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Monday, 31 October 2011

Historical lessons for all, courtesy of the Stonehenge Recce Meet

Just got back from Stonehenge Campsite after a short and sweet weekend to suss it out for our New Year camp.

The run up to the actual camp was a bit interesting in that due to rather evasive communications (phone, email, smoke signal and pigeon all failed miserably to get a response) with the campsite owner, a Mr William Badger Ferret (or some similar feral small animal hyphenated name), we finally got to the actual event date without a clue as to whether we had pitches, electric hook-up or a patch of grass.

The fields we couldn't use were great though...


Arriving in pitch black on Friday evening I drove through a picnic bench assault course and got the 3m pitched. Evidently Mr William Weasel Wormhead also sidelines in selling property, and the camping pitches we had could definitely be described as ‘bijoux, in a popular area (packed), glorious views (back of another canvas tent) with plenty of scope for improvement in a thriving part of the country.

Vacated and not looking quite so busy...


Very intimate...



Actually ignore all my comments above, this campsite is the BEST! Bloody Marvellous! Mr William Gerbil Otterfeet is the most amazing person I have ever met.
(That has taken care of my £5 reduction per night for the New Year, for posting a positive review)

I must admit that first impressions of the area the next day were mind-blowing. The sheep actually live in YURTS! Now that is posh. I couldn’t actually get close enough to park up and look around their glamped up set ups, as it would have meant the berlingo would have got rear ended on the A303. Not sure if they would take the sheepskin mat route with their carpeting, so perhaps have a few humans splashed on the floor that they stomp on to clean their messy little hooves.


As it was Halloween all the kids were bedecked in their evil costumes. I’m not sure if the adults were dressed up, as most have warts on their noses, grey lank camping hair, gaps in their teeth even in the height of the summer.


Annie appeared to have brought the whole costume set from the local theatrical company


Howard (Jerry) decided he didn't need a costume as his dad dancing was more than enough entertainment


Bert also joined in the festivities and accumulated some strawberry lances and fudge bars for his grateful owner (me)



Tents were all bedecked in their Halloween best.

Smoky's lovely Lizzy



Annies little 3m




No stopping Margo with the decorations (if you look closely there is a small pumpkin by the door


Intents looked like it got caught in a fight in the fancy dress shop


My ickle 3m bell






3 of us bought some strange bin bag spiders, which you fill will dead leaves then just pin to the floor. They took bloody ages and needed about 3 small children to fill them. I did scrape up every leaf in the area, but still ran out, so resorted to robbing all the bark from around the shrubs of nice Mr William Rabbit Beaverskins campsite


As I only had Saturday to look round the area we took a drive to Old Sarum (no I’ve never heard of it either, but the choice was this or the co-op).


Having a washed up Historian amongst us (Mwaaahhaaaahhhaaaaa she will complain bitterly now, although in fairness, part of her left boob did have a bit part in Time Team) we all traipsed round this fortress. The usual kind with 6 inch walls of grey stone sticking out of ground and a lot of signs with pictures saying ‘If it existed today it would probably look like blah blah….’ Where someone has made a random guess and got paid loads to do it.

Here is what they think it looked like


And this is what it actually looks like...bloody good imagination if you ask me


Jayne and Intents (famous washed up Historian) stopping to take advantage of ‘A Place to Gossip’


A picture for Nutgone who couldn’t join us, but does like this kind of thing – This was, as the sign stated, ‘The Castles Back Entrance’


Tina in full druid wear (no she doesn’t normally wear this outfit, but it might have proved useful to try and get a sneaky look at Stonehenge if we could convince them she wanted to marry a rock). The Tesco bag didn’t look too authentic though.
I’m sure if they had her standing on the bridge in 10AD (or whenever these history things happen) they could have eliminated the need for armed guards and weapons though


Tina actually has more kids than the Pied Piper, however her parenting skills don’t seem to improve however many attempts she has. Here is Asa, her youngest, rolling down the hill after she forgot his pushchair was perched on top….


