Sunday 18 September 2011

I have been camping again.
Not my own choice this time, but the choice of youngest son who requested a camping party for his 7th Birthday. Ahhh, a boy after my own heart, how could I refuse?  He has taken on board my love of the outdoors! We decided to keep it small and only invited 3 - one couldn't make it, one was happy to come to the party but not sleep over and only one was willing to embrace the whole experience. I was happy with that!
I'm so glad I didn't let the weather reports put me off! There were severe weather warnings for heavy rain over the Friday, Saturday and Sunday. If it had been correct, the party would have been a wash out!

I decided to go a day early and set up the Izmir on Friday while the boys were at school. It was a glorious afternoon - at the last minute I decided to forego EHU and go right down by the lake.
I chose a spot right amongst the trees - just incase the bad weather hit, it was nice and sheltered.
So once set up, I took the dogs for a blast around the woodland walk, then returned to the tent, made myself a coffee - an hour of peace and quiet, sat in the sunshine - ahh, one of those moments that are to be savoured as they don't come along very often!
All too soon it was time to go and pick up the boys from school.
We had tea, hubby went to work on his last night shift, D had football practice so it was 7pm by the time we headed back to site. It did rain while I was at home, but it had stopped by the time we got back to camp.
Got the lanterns lit, firelog in the firepit, got the boys showered and into PJs and dressing gowns, hot chocolate all round and we had a cosy evening by the fire. Another one of those blissful moments - just the three of us, cupping steaming mugs of hot chocolate, watching the flames, under the stars. Sounds a bit Enid Blyton doesn't it?
We had some rain throughout the night and the wind got up, but nothing the Izmir couldn't cope with. We were all warm and cosy inside.
I didn't have the best nights sleep - a couple turned up after dark and pitched a tiny tent just the other side of the trees. No problem with that, but they were still chatting at 2am and sound seems to really carry through a tent! Also a group in the next field were partying until the wee hours. Again, not a major problem as we were well away from them, but just enough to stop me going straight off to sleep again.
Saturday dawned wet and windy, so after letting the dogs out and making more hot chocolate, we all went back to bad to read for a couple of hours. Once the rain stopped, the dogs were walked again, then I pitched the second tent ready for our guests. D was very helpful - holding poles together for me and helping me to gaffer tape them together!

Once up, I festooned the fairy lights over both tents and set them to recharge in the sunshine.
 Unbelievably there was no more rain, the weather stayed dry and sunny if blustery.
Party guests arrived and instead of ball games, we spent the afternoon kite flying!
My boys find it a little boring now, but their guests loved it! I keep a wooden box full of tent toys and games that always comes away with us and ensures that there is always something to do in adverse weather - luckily there were two kites in there.

I love kite flying - there is something uplifting and exciting about those brightly coloured bits of cloth swooping and soaring in the wind. These are very simple kites which fly in even the slightest breeze and are very easy for little hands to manage.
After that it was time for tea. We barbequed on the Cobb - sausages and burgers on buns to suit the boys, lots of ketchup, all shared with the hounds.
I took some homemade cakes and let them decorate their own using chocolate spread and plain white icing, plus loads of sprinkles and chocolate stars.
Even the strawberries got dunked in the icing!
Then there was some tree climbing
And finally we lit the fire and did toasted marshmallows and played charades. The wind dropped and the evening was still and calm. We even had some clear sky and managed to do a bit of star gazing.
We were a bit nervous of letting the boys all sleep alone in a seperate tent, so little M and his friend slept in their tent with Dad and D joined me in the big double bed. They did try to stay awake, but very quickly succumbed - they were exhausted!
A and I had a peaceful, grown up, 10 minutes by the fire before A also had to turn in (well he had just finished his night shift). After another 10 minutes on my own, I was also ready for bed. This time nothing kept me awake! And having little D in with me meant I had a built in hot water bottle! Poor A didn't fare so well - a big man on a narrow camp bed and his quilt kept falling off (his own fault as he doesn't like sleeping bags!)
At 7am I was wide awake and refreshed. Let the dogs out and admired the rising sunlight over the lake.
Breakfast this morning was sausages done on the Cobb followed by pancakes. I used one of those pancake mixes where you add water and shake, and did those on the Cobb as well. They were all eaten, but I didn't get to try them myself - should have bought two! Worked very well, even if they didn't brown as much as they do in a frying pan.
The weather stayed gorgeous while we packed up both tents. Got home about 2pm, then the heavens opened and the threatened downpour finally hit. Perfect timing! Not a wet canvas in the house - just the sort of camping I love.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

