Wednesday, 31 May 2017

Wash out

I have just spent a weekend (from Friday lunchtime until Monday lunchtime) living in a tent in the heart of the wonderful New Forest - in Hampshire. I was lucky enough to be joined by my niece - the one I want to take Stateside with me. I think she enjoyed herself although she'd have probably enjoyed it more if she'd had someone her own age to hang out with - being with oldies and little people I could tell she was slightly bored at some points. 

I left home at 11, arranging to pick her up at 11:30 assuming we would then arrive at the campsite by 1pm - bank holiday traffic being the reason for allowing so much time. As it was I think the traffic gods were on our side for not only did I get down the M27 in a decent time, we also made it to the forest in good time also for we found ourselves outside the chip shop in Brockenhurst at 12:09. How on earth did that happen? We literally flew (whilst keeping to the speed limit - I am extremely proud of my clean license and intend on keeping it so). We were just very lucky to have a clear road.

The others had given me directions on where we were to pitch if we could but unfortunately someone else was already there - how dare they!!! - so we went to the very edge of the site finding ourselves a spot close enough to the toilet/shower block (as someone who needs to get up several times a night I need to be close if I can) yet I don't want to be too close because I do'nt want to have people marching by the tent all night disturbing me. How the 2 of us with just one tent and one car managed to stop people from pitching on the area we'd chosen for over 5 hours is beyond me - yet we managed (I reckon we put on a menacing look).. haha.

When we arrived the temperature was 27'c - way, way, way too hot for me, even more so when tent erecting but it had to be done so we got to it. Having put many tents up in the past (the one I took, many times) you'd think I would remember how it went; oh no, not me. We (I mean, ME) had got it to wrong way round so we had to love everything - thankfully we'd not started pegging in the guy ropes. 

Once up we kicked back with a beer sitting under the tree - we are both very fair skinned so need to keep out of the sun if we can - waiting for the other's to arrive. 


Arrive they did just in time to set up and get some dinner on - not that we cooked really; tomato soup, rolls, cheese and some pate. Muchly delicious it was. The evening we spent having a catch up for we'd not seen each other since August last year. We were blessed with clear skies, the international space station flew over twice, we saw one shooting star and a huge meteor that we watched cover a good 300 metres; it was a bright white ball with a cracking tail on it.

Going to bed that night I was shattered; hoping my head to hit the pillow and get off quickly I can't tell you how pissed off I was that our neighbours thought it acceptable to get drunk and be as loud and roudy as they wanted to be until 01:30 when I could finally take no more. Crawling out of bed I gave them until I came back from the toilet to "Shut the fcuk up" letting them no in no uncertain terms that if they didn't I would rip their heads from their bodies. Part-time campers who don't know the camping rules really piss me off - everyone knows it's lights out at 22:00 (23:00 if you're hard core) for you will be awakened as soon as the sun rises, and you should always respect the other's around you - this family by us went against everything that is polite. One guy did eventually kick off when this one lot decided it would be a good idea to play cricket between everyone else's tents and their balls kept bouncing off their BMW's. Thankfully they had gone to bed by the time I got back - I really would have kicked off myself had they not; inconsiderate wankers.

At 02:45 I was still trying to get to sleep when I heard what I thought sounded like it could have been thunder in the distance. Telling myself it was just a lorry on the road I rolled over hoping sleep would finally join me when I heard it again, this time a little closer. 10 minutes later we had a full-on storm booming around with lightning flashing constantly. Had it not rained so heavy I was going to get out of the tent (which was pitched under a tree - yes, I know that's not the done thing in a storm) go sit in my car to watch it, but there was no way I was running between the tent and car to watch some lightning. The thunder was so loud and booming at one point I felt the ground literally shudder - only time the earth has ever moved for me :)

I finally nodded off just before 05:00 to be woken by 06:30 by some delightful children staying in the camper van with the "ignorant family".

The day kind of got worse - ish - from then on in. I went to move something in the seating area of the tent only to find we were 3 inches deep in water - it would appear the rain had found a small opening between the groundsheet and tented area. Carpet, bags, shoes - they were all wet. It was truly delightful. Then later while getting ready to go out (we went on a lovely 5 mile stroll into the village via fields, heathland, woods and rivers) I managed to knock my flask off the table - the second it hit the deck I heard the glass inside shatter; it was a bloody good flask too. Then I went to the showers and got the only one that was chucking out only stone cold water - not a bad thing when you want a cold shower but I do like to choose. On the way from there to my tent I managed to get mud all over my clean top (I've no idea how).

However, I was in great company, the weather dried out - it was still very overcast - and the food was great so I can't really complain. It was lovely to have my number 2 with me as well; so nice for her to be away from home.

Saturday night was much better; the neighbours kept the noise down and after going to be about 23:30 I managed to sleep until 03:45 when I needed to pee - the joys of being a woman at a certain age :) It was right spooky though for there was a thick fog which hung low below the trees. It was deathly quiet and unlike most times when you head to the toilet block there wasn't another soul to be seen or heard (I couldn't even hear anyone snoring). Once back I managed to nod off again until 06:30. It was nice to get some sleep.

Sunday we basically just hung out with each other chatting, playing with the kids and eating. Our annoying neighbours packed up and left at lunchtime which was nice and gave us the room to set up a Badminton court where many games were played.  The evening the neighbours to the other side of us ventured out, eventually joining us (they'd not wanted to mingle before because of the neighbours I'd had the run-in with). We had a great evening.

Heading over to the loos for last night pee's and tooth brushing we'd just got to the block when I heard what I thought was thunder - again. By the time we came out the rain was once again hammering down, the lightning was flashing, zig zagging and zinging through the sky and the thunder was booming - I thought Friday's storm was bad but Sunday's outdid it in leaps and bounds. Every single thunder clap caused the ground beneath to move (it's been a long time since I've experienced the earth moving :) :) ). As with Friday though the rain made it's way in, this time not just to the social area - I ended up sleeping on a wet mattress, in a wet sleeping bag. Not what I wanted, but hey; I was camping and things like that are all part of the fun. Thankfully when I go next I'm sharing a friends tent; he has a sewn in groundsheet in the living area as well as the sleeping pods so flooding will be averted - I may need to win the lottery and buy one myself :)





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