As is usual at these educational landmarks there was a storytelling re-enactment duo. In honesty I wouldn’t have let the headless horseman anywhere near a child (who incidentally I didn’t know was supposed to be headless, so asked in a loud voice when I arrived ‘Why has he tucked his head under his cloak?’). He was the stuff of schoolyard wanted posters. The only kid at school that enjoyed drama. His long grey haired side kick wasn’t much better, not sure where they dreg these ‘entertainers’ (used very loosely) from, as they all give the impression that they hate bloody kids anyway. Perhaps it was government ‘back to work’ scheme and jobs are few and far between in Old Sarum

The headless pervert and his grandad


One last complaint, I can see of no reason why someone of 48 years old should not be allowed a kids passport to play the find a pumpkin game in the ruins. It’s ageist. I feel a letter of complaint to the National Trust is required and in recompense at least a voucher for some chocolate, which I was robbed of

Salisbury Cathedral somewhere in the distance (I never went any nearer the roads were busy, so went to the co-op instead), but evidently it is “very impressive…and gothic…and marvellous”….(quote from the washed up historian)


One provision of the trip was ‘DO NOT VISIT STONEHENGE!’, as we were ‘saving’ this for New Year. I felt we should all go together and see this as a group.
So on the way back from Sarum I totally disregarded my suggestion and pulled over and took some cheapo pics over the fence


the signpost


Margo & Jerry finding pennies were a bit short, decided to cash in and opened a fast food oulet onsite selling burgers to the needy




Homer was his usual well behaved and endearing self. He has actually advanced in his palate and decided to wander the campsite and chose his own dinner. He stared off raiding Annies cool box with a nice bag of semi frozen chilli con carne, then onto Smokys tent, where he found quite conveniently a full Victoria Sponge still in its packaging (in fairness he never ate the cardboard). And did try and finish off his set meal with a lump of stilton and crackers off the picnic bench, but ended up with me punching him on his nose
Revenge is sweet though, so he trashed the kid’s football instead


Although I was in agreement with his fondness for the chickens (loads of them on our meets are bloody chicken obsessive, I fail to see the attraction unless it’s in a good curry). He is the fuzzy bit here, chasing the fussy brown thing in front of him


And just so I don’t get sued, here’s the hairy little bastard still in one piece (before we tandoori’ed him)


Roll on New Year, I’m sure there’s another mound of rock somewhere waiting for us to visit, at least 2 chickens left (originally there were 5, one got eaten by a fox and Mr William Chickenhater CrapDriver ran over the other) and can’t wait to see Mr William Hamster Foxhole in the future (that’s another £5 off the campsite fee)

PS: I will try and get a picture of the co-op at New Year

Had to rob and post this pic off the camping forum - think it looks brilliant!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Thomas the tank engine, another tent and a guinea pig

After a reckless ebay session I found myself having to collect 2 tents today. Usually this is an exciting and enjoyable prospect. Today it wasn't

The first tent was a Thomas the Tank Engine pop up. No I haven't finally lost the plot, but unfortunately my daughter sharing the same genes has some dumb ideas as well. For a upcoming fancy dress themed 'What I wanted to be when I was young'. She decided she had wanted to be Thomas the Tank Engine

Now costumes are pretty forthcoming for age 3-5 years old, but for 30 year old women they are pretty far between. So a flash of inspiration kicked in when I just happened to be randomly searching for 'tent' on ebay and I decided I could somehow adapt this to make a costume


The woman was slightly horrified when i picked it up and explained I planned to trash little Jimmy's pride and joy.

Once collected I headed North for the even worse ebay tent buy. Having another 'I am sure I will get outbid on this one' I decided to put a tops of £20 ebay bid on what I affectionaly call the 'Shit Hole Tent'. As luck was obviously against me I won the bloody thing.

