Saturday, 22 June 2013

Damp summer fete

For the second year running we decided to head up to the Mapledurham Summer Fete and support an event my Uncle helps to put on. Sadly the weather wasn't a patch on last year, we spent the day wrapped up in several layers or sheltering under the gazebo. A huge crash on the hill leading to the event meant a lengthy detour. By the time we arrived most of the cars in the classic line up were in place. I'd been asked to try and rustle up some support again, with help from H&B and LTV along with a couple of others we amassed around 20 assorted cars and vans during the day. With Kim and her dad and Lily all in the Beetle, the Camper was the load carrier, with just me and a gazebo for company. Soon we were set up.

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After a bite to eat and with the rain stopping, we set off for the carboot sale, hoping to bag as good a bargain as Lily's £1 dolly buggy.

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All we could find was a stash of a dozen kiddies books for £1 this time. Not bad. We headed bck to the Camper to offload and then set off once more for the marquees. Past the classic cars as we went.

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Inside, Lily was busily making a hedgehog from clay and sticks, its now hardening in the kitchen. An ice cream was now called for as we headed back once more to the Camper.

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With Lily being entertained by her grandparents I made a hasty wander down the line for some photos while it was dry. One of the highlights being the quartet of Bucklers, a kit car from a Caversham based company, nice and local.

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Volkswagens made up 50% of the line, the air-cooled (and lone waterboy) a hardy bunch staying to the damp end.

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There were cars to appeal to all ages.

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During the afternoon there was a dog show, Alan and his huskys cleared up with three awards won. Lily brushed up on her scootering skills as well.

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Soon the cars drifted away, we'd braved several hours and had a good natter and walk round. Time for one last lineup photo before packing away and the short drive home.

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Sunday, 16 June 2013

The slightly smaller Wallingford campout

Last year was a bit of a washout.But thats in the past and when I finished blogging about it on the sunday evening I said it was the end of the Big Wally Campout. Come March time I was once again calling my man in Wallingford and booking some pitches. In a change to previous years we now needed a deposit from every pitch so I complied the list and we finally agreed on a date. Money collected in we had the little field at the front of the site once more and at just after midday on an overcast Friday I pulled in, first for once I had the place to myself for a couple of hours to slowly (trapped nerve in back) build up our home for the next few days.

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Next in were David & Louise, parking their T25 further along and beginning the task of erecting their awning. Soon after, Kim, Lily and Emma arrived in the Beetle from swimming. A snoozing Lily catching 40 winks in the front. Once awake we lunched.

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Next in was Gren & Jan, bringing the blue skies and the sunshine along with his Gipsy and grandson Oz. The mighty Palace was set up complete with TV.

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With everything set up, Lily checked the ropes and Kim had a sit down.Later we made our first of many trips to see the tractor.

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Soon the camp expanded to tune of two Splitscreen vans as Roy and the boys and Frank and family rolled in.

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Last in for the evening were Wally newcomers, Kelly, Ian and Rupert. The last couple of years Lily hasn't really had anyone her age to play with, now she had her chum from swimming to wreak havoc around the camp. We munched on tea and relaxed before attempting the bedtime routine. At just before 10pm Lily finally gave in and fell asleep in the Camper with Kim as I rested my aching back in the awning. A night on the airbed easing the pain a little. Over night the wind howled and rain fell, we awoke to nothing more than a sagging flag pole!

Breakfast was soon demolished and the first tractor viewing of the day happened, then the last of our new campers arrived as Katherine, Rich, Doug and William turned up, Rich and Doug would stay while newborn William would have a comfy cot at home.

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Our day visitors, Malcs and family turned up and the kids played happily with the paints while we nattered, the London to Brighton cycle ride beckoned for Malcolm so they were soon on their way. We headed into town for the carnival, sadly the rain really came down and after a few minutes watching, we headed for the camp.

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With a tired Lily in the Beetle, I took a drive up towards Oxford to get her some sleep, within a mile she was snoozing and I returned to shelter in the van. The downpour sucking the fun out of the day for me, but soon a few rays of sunshine broke through and with the gazebo for the odd shower we sat out with Fiona, Phil and Olivia.

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Our last pitch was taken up by Pabs and Babs, Lily was spoilt by them with a couple of magazines that she was soon flicking through.

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With the sun now beaming down the kids were back out in their wellies and the BBQs were lit for tea. Much meat and a little cider was consumed.

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As is now customary, I set up the camera for a group photo, we managed almost 25 of us, all smiles before bedtime.

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After trying for a while to get the kids to sleep, only Rich succeeded with Doug snoozing nearby in their tent, Lily and Rupert eventually emerged and had cuddles wrapped up in blankets by the fire as we chatted.

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With darkness coming they finally succumbed to sleep and settled down, a few of us remained to natter before finally hitting respective R'n'R beds for the night. Sunday dawned bright and dry and once again the pans sizzled with bacon.

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It was also Fathers Day, so the dads amongst us were spoilt by our kids. I was very lucky and received a Top Gear book and a really cool personalised cookie!!

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We took it in turns to pack away the pitch, the kids playing on the blanket. Others had a cuppa and a read.

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With the camper and Beetle packed there was one final job to do, say goodbye to the tractor and getting a photo next to it. The trio of toddlers who had been marching purposely round site, marched hand in hand round the path and for a few brief seconds stood together before running their separate ways!.

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We did the rounds of goodbyes and finally headed home. All the kit packed away dry, children tired but happy and the adults ready for a sit down. It was a completely different Wally camping trip to the previous ones, we came back with more cider than we took almost and were tucked up soon after 10pm. But it was smiles all round. The list for 2014 has already begun.

There are a few more photos from a corking weekend (if you ignore me grumbling about my back and the rain) here