…..had a well-deserved shower back at my flat, after a few day’s camping with my sister and nephew, but the water was so hot I nearly choked on the steam. My sister related something similar; she found it impossible to sleep in her house the first night back as it felt so bakingly hot. Amazing how fast your body temperature adjusts to living and sleeping outside, and washing in lukewarm water.
The campsite is not far from Tangleton, and is a mix of field and woodland camping. It appears to be run by hippies (as are all the best campsites and hostels), and is so laidback it’s in danger of banging the back of its head on the floor. It also allows (and indeed encourages) people to build campfires; something not common these days.
We chose a pitch inside a beech and hazel forest and lived for three days in a cathedral of cool, green leaves. The sun outside the wood was searingly-hot, but we didn’t notice unless we stepped out onto one of the stubbly, golden, post-harvest fields surrounding the campsite. We breakfasted late, in a leisurely fashion, on food cooked on a gas stove (pancakes, scrambled eggs) and vanilla lattes made from sachets, then survived on snacks and cereal bars until dinner. The first night was burgers (veggie and otherwise), bbq-d on a grill over a campfire. The second night was tinned steak and vegetarian curry and potatoes, on the gas stove again, augmented with fresh humous (tinned chickpeas boiled on the stove, everything else brought to the camp pre-mixed), crispbreads and black olives. In between we explored the wood, made rough bows from curved branches and abandoned bits of twine for my nephew, and whittled heavy, blunt, un-feathered arrows to go with them. We drank wine, killed wasps, read books on sci-fi and 2nd World War nursing that I’d found in a charity shop and chillaxed to the nth degree. Can’t wait to go back, this time with more friends, more wine, and, quite importantly, more ruddy firelighters….
Attempt to start a campfire. Fail miserably, being complete Townies.
Have one of the guys that run the camp come up and start the fire properly by:
– Wood-chopping the logs we’d bought into smaller, more burnable pieces of wood.
– Creating a pile of firelighters in the fire circle surrounded with a pyramid of twigs, then setting light to it.
– Gradually building a layer of small logs over the fire until it’s burning properly.
– Going back down to Reception and bringing us back a proper campfire grill.
– Advising how to manage the fire after we’d finished with it, to avoid burning down the tent/forest/Tangleshire.
(We left the campsite with a real appreciation of how much skill was involved in maintaining and cooking on a fire, in the days before gas/coal/electricity/take-away pizza).
-Take a banana, cut off both ends, but do not peel it further.
-Slice the banana down the middle.
-Crumble up some milk chocolate into small pieces and insert.
-Add some wild blackberries, hand-picked (’tis the Blackberry Season in the UK!).
-Wrap the banana in foil, and place in the embers of the fire, after it has burned down a bit, for 15 minutes.
-Rescue from the smoke and flames (I have one contact lens that will never be the same again).
-Remove the foil and scrape out the hot banana mixture from inside the banana skin.
-Eat, whilst making appreciative noises.