The naming of this tent wasn't in jest it really is a mess. Ebay usually flatters, but even it couldn't find the right light to show this grease stained, filthy, what are apparently broken inner zips deluxe abode

Ebay Pic 1, not looking so bad from this one angle


But alarm bells ring on pics 2 & 3. With the gaping inner and what appears to be a nice blob of grease on the back of it



So an hour toddle up the motorway and you muse on what state your purchase will be in. Having bought half of the canvas population and equipment I have visited all manner of houses, some lovely huge mansions (always good as nice stuff) some normal, and some not so good.

On arriving there I realised this area was the pits. After passing a few boarded up houses I concluded that perhaps it was a war zone. If Gadaffi hadn't been killed last week, there is a strong possiblilty he would have been hiding on this housing estate

After spending 10 mins in the car hiding everything under dog blankets I approached the house. No knocker/bell etc so a nice gentle tap on the door. On cue a pair of gums drools through the window where a nice friendly camper eating staffie was trying to devour me through the double glazing. A man runs round the gate and lets me straight through the back

He explains the tent has been up all week for the kids to play in. 2 seconds later a chocolate bar with a childs face walks out of the tent (arghhhh choccie fingers everywhere). Thinking a few muddy fingerprints isn't the end of the world (and by this stage I can see the canvas is a lovely tone of grey soot) I proceed to look inside...

I undo the zip and this is staring at me...


Very tame but unfortunately he seems to shite pellets twice as big as his head. Which are all over the tent. Not the worst BUT, he obviously has a taste for inner tents and had eaten some nice tasy holes along the back of the inner


In fairness the owner apologised and said oops he could have ate that any time this week...and did i still want it? Also letting me have it for the knockdown price of £10 rather than the £16.50 I had won it for

Having driven 90 mile I was taking it even if i was just going to ceremoniously burn it when i got back

We took the tent down, which involved the chocolate child crying and asking why it was going (she was probably scared the guinea pig would starve to death) He started to fold it, nice muddy and pig shit side inwards, so I did ask if perhaps we could shake it first to get rid of some of little hammy shitfaces faeces?

Quickest ever taking down of a tent, I ran out the garden and heard chocolate kid shout 'daddy i think there is a hammer for it as well?' - I graciously declined the mallet, as if it had been in my hand I would have squashed the bloody guinea pig into the floor with it

In all its glory, complete with pig shit




Got home, and having the patience of a gnat, have hosed down the inner, and it is now sitting bathing in radox upstairs (OH is at work so oblivious to mass destruction of bathroom). Also went through the pegs and put graveyard pegs to one side. There are actually a few pegs that are quite decent, so I am hoping at valuation I can recoup the £10 ebay fee...

I like to think of this as a project similar to when mechanics buy cars and bikes, and renovate them to their glorious best..I don't hold out much hope for it, but am considering replacing all the canvas with guinea pig skins....

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Counting down to Halloween

Need to sort out everything this weekend for next Saturday. Will be a late arrival at the campsite on Friday due to some last minute training so a bit gutted I will be pitching at 9pm at Stonehenge

Ah well, all day Saturday to play Halloween stuff

Inflatable spider arrived (bit of a faff was in Canada but managed to convince seller to post to UK as her husband had a business trip here. Sure he was over the moon coming through customs with this)

I may have slightly under estimated the size of him, bearing in mind I will be using the 3m tent....


Have a few other bits, bunting, a cushion, managed to locate the flag in the attic, just need to go in the darkest depths of the shed to find the flagpole now...

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

My new camping companion....

After going away and experiencing camping with Steve (the Other Half) at Brook Meadow I have decided I needed a new camping companion who was less hassle.

I have found the perfect replacement. He is a lot less messy, eats very little (well nothing) takes hardly any room up in the bed, and will be a much greater help when pitching the tent. He is very agreeable in conversations, although he can be a little quiet, but I am prepared to overlook what must be shyness for the fact he never questions anything

Meet Bert


So he is all kitted out now and will accompany me on my camping weekends. First up will be Halloween at Stonehenge in 10 days time. Always willing to join in he embraces the occasion (unlike miserable OH)


And the good thing is any sweets he collects will be all mine due to his non existant appetite

There was one slight hiccup on the selection process....in the shop I noticed the undercrackers had a rather large hole for his appendage, and I commented to the girl, 'I can't believe they even put a hole down the front!' only to be advised that it wasn't actually for bear genitalia....

but his tail...


