepaint when I realised I'd forgotten the gloves. Head back for gloves, get to same point on the quest for a bus when I realise that I can't remember locking the front door. Go back and check. Leave the house a different way, because I'm fucking sick of Playfair steps. Get to postal worker's union around six.
Eat sarnies, drink water, get painted up and into costume (2 hours of that). Up the hill. Run around misunderstanding people until we find the fucking torches. Load all up, then gather and get into position behind acropolis. Wait for what feels like four weeks. The Green Man, in his disguise as a horny hedge, steps over the top. Blows horn. Neidfire step forward. Whoosh. Fire lit. Carriers lit. Over the top.
Very windy on the acropolis, but odds are it looked fantastic. The drummers' banners look fantastic. Drums good. Exit from acropolis feels tighter than last year. Due to positions, I got a decent view of the fire arch. On to air point, which we didn't lose. Air->earth took another week. Earth->water was four days. Everything was fantastic, but water really sticks in my mind. Off to fire point. Plenty of space. Apparently I get hit on the back by a White Woman, but I'm in black and leather. I don't notice it. Fire were good. First inkling of an issue with torchballs not burning when I had to swap torches with one of the Lauras,then reach in to extract the unburning ball. Not like I'm going to get anyone else to do anything that dumb.
First real crowd control challenge when we get to Red. Lots of people wanting past or wanting in for their photos. A lean of a torch and they start leaning back. Good. Space opens up behind me so I wave people forward. Red feels like another week, then we're off round the cannon. The stage is great, the space held just right. Gabby Auzzies behind me for the first part, but they shut up when everyone drops. Another torchball refuses to light. Again, I drag it from the torch and stamp it out. Bump into gominokouhai and stormsearch while holding the corner for the first procession to head to the fire. Elements form up, fix bayonets, and revel in us attracting a crowd as a procession of our own.
Get to the bower. One good shout at the crowd gets them moving and Rocksteady wondering how I did it. Not as many people as last year, but it's still crammed. Bower things happen. Lady behind me keeps offering me a G&T. Handfastings, woo. Seduction, then dance. I hold it for as long as I can, but then the line just seems to disintegrate and my back and legs are wanting to go it alone, so I let it. I'm going to cop shit for that at the debrief.
Having time on the hill to sit and drink was good. Unfortunately, as the evening moved on and we moved off the hill, I was too damn tired to make it to the club. Legs and back both killing me, combined with lack of sleep and a foolish lack of meals meant I'd have been unable to handle it. Which is a pity, as I did want to see people there, but I know better than to ignore my body when it's screaming "Enough, you bastard!"
Wandered homewards with ajax_nz, then collapsed into the shower to get my face back to face-colour. Then sleep. Lots and lots of fucking sleep. Well, seven and a half hours. Then up, once more. Bah.
Work tomorrow. I don't want to go back. I have the Fear of it already.