Monday, 18 August 2008

Tales of Fire, Wind and Rain...

Life returns to normal for a while - the Chief Rock Chef family has returned safely from its first camping expedition.


We arrived in good time and were able to set up camp very quickly and easily, then while everyone else settled in I took Custard for a wander around to check out the area, finding the local village with its small shop and absolutely wonderful butchers. This butcher was to keep us supplied with the most wonderful sausages, burgers, eggs, etc for the next couple of days. He even had a field full of geese in the field next door where you could pick your bird for Christmas!


The location was wonderful, the people really friendly and helpful, the weather, um, mixed, shall we say?


On the first night it rained - HARD. We lay in our tent watching the rivers of water running down the outside, wondering if and when it would start coming in. In the early morning we got a few drips, which was not bad - turning on the radio we found that we had just had about a third of the normal August rainfall in a single night!


The next day was mixed blistering sunshine and clouds. We all went for a walk into the village to do some shopping, and then ambled back for some rest in the sun.


OK, I am going to make a shocking confession: on this evening I had my very first experience of cooking over charcoal - yes, this was my first proper barbecue! We had rented an iron fire pit that had a metal grill over the top. I got brave and decided that instead of using the gas cooker that we had brought with us I would do dinner over the fire. I tried to remember all of the rules, letting the charcoal settle down to a steady glow and then started.


The results?


Amazingly good, if I say so myself. It was fantastic, everything well cooked inside and nicely brown on the outside with no black bits in sight! I was hooked.


Next day things started out a bit breezy, even where we were in the shelter of a hedgerow. Turning on the radio we found that there were 60 mph winds heading our way! So, off to the village for more supplies (including the most garlicy garlic sausage we have ever had - just enough meat to stick the garlic together....) and back to make sure our tent didn't take off. We had a couple of pegs pull free, but a combination of the hedgerow and our youngest who appointed himself as chief peg checker, we were OK, doing rather better than those who had chosen more exposed positions.


The wind more or less died down in the evening and we had a peaceful, if a little cold, night, returning home the next day.


We all had a great time, the farm having all sorts of stuff around - chickens, goats, bullocks, foxes (wild or course) to keep us amused, the challenge of the weather just seeming to add to the fun. Looking forward to more next year, as we are all totally hooked!


A few photos...


It rained...


Nice walks in the woods...


Our alarm clock - he started crowing at around 5am and carried on all day at random intervals until around 10.30pm!

My daughter thought Custard looked cold and gave him one of her blankets...





The English countryside...


"Look guys, I don't want to come into your field, OK?"


More English countryside...


The area is a bit short of flat ground - this soccer pitch was the least-flat one I have ever seen!


Clouds...

12 comments:

territerri said...

What an adventure! It sounds like you had to truly brave the elements! And in spite of the extreme weather, you guys are all hooked? You are true campers!

The photos are beautiful. It looks like you picked a fantastic place to set up camp. I'm not much of a camper myself, but now I'm kind of thinking it could be kind of fun!

I'm wondering though... the place where you camped... did it offer public toilets and showers? Those would be a must for me. No outhouses or bathing in a lake for me, thanks.

tz said...

I don't know why I'm so fascinated about Engish side camping...but did you just pitch a tent on someone's farm land? Are there public lands for camping? Do you need permits?

Here we have camp grounds...or you can hike in and find a random space in the mountains but that's on public lands (and I guess w/ permission on private land)...

is camping very popular in England? we're pretty outdoorsy here in Colorado (as a whole, I, not so much)

Chief Rock Chef said...

Terri and tz - We were on a farm that runs one of its fields as a campsite with toilets, showers and dishwashing facilities provided. I think even we would have thought twice about having to wash in a lake! Camping is in the rise again over here - with the increasing price and inconveniece of air travel more and more are staying in England and camping has taken a big boost. For example, when we booked our spot around Easter we were told that we would probably be more or less alone as most people came at the weekends. There were around 10 other families there in the end! That is a big increase for one small site.

James said...

Glad the rain was not every day John I thought of you lots of times last week when it was thunder and lightning and lashing down.

Chief Rock Chef said...

James - the days were amazingly dry, I think we got very lucky. We saw lots of very nasty clouds going past on either side, but only got the odd shower. We only saw one flash of lightning - I am not sure that we would have enjoyed a thunder storm in our teepee!

Ali said...

I'm so happy you're a "real" camper like we are! You know, in tents and stuff...and snacking on garlic sausage, lol, that's a true camping staple.
Glad you had a good time - Happy Belated Birthday, and I missed you!

Chief Rock Chef said...

Ali - Thanks - we had to do it properly, my wife wanted the kids to experience it like that, not too many creature comforts - except for the Nintendo DSs of course...

jenelle said...

Glad that your trip was a success and welcome back.

Teresa said...

Those pictures were great! Loved the cows and tho rooster that crowed at 5am!! Ugh...we'd been having grilled chicken after day #2!! Ha!

I love laying in a tent and watching the rain hit it...a good tent that is...one that doens't leak! I'm glad yours didn't leak!

And those countryside pictures were awesome! I want to camp in England now!

We always used to 'tent camp' but then after adding babies, we upgraded to a Pop-Up camper. It was too much to do with wee little ones. I love it though!

Glad you had a good time, are hooked but now are back with us...where you belong! LOL...just kidding...you belong with your family but I am glad we get to borrow you most days! LOL!

Chief Rock Chef said...

Teresa - I had never thought of myself as being on loan before!

Um Naief said...

aaaahhhh, i'm in love w/ english countrysides!!! how i'd love to live close to these... they look just divine! :)

i'd say you had a really good camping experience. and cooking of charcoal is soooo much better than gas! everything tastes better, i think. my hubby got a new grill this past year and loves cooking on it and has actually gotten quite good at it. it's way tooooo hot to grill out now, but i've wanted to many a day.

love the photos and your daughter is right, custard did look cold!

so glad you guys had a good time. wish we could get some of that glorious rain! i'm so sick of this hot weather!!

kenady said...

It sounds like you and yours had an amazing time! Camping wouldn't be any fun if the weather cooperated:) Glad you are back, safe and sound! Oh, and your photos are great! Thanks for sharing.