We had only just shut our eyes at 4am on Friday morning when the first crash of thunder boomed over our heads, followed by the lashing rain and strobe lightening.
It had begun.
After about an hour I knew no one could still be asleep in our tenting village all from Lymington. Shouting out to Baby Boonar (James's younger brother) - he yelped to come in our tent as his was soaked and battered. Fitting snuggly into our little dome we held everything to the middle as the wet was seeping through the sides.
A few more heavy blows and our front porch pegs were ripped out of the wet ground causing the storm's excitement to peak - it was awesome! The sound of tents frantically flapping and the ground shaking thunder directly over us is one I will nevr forget. After sending Boonar out to sort the tent we all decided it was more fun to get the wellies and waterproofs on and go exploring for breakfast and to see the first band on the Pyramid Stage - The Subways.
Frantically getting dressed for the outside we all appeared in our array of wet gear. My little number came from my Dad's old golf bag - a bright yellow outfit a million sizes too big - but I love it as putting it on always means some serious weather action!
Checking out the four inches of rain in a nearby wheel-barrow we knew that the arena was going to be a mud bath.
All meeting at a nearby marquee for a bacon roll and coffee, our storm adventures had begun. Heading down the slippery paths we entered Mud City a place quite sticky and wet yet full of happy villagers wading through the depths of gloop.
We passed a very sad array of tents - some swimming by, others submerged beneath three feet of brown water. Some unlucky occupants were frantically trying to locate and recover drenched belongings, whilst others just sat there, up to their waists in it, dazed, confused, struggling to come to terms with their situation. We trudged on, phoning home to share the experience and reassure relatives, horrified by the images on their TV screens.
Down in the relative sanctity of the market areas, the atmosphere couldn't have been more electric. Any vendors fortunate (or persistent) enough to still be selling their goodies were received enthusiastically by people on real and make-shift canoes, boats, inflatable mattresses, or just crazy swimmers! The crowds were a hotch pot of the well prepared (decked out in head to foot waterproofs and waders!) and the couldn't-care-less in beach gear and bikinis. Everyone was smiling, regardless.
The rain now dying, the air was still thick with lightening cracking over us as we joined the small thong in front of the Pyramid Stage, waiting to dance and sing in the storm.
"The Subways are not performing until the lightening has stopped", informed a helpful security guard. In fact, they didn't perform at all - well, not until the next day on a smaller stage.
The air was still thick and the lightening was fading. By this time the mud was at its peak, slowing everyone down. The weather was warm, with streaks of sunshine breaking through, and we wondered what the day would bring.
Walking from stage to stage, each appearance of the sun was greeted with a huge communally cheer. The Dunkirk spirit was in full effect and we were the most uplifted we had been all festival.
Taking one careful step at a time through the rivers of chocolate required all our concentration, as one slip would bring disaster. We saw it happen to quite a few unfortunate souls. Now and again, it was tempting to join the 'nutters' with no shoes on, diving head first into the sludge but logic held, driven mostly by the reports of these folk being given Typhoid injections in the medical tent.
The bands finally kicked off at midday and and the sun shone hard for, pretty much, the rest of the weekend - cooking our tans and drying the pathways.
Having survived, and back in dry, clean civilisation, the only force to affect our emotions more than that incredible storm is the post-festival blues that is welling up inside, like those black stormclouds. The whole experience has left me with a valuable resolve to live festivals to the full - and always bring wellies!