Happy birthday, Nine9. The day you were born, I was at Stonehenge, contemplating not being a teenager any more through a haze of interesting hallucinogenics obtained from the black teepee.

I was sitting around a random campfire, like you did before festival campsites turned into attempts to fence off tent burbclaves so that you only ever have to talk to your mates, and somebody asked me, like you do at free festivals with anarchist organisation and no fixed dates or anything, "How long have you been here, mate?" "Twenty years", I replied, with all the solemnity that taking dodgy acid on your birthday can produce.

It rained a bit, my tent collapsed (I probably helped it) and then I lost it; I spent the early hours of the morning with about eight people friom Blackpool jammed into a two-man tent, and then ended up in an apparently immobile camper van with some punks from Salisbury.

None of it was very important.

Yesterday we found out that our incomprehensible Wallon cleaner, who leaves cigarette burns on the (rented) acrylic bathroom fittings, professes to "enjoy ironing" and generally keeps the place out of the sort of chaos into which a household dedicated to a small business assisted by small children can descend, has terminal stomach cancer, prognosis < 1 year. I don't think that she even knows herself - we heard it from her husband. There was a smaller oesophagal tumour but it turns out not to be the main event. Village life being like it is she will probably be the only person who doesn't know by now. Really no idea what to do, how to tell the kids, whatever.