Saturday 25 June 2011

Another Busy Week

I think I last updated from Brick House Farm, nr Ashford ( beautiful place, well worth a visit if wanting somewhere to camp or a venue for a special occasion).
When we left there we headed over to Dunsfold Landrover Open Weekend- a marvellous collection of landys set out in a field especially for us to have a good look around. We had our first wet packing up to be immediately followed by a wet pitching of tent- leading to our first drips through the canvas (squishing wet canvas meant the surface tension of the water, which normally stops it getting through, was disrupted enough for the rain to drip in). We made a back up plan, then it stopped raining and the tent dried out with a fire in the stove,and thankfully all was well.

We had rain, thunder and lightning over the weekend, culminating in a near death experience for DH and Big One. The lightning grounded a few feet away from them, and they have been partially struck by lightning. Big One described it as worse than touching an electric fence (she's touched the one around some pigs), and DH felt he should have a lump on his head. I'm very glad I didn't see it- its easier to see both fine  and telling me about it afterwards. DH didn't show any signs of making more sense than normal,he was just noticeably grumpier (though to be fair that could be seeing all the landrovers when he sold his).

Before the drama of lightning, we all had a ride on a little off-road course in a brand new Range Rover. WOW. I had no idea it could be sooo quiet, and so steady a ride (especially with moments of three wheels on the ground!). I feel that was a potentially expensive £6 (for charity) as I started looking at 10 yr old Discoverys online after that ride!

We really enjoy the van, its perfect for camping but we're considering a caravan for winter. If we go down the caravan route, then we really shouldn't need the long wheel based van. Talking about the van, and recognising that DH is doing the bulk of the driving-made me realise I like to know I can turn my vehicle around if needed. That can be tricky enough with a car, but sometimes it is impossible with the van. Reversing sensors help, but I tend to only drive where I've driven previously or scouted out parking beforehand. The visibility in the van is hard to beat, but I take children to the supermarket so I can park in the parent and child places, or shop when its not busy as the van isn't easy in a normal car space.
I feel I should add I would do a lot more driving (and I did the driving on the M25!) but DH is an awful passenger, and rubbish at navigating. Its much easier ( for all of us) if I navigate and DH drives.  We do have a satnav- given to us by my sister after a holiday ( THANK YOU!!!) last year. We hadn't intended on getting on, but especially for this trip, it is fabulous. It sometimes takes us different routes, and I haven't quite mastered detouring around blocked roads ( it gives me 4 options, none of which co-incide with news of problems 15 miles ahead) but overall it has saved us loads of time and effort.

Anyhow, this isn't catching up with what we're up to.
Back to Dunsfold- I mentioned rain, didn't I? It kept raining. On Sunday morning we had the sport  of watching the Icecream Van ( transit van base) being towed IN to the field! We talked to the icecream man briefly on the Saturday evening, and we all agreed that a field full of landrovers was the best place in the world to need a tow.
We were a little nervous about getting out of the camping field- thankfully nothing like the 6 + inches of sloppy mud  at the show field and our van was absolutely fine. We had the long drive up the M1 to Huddersfield which went well, despite Little One not napping well and screaming each time she half woke up.

We were house-sitters for a few days, as my Mum got a better offer for her birthday. Dad offered her a cruise for her birthday so we just missed them. We were in for a treat though, as Mum left us an apple pie AND a fish pie- lucky us! That just left me time to gather a few elderflowers and pop them in a jar full of vodka- elderflower tincture is in progress at last.
We had a lovely sunny day on Monday, so got the van mostly emptied, almost everything aired, carefully considered and a few boxes were squeezed into spaces in the garage or house ( sorry Mum and Dad!) The van is a little emptier- not that you can tell when we pack it, but now we're camping I think there are a few less things left in the back. We had a good look around my parent's garden- finding ripe soft fruits. Raspberries and strawberries were eaten, but the blackcurrants turned into delicious cordial-  I don't really like Ribena but this stuff is great.
Lots of washing dried on the line, and we felt a lot more prepared for the second half of our trip.

Tuesday was the Summer Solstice, with a long awaited party at Gill's. It was really lovely to see so many friends at one time, the girls were happy and we all enjoyed Mari's wonderful array of icecream catering for every dietary need! No sugar, no dairy, no nuts, vegan, extra chocolate- a fabulous array that all ( really!) tasted great. I wonder when she'll open a shop.......

Heath was followed by Manor Heath Park, and meeting up with E and J. It was E's birthday and wedding anniversary, so very important to see her! Big One made her a lovely card, and we picnicked and played. I celebrated my 30th birthday with a picnic there, so of course I think that's a great place for birthday celebrations :-)

Big One has been asking me to make crackers for ages- she remembers me baking some before we left. Lack of an oven ( and it being a little difficult to take over someone else's kitchen to bake when we're only at most places a week) had me say it'd have to wait, and she remembered we were heading to somewhere we could use the oven. I couldn't find my parent's yeast ( until we bought more, of course!) but our last evening there was a cracker-athon! Lots eaten, and a tin full with us should keep us going a while.

Thursday morning was the end of our trip 'home'. More packing up, with a last minute request for making a jam from some fruit Big One had picked- I seem to do 'requests' when its  in the kitchen! So DH did most of the packing,and I did a fair bit of cleaning while making just one jar of jelly with the fruit that I could find- especially for Big One with her name on it.

I'm updating from Crabapple Community near Shrewsbury. Its a lovely huge Hall, with ex-stables out the back and fields and an awful lot of raspberries. I'm not sure how many rooms there are here, but with new central heating they tell me there are 43 radiators! We had the luxury of a room for our first night, and we could even have stayed in the house more night. However, for us it's nice to be in the tent, just having a little space for us. There are 3 families here, and several single people also, a really nice mix and everyone has been really welcoming and lovely.

 I had a day picking raspberries yesterday- the first patch was either nettles in the raspberry patch, or raspberries in a nettle patch, but there were two more patches that were much easier to get to. Three huge bowls- and 8 children or so eating them, with a few left over for adults, and they all disappeared!
Today has involved coppicing some willow, stacking some split firewood, and starting the clear an old storage area for storing the firewood. DH has been enjoying using his scythe (he'll enjoy telling everyone exactly which Blackadder episode involves the line ' oh, its a scythe!'), and he finished off the bit of willow coppice when Little One and I needed naptime.

Our children keep disappearing here- there is a family with similar aged children so when they're around our children stick with them, and when they're not here the playing spaces are fabulous for them. No dogs, just a few cats so Little One is quite happy walking around, and Big One just needs to know where we are. We've felt a bit 'lost' not being constantly in demand, but its also lovely to have time to do things, like catch up on here.

Well, that feels a bit of an epic, so its time to stop. I feel a massive photo post coming up, but not today!


  1. Your 30th birthday!!! When was that?
    (Belated happy birthday! xxx)

  2. It was about 4 years ago I think! Also celebrated in May as Winter is a bit too cold for a picnic :-)