Tuesday 31 May 2011

A few days off

We've been at the Sustainability Centre in Hampshire, and the folk there are brilliant. We got there by accident though, I was just looking for a campsite to break our journey at, and this was the one that stood out. Of course, when I looked into it, its just our kind of place. I was a bit concerned about the cost though- it sounded a bit steep for what sounded a very basic set up.
However, the facilities are great. The showers are nearly instant hot water, good pressure (important considerations for us) and the disabled access shower was great for putting the kids bath in, so they have had a bath this month. The hot water went to the washing up sink, which is also under cover and the building is on rammed earth tire piles- something I bet Gill would be interested in. The water was heated by solar power- and I now have a new respect for it. When I read solar heated showers on the website, I was thinking luke-warm showers but cold in the morning, but this was a 'proper job'- what I could easily imagine living with in a house, nice and hot all the time.
What really made it a great place was the family we met who live there. The mum writes for The Mother magazine, and our children all had a whale of a time playing together, from pond dipping to bike riding to playing baking....I don't think us adults saw that much of them when playing! Big One was so sad the day we left, wanting to play with their Big One for another day.
It was also a holiday for us, because of our accomodation. We intended to camp, but it was really windy when we got there, and swirling around the camping field. I just couldn't face another windy stay- after all this is holiday time, right? So, we inspected the tipis and yurt and stayed in Henry's spare yurt for the 4 days. The extra head room- even though the floor space was actually smaller- has made our tent feel small now! We had loads of room, and things hung up on the walls, what a novelty... it was great.
The downside was a mouse trying to share our home for 2 hours in the night- we eventually encouraged it out the door, and kept the gap under the door stuffed shut. We didn't notice the windy weather at all in the yurt- happy us. We did like the tipis, but the Big One ( absolutely huge) was in use the first night, and the smaller one didn't quite suit our sleeping arrangements.
Our last night was really great as my cousin Sally came to visit- she lives nearby and we've not met up for about 20 years, we figured out.
We were glad of the positive for our last night, becuase we were having a hard time with the MOT for the van. DH carefully worked out (with the van limited to 70 mph and we rarely get that fast in it) our load weight and what tires were suitable when we got our nice chunky tires, but the garage said we had to have commercial tires on it to pass. So another £220 on tires we don't want, put on the van on moving day when we're going to the one place that warned us about access with a big van, was a bit of bad news and a bit stressful. Thankfully we've got the van in here- I'm not quite sure how we'll turn it around and get it out again but that is definately DHs department.

We're at a Woods somewhere near Charing, with some amazing folk- and 3G mobile internet reception- yippee! We didn't expect them to have any running water but they had the tap fitted a couple of weeks ago- so yay we can wash up, but boo we have a huge length of pipe in the wood to dig in 18 inches down. DH is in his element with chainsaw work, we've even got some carving wood- sweet chestnut seems lovely to work with. Little One is having a nap so I'm getting time to catch up with the blog. I had to leave putting up the shelter though- with more folk expected more space under cover is needed for meals and breaks.

We seem to be falling into a work pattern where we both try to work the morning, and I take Little One for her nap, which seems to be about 1 pm.  I stay with her, and then hopefully work a little more after her nap, but it does vary. The girls are staying up later, about 9 pm, as we've been chatting around the campfire the last couple of nights- but this is a little late for Big One. The woodland is beautiful, and Tinka and her boyfriend are just getting started with helping out her parents with woodland work. It sounds like they have more WWOOFers lined up for the coming weeks.
 We're getting to cook over the fire- the air is so still here in the wood that breezes hardly get us. Normally its the breeze that makes sitting around in the evening too chilly, and cooking take too much wood, but this is great.
We did start the huge water pipe trench yesterday, but it was so difficult the hosts are now considering a digger to at least do the accessible bits ( some of the trees are a bit close together!) otherwise it could take years, and it need burying before winter frosts!

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