It was the coldest day for ages, but that's when we had out Tent Warming. Icy wind, no sunshine but we found out tent can take about 4 families, or about 7 adults and a gaggle of children (they were moving so fast most of the time, it was hard to count!) when I counted up who was in one time I popped in to see!
Apart from a now standing joke (DH can almost see the humour) regarding lack of tea and coffee with lots of freezing adults, it went fairly well. It was too cold to sit in the shelter outside, but the soup went down well. I didn't see hardly anyone get any- apart from Big One who suddenly was ravenous and came back for Fourths- but the pan was nearly empty by the end of the day. We'd asked friends to bring some nibbles or bits to share, and we had a bountiful tableful of cakes, crisps and dips,snacks, juice and pop, and it was lovely that so many people could make time to come to see us on our way.
For the record regarding the tea and coffee 'issue', DH repacked the tea and coffee into a different box, so when I searched high and low for a pink box containing them, they were actually in a box I had been asked to move....He found them eventually, and then we realised I'd not remembered to find the box of mugs we packed away ages ago :-) I suspect we'll have lots of moments like this over the next few weeks!!
Most importantly,our tent was warm and snug, various seating tried out, jumped on by many children -the grown up was more rolling than jumping ;-) and has all survived intact. We're ready for the off!
I also found the positive comments really helpful- I don't feel very organised, and worry about the lack of a huge 'to do' list on paper, but having friends who sounded genuinely happy for us, regretful they aren't doing this, and/or enjoying the tent- well, its gone a long way for helping me feel reasssured and capable. Thank you all!
Today we had a much smaller family farewell- DH's family all travelled to visit us, see us set up before we go, and have a good natter. Great Grandma is ( I think) 3 years off being 100 and managed up the garden to have a good look at the tent and stove and -seeing as I was anticipating the cold wind of the day before and had space in the house for us- we all sat out in the sunshine with hardly any breeze. We only just got the stove in the tent going late in the afternoon to reassure Grandma we wouldn't be too cold. Soup versions 2 and 3 needed more salt, but still went down ok. Grandma enjoys baking, so we had lovely chocolate cake that disappeared very quickly, as well as some other baking she brought, and a few left overs from the day before- fabulous.
Packing has gone well today- the neighbouring children in this row of cottages have met the girls today, and they've been playing up and along between all the gardens most of the afternoon. This house is down a lane, so no traffic or passing strangers, and the girls have been happy to roam a little -though not near the barking dogs. After tea Little One found a dressing up mask left behind, so I thought she'd taken it into our house for safekeeping. When I went into the house a few minutes later, DH told me she'd gone round to the neighbours to return it and sure enough I turned around to see her trotting back happily, having been given a lollypop for her trouble ( and one for Big Sis). She'd walked around, knocked on the door, spoken to neighbour and come back- all on her own and she's not yet 3. I am glad she talked to DH before going though.
Around our farewells, we've been sorting and packing the last few boxes, with just a few more to deal with tomorrow. Tomorrow is the final pack- the tent comes down and we'll 'camp' overnight in the house before heading off. Fingers crossed it all fits into the van..... and a lot of positive thoughts please!
Finally- I need to remember to go to the dentists. With everything else, I completely forgot to go on Friday, but thankfully they can fit me in tomorrow-lets hope I remember...
So, last practice night in the tent- after this its for real. So far so good!