Oops

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Home again!

Just got this back this afternoon from Brook Meadows. Arrived Friday and happy to say my tent, porch and pop up had survived the gales during the week, as I left everything pitched from the previous weekend. It was bliss just to turn up with a few clean clothes and the cool box full of yummies.

I frequently camp with a crowd of people I chat to online (anyone welcome to join!) so I suppose I should introduce these weird humans, who, like me, prefer sleeping in field under a thin bit of material to sleeping in a nice electric and gas central heated house

I shall start backwards with the pic from the end of the meet. Would like to apologise for me still being in pj's but it wasn't quite 2pm yet


L/R back: nutgone, nick, chris (hiding), jayne, gillys friends (can't remember their names sorry!), gumball and Steve (my OH on a rare visit)
L/R front: Intents, me, Homer, Cathy, Gilly & Annie

The meet was supposed to be bell tents only, then it was changed to bell tents and pyramids, then anything canvas....then finished as any old bin bags allowed.

As we are all a bit into the glamping at the moment as well, it was chance for everyone to show off their latest makeovers. Gumball excelled, thoroughly embracing his feminine side, he went the whole hog and actually brought 2 matching tea light lanterns


As gumball actually finished his glamping about 3 hours before the rest of us it freed him off to go and fetch firewood for the firepits. He approached the farmer and was allowed to help himself to as much wood as he wanted. Not content with just bringing these planks back, he obviously went into deprived childhood mode and continued to create his own huge game of jenga with a small saw. Jenga was cremated through the night and non existant the next day


Not in the line up above but Smoky and Scep arrived the next day and made short work of pitching the lime and purple mini canvas tent.


It took them slightly longer to unpitch it all and put the fly sheet on the right way round

Intents had some rivetting tales to tell us about her genital warts and after a few bottles of vodka proceeded to show us them...


Homer had a few problems with smoke in his eyes off the camp fires...


And not having a lot of pride he was happy to wear the wart hat to cover his eyes even though he knew where it had been


Being a very responsible and sober group, cathy decided to equip herself with a vomit trug and moppy cloth just in case the second bottle of red wine had a negative effect (it did and was projectile vomitted into nutgones ear at some stage of the night)


Bright and breezy once the alcohol has worn off the next day. intents and her yellow daisy tent


Annie's bell peeping through the bushes


Cathy's Izmir, pre-sick. Actually it got a bit of a battering this weekend. As Cathy tried to sleep off the ill effects, the dog escaped from the tent, threw herself in the lake (complete with a fetching flowered tabard which was supposed to keep her warm and dry at night). We grabbed her, pushed her through the small zip opening dripping wet at 1am, did the zip up quick and ran


View of some of the tents from the other side of the lake


The witches of Eastwick remade (minus alcohol but compulsory dehydration cola)


Tried to prise the toy back off Ella, but after watching cathy's exorcist demonstration, Ella tried her own version. She got to keep the toy...


OK intents, Homer says you can have your hat back...


And lastly a crap picture of nutgone, as he was the newest recruit to this weekend thought he should get a mention, as he fitted in with with our inane chatter and drunken antics very well. Have a much nicer pic but he might like that one, so posted this one instead


Next trip is end of the month to Stonehenge site to recce it out for New Year meet....just happens to be halloween as well so no doubt will be some sort of strange decor...

PS: Revenge is sweet...debhill visited this morning, and always tells me I have bird nest hair...soooooo here is debhill with messy messy hair....(is alway immaculate and groomed, think she sterilises hands and feet when she leaves us)

REVIEW: 'Camping under the Stars' 5m Bell Tent

Camping Under The Stars 12 months ago, Tommy approached me and asked if I would like to review one of his bell tents. No problem.. ...