Sunday, 27 July 2014

Carry on camping

For the fourth time this year I found myself pulling into Bridge Villas campsite in the camper. Our spot in the shade reserved the previous week I was first in and setting up as the rest of Kims works colleagues arrived.

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The 70s arrived in style, with Kim and Lily in the Beetle, dressed for the part! By tea time we were all in and set up and chewing the fat.

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After a fish and chip supper we tucked Lily into bed, where she assumed the most random of sleeping poses across the pillows.

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For the rest of the night we sat and chatted and watched the stars and the bats come out before getting some rest.

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Saturday dawned hot, but our shady corner of the site made it very pleasant as bacon and black pudding were munched as we planned our day. The Tassimo coffee machine was brought out, a new addition to the camp kitchen and much caffeine was drunk too.

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A spot of foam plane flying was had before we loaded up and walked into town, a wander round the shops before a picnic was put together and decamped to the castle grounds. Kite and plane flying, interspersed with eating and drinking led to a hike up the castle once more.

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IN keeping with tradition we hiked back down and round to the riverside splash park so the kids could get soaked and cool off, some of the adults joined in! Duck feeding from the banks of the Thames used up the last of the bread before we split up. Most headed for the campsite while the Steves headed for the shops to gather meat for the BBQ.

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Once again the butchers came up trumps with a fine selection of meat which I wielded my tongs over.

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We polished the lot off and settled into a meat induced stupor in the chairs while the kdis ran around and wore themselves out before bedtime.

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A fire log was unleashed in the ashes of the BBQ and provided toasted marshmallows to those brave/stupid enough to try.

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After some stories, Lily dozed off on Kim and was whisked into bed for a well earned sleep.

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With the kids safely out the way we indulged in more flaming and snacks before watching the smoked out bats circle and shooting stars fly overhead. The drink flowed and the conversation lowered in tone.

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Finally at midnight we crawled to our beds for a good nights sleep. Sleep that was disturbed at 5am by the three dull booms and the ground shakes as some of the cooling towers at the nearby Didcot power station were blown up. Over breakfast of more coffee and bacon with added black pudding we began the pack away of the camp before a surprise visit from Wally veteran and Cornwall dweller Stu, up for the weekend to visit a friend round the corner. We nattered as we packed before saying our goodbyes and heading for home. Another successful and sunny campout over. On the drive down the A4074 I stopped to get an "after" photo of the powerstation to go with the "before" from the previous week.

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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Crazy kiddy camping

For the third time in the last couple of months we were heading back to Wallingford for some camping. Booked by one of our toddler mum friends Katherine it was going to be an interesting weekend with five families and eight under fives together. With a day off and Lily needing to go to pre-school, I set off early and parked up in the shady glade at the far end of the site, under the trees would be a blessing during the weekend.

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With the awning set up, Kelly and the kids arrived and with a bit of headscratching we got their massive tent up, shortly after Katherine and her boys were pitching and with Helen and Bal and Emma and Trevor we filled the little corner nicely. Various other halves arrived through the evening as the weekend began.

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With tea cooked and eaten we all settled down in the chairs while the children roamed round and played. Soon bedtime was looming and with excitable toddlers it was a struggle to get them all tucked up. I think we lost with Lily finally asleep about 11pm in the end! The weather, which had started very hot began to get more humid and as beds beckoned the heavy rain began and the thunder rumbled. In the distance lightning could be seen. The rain hammered down most of the night and with a brief wakeup to shift the pooling on the top of the awning. Saturday dawned wet and still raining, thankful we'd packed the gazebo we crammed underneath and cooked breakfast.

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Slowly the weather cleared and the rain radar showed nothing else coming any time soon we decided to make the most of the day and headed out. First stop the camp tractor.

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Heading over the bridge into town we aimed for Costa to boost the flagging adults with caffeine and got a picnic together before walking up to the castle grounds.

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After munching for a bit, we left some of the group chilling by the ruins, while the rest of us hiked up to the top of the castle.

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And back down again.

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On the walk back we decided to try and cool off in the splashpool fountains. Two hours later all the kids were soaked, the dads were too and a couple of mums got a bit damp too! Back at the camp we dried and regrouped. The kids relaxing with some TV on the ipad and the adults prepared for tea, a mountain of meat was bought and the BBQ fired up.

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We were stuffed and with washing up done we started on bedtime for the kids. After last nights disaster, Lily was first asleep in the camper and the others followed soon after. The adults chilled under the gazebo until midnight drink and munching snacks and talking twaddle (as usually happens by that time of night)

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With a few showers overnight we woke to foggy conditions, both in thew sky and in some peoples heads! Coffee and bacon soon banished all this and we set too packing everything away.

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Tents and awnings were loaded into cars and bags stuffed where they fitted. We decided to head out for a picnic once more, so the shops got raided and the castle grounds our destination.

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After filling tummies the hill and pond became a playground until it was time to head home.

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With goodbyes done, we clambered into the Dubs and headed out across the bridge. Despite the weathers best efforts we had a wonderful time, the children loved it and the adults had some downtime.

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