Category Archives: camping

Lost in a Forest…


Returned to the campsite described in with a few additional friends, more wine, and (sod the firelighters) bags of amazing ready-burn charcoal, just add matches and stand back*. We battled rain, hail, thunder and madly-flailing low-flying pheasants (and that was just the first couple of hours). In return, New Rivendell delivered in full on its promise of campfire BBQs, impossibly-clear starry nights, and the opportunity to perfect your peeing-in-the-woods-at-2am technique.

Back to reality with a massive THWACK!! on Monday morning. My mother has recurring health issues, (which may or may not suggest a secondary cancer is now in situ). We await the results of her meeting with the consultant on Tuesday afternoon. My company is making redundancies, and whilst I think I’m reasonably safe, my manager, who has sweated blood, sweat, tears, bad coffee and fluorescent marker-pen to make this team a success that is recognised and name-checked at the highest levels of the company, is now also in the pool for potential redundancies (there’s gratitude for you). And no, I don’t want her job – do I look feckin’ stupid?

Whilst you ponder that question, I bring you a combination of BBQ leftovers and a Jack Monroe recipe (original at ).


*wood fires are still more fffuuunnnn though.

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Banana, chocolate and blackberry dessert


…..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….


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