I knew I was going to love Folk by the Oak when we walked in through the entrance and the first thing I saw was an activity tent full of children and adults creating mandalas out of ground lavender and other beautifully coloured ingredients. If you are unsure of what a mandala is, it’s a Sanskrit word that directly means “circle”. However it is very symbolic, representing the universe and our connection with all things spiritual as well as physical. They’re always very beautiful and symbolise peace.
What a fabulous festival! Such a calm and happy environment, even Jude was pretty chilled despite the amount of people around us. He did really well. Apart from whinging constantly for an ice cream (he got one in the end), I have to say he was great.
Even though the festival was in aid of another charity called the Willow Foundation, our friends at Happy Days had a marquee dedicated to advertising what they are all about. It was nice to see them there, enjoying the sunshine and receiving lots of greetings from the supporters they have given festival tickets out to.
We had a wonderful few hours just wandering round looking at the shop stalls, eating vegan lemon cake (and a bit of carrot cake), having a go at some of the fun games and attempting the craft activities laid on for the children. There were all sorts of crafts to try from chocolate decorating to wood whittling, I was actually kind of in awe of it all. Miraculously, when Elsa said she wanted to have a go at making a bowl out of clay, Jude said he wanted to do it too. We had to wait a little while as there were other children using the wheels so I was wary that Jude may start to regret his initial enthusiasm and back out. But he stuck with it and displayed such a great effort. It was pretty funny because there I was worrying about how he’d cope touching a spinning lump of wet clay but actually the thing he found hardest was getting on the stool to sit down! He needed to step over the seat part of the chair to have his legs around the wheel/table but dignified as ever, Jude needed me to literally lift his legs over one at a time.
The lady helping us was great fun and talked Jude through the whole process, finishing his bowl for him when he’d had enough. Our next challenge was washing our hands but again, weirdly for Jude, he let me scrub the clay off his fingers without a fuss. Who is this boy and where is Jude!?
We stayed at the festival for a few hours and I now have a renewed love of all things hippy. The people there were all so friendly, everyone was just having a great time listening to the music, having picnics, etc. and I realised how lovely it is to be surrounded by so much activity. I’m definitely going to be looking out for more local festivals as I think it’s just so lovely for the children to experience, especially Jude who showed me today how well he can cope with social situations. He didn’t once freak out and apart from being a bit annoying to Elsa (as usual…tit for tat) he behaved pretty well.
It’s extraordinary really how differently Jude behaves at home in comparison to out and about. Perhaps it’s all the stimulation or because he’s a bit thrown by not knowing his environment but I have to say, I like him a lot more when we’re not at home. I’m hoping it’ll help when we start getting more of his sensory materials for his room but I know he gets very bored when we aren’t doing a great deal. I suppose this is normal for most children but as with everything, it’s amplified to a much higher rate with Jude. SO…my target for the summer holidays is to go out somewhere every day! A x