I have deliberated endlessly over what to write the first blog post about, not because I was short of ideas, but probably too many. I rather pleasingly had the decision made for me, an invite to a secluded little campout, just outside Maidenhead.
The photos for this post are curtosy of a very good friend Mike Johnson. If you like what you see I suggest you grab yourself a brew and get over to his Flikr account and check out the rest of his work. You wont be disappointed!
I’m not going to lie here, the weather reports for that weekend were appalling and I did take a little convincing that it was going to be ok. My three year old daughter however was much more delighted about it, quite anything to do with our 1954 VW Kombi and she’s the first one in and belted up ready to roll! We hit Oxford at what can only be described as rush hour, as opposed to the actual time of 10:30 on a Saturday morning, thus making my heart drop just like the enormous pitter-patter hitting our windscreens. The only thing that kept me going were the other folks that were going to be there. A smatter of texts demanding to know where we were, kept spirits up. As we got closer to the campout the weather began to clear.
It’s not every campout you attend where you are greeted with electric gates and a hairy Belgium chap (sorry Stephan!). We followed him down the drive, onto a track, which opened out into an orchard. There were a handful of vans already camped up, including six high roof VWs. A couple of party tents set up, picnic blankets were out and the little ones were running around like wild things.
Settling down onto a rug, the fruit ciders come out and the host breaks out a small oil cooker to make us all duck egg and bacon rolls. Lunch gives way to mid-afternoon and the wild Venison appears ready to spit roast. The children are playing games, the adults having a general catch up and the sky is clear. If this all sounds a little idyllic, that’s because it was. This is the thing, the way forward to spend your summer is camped up with friends, in a field, a few ciders and let the kids expel all their energy and experience life outside of the virtual world. Ok so we could take our Van to one of the many shows that now fill up most for the camping season calendar, but quite frankly the majority of them are too big, too expensive and you spend most of your weekend trying to locate the friends you wanted to be camped with in the first place.
The venison was ready to be carved, a rather lovely Single Cab Van doubled up as a buffet table, filled with salads, brie, olives, drinks and puddings.
The little ones toasted marshmallows on the remaining embers’ of the spit roast before heading off to bed.
The sun went down, the fire was lit and the drinks became more plentiful and the banter picked up pace. I admit I bailed out early on the basis I might be up half the night with my 8 month old baby girl. But I know that when my husband stumbled into the van at whatever time it was, an excellent evening had been enjoyed.
The weekend ended up being one of those where you were reluctant to go home and I am so looking forward to the next one.