So are you wondering what happened to my summer project? The old cabanon tent that I'd bought for £35? Lovely looking tent! We used it for a 4 day camp at our local site. Didn't bother with the bedroom inners after all as they were too small for our airbed!

It certainly looks nice from a distance doesn't it?

Nice and spacious inside, although there wasn't really room to cook in there once we'd spread our beds everywhere, so the cooker stayed outside!
I was given a lovely wardrobe unit by my friend. Much neater than bags of clothes all over the floor, and ideal in a frame tent. Won't be much use in the pyramid though!

 But look a bit closer and you'll see the problems! Oh look, is that window taped closed with insulation tape??

Ooh yes, nice!!

Because the insect mesh was so perished it crumbled at the slightest touch. I had to tape the window down to stop a gale whistling through the tent!
 And is that a large repair down the side of the window? Yes - it is cotton webbing used to patch a large tear, but the fabric is so perished that it is tearing where it has been sewn!
 I think one strong gust of wind would have shredded the tent!

 Another hole? Yes, but a large piece of gaffer tape rendered it waterproof.
  Somehow we missed getting this canopy pole into it's pocket. Which lead to another hole as the canvas ripped when we tried to sort it out.
It was mostly waterproof. Except around the bottom edges where it soaked through and wet the airbeds.
To cap it all, when we were taking it down, the poles bent. I think they had been bent and straightened in the past as it didn't take much at all to bend them!
So sadly, the now renamed Manky Cabanon has been recycled. The poles were claimed by a colleague of my son who wanted them for some project or other.

The Canvas walls are too weak to be used for anything else so will be binned, but the roof material is still good and strong so will be utilised for windbreaks.
The curtains have been sent to a friend so she can use the curtain hooks for her newly acquired Cabanon.
The inners have been cut up to make smaller groundsheets and the roof lining made a great dust sheet for decorating. And I have all the clips and guyropes in my spares box, so nothing has gone to waste.
So worth a punt, but sadly not to be and at least it wasn't a complete waste of money, after all we got 4 nights accomodation out of it!

Sunday 11 September 2011

 Well the babies are growing nicely! They moved out of the dining room into the greenhouse until I could sort out a run for them. They have been sleeping in the dog crate in the greenhouse but go out into a run on the lawn during the day. They enjoy this tray of compost!
I finally managed to find a house that I liked. The wood looks nice but all those gaps and cracks are a haven for redmite so it needed modifying.
 Several coats of undercoat, polyfilla and gloss, a roosting bar added, and it is now habitable.
 They can move out of the greenhouse at last!
 Don't look too impressed do they?

Thursday 25 August 2011

  Of the chickeny kind that is! Meet Miyun, Liulimiao and Changping, the Pekin Babies: (they will be known as Mimi, Lulu and Ping for convenience sake!)
Here they are on arrival - looking a bit stunned!
I am down to only 5 large girls at the moment so definitely needed more! A friend found out about a supplier who was selling up and getting rid of the last of his stock at a discount price - well it would have been rude not to, wouldn't it? I have been thinking about getting something different for a while, and one day I would still like to do some hatching under a broody. Pekins are supposed to make good pets and are more friendly than hybrids. Not bad layers, but prone to going broody. They sound ideal!

I still need to sort out housing - at the moment they are living in the dog crate in the dining room. I am planning to split the large run into two and give them their own quarters, but they will have a couple of weeks indoors, in quarentine, first! The oldest (Mimi) is 10 weeks old, the other two are only 8 weeks. They are so tiny! And cute!
 They have adjusted very quickly and have already trashed their quarters! They bustle about cheeping and scratching. I'm not sure what colour they are yet - Mimi, the largest, looks to be too dark for a lavender but too light for a blue. Lulu is darker still, but has lots of white feathers on her chest. It also looks like she may develop white feathers round her face. Possibly a mottled or splash? And Ping the tiny one looks like an explosion in a paint factory! Black, white and buff feathers in no discernible pattern. I am keeping my fingers crossed that she may be a Mille Fleur as it is such a pretty colour.
  I have ordered a small wooden house for them and am hoping it will arrive today as I have a day off so I can get on and start building them a run!

Thursday 14 July 2011

 When we started camping it was as a means of enjoying cheap family holidays. At the time I didn't anticipate that it would also give us a lot more holidays! We have just returned from our 4th 'holiday' so far this year (OK, some have only been a couple of nights, but that is still a break isn't it?) And we have at least 3 more breaks planned, no doubt we will find a few more through the summer as well!

Anyway, this time we had a whole eight days in Wales, and for once the weather was wonderfully kind to us. We have now sold Connie the Conway (she took too long to put up for short breaks and I needed a trailer to get all our gear into. No room on the drive for trailer and trailer tent!). We have bought a bigger canvas tent (more of that later) but for Wales, it had to be our favourite tent, the canvas pyramid.
  We camped at Nantcol Waterfalls - a stunning site, near Llanbedr, with the Nantcol river running through it. The day we arrived was wet, and the roaring waterfall was a bit of a pain initially!
 But the damp didn't stop the boys doing what boys do best - getting wet and building dams.
 They spent hours in that river. And we could see them from the tent, so very relaxing for us.
 When they weren't in the river, we were on the beach. Harlech and Barmouth have stunning beaches, and we had the perfect beach weather.
 There was a lovely walk up from the campsite alongside the falls.
 And stunning views from the top.
 We did the obligatory train ride up Snowdon only to find the peak in the clouds!
 We did lots of relaxing round the campfire.
 Met some adorable baby pygmy goats. The boys even managed to catch one for a cuddle.
 We really wanted to visit Shell Island, but were reluctant to pay £5 just to have a quick look round. Then we got talking to a local lady who told us that the beach at Llandanwg, which was opposite Shell Island, was even better, and free! She was right - it was beautiful! Lots of rock pools, very quiet, lovely soft warm sand and lots of shells!
 We used the proceeds from the sale of the trailer tent to extend our normal tent equipment. A pop up tent from decathlon made a very useful kitchen area and removed clutter from the front of the tent.
 At the end of the week we were joined by some friends from the UKCampsite forum. Cue lots of sitting around the fire and nattering.
 Watching the sun go down and drinking wine. It was bliss.
 There was no rush to leave the site on the last day so we went for a walk, following the river downstream this time. I came across this tiny cave and mushroom. It reminded me of Iggle Piggle's cave - from the children's programme 'In the Night Garden'
 It was a glorious week and an area of Wales I would love to go back to - there was so much more to be seen!

Onto my 'new' tent! It's an old Cabanon frame tent that needs a bit of TLC - it needs new mesh windows and springs and rubbers replacing. May also need some patching. But for £35, it will be worth it!

 It has these lovely, migraine inducing, curtains and roof trim. Quite by chance I spotted an advert on preloved for a set of inners and curtains in more modern colours, for the same tent. Hm, although the more I look at these retro curtains, the more they start to grow on me! Watch this space, it is to be my summer project!

Tuesday 10 May 2011

I love getting together with friends don't you? It's been a great Easter break for doing just that this year.

Our neighbours held a bit of a last minute street party for the Royal Wedding. How lovely to get to know the people on our street a bit better over a few glasses of wine and some burgers! I'm afraid I led the party astray later on by encouraging the menfolk to throw a few logs onto the spent barbeque and use them as fire pits! This idea was warmly embraced and the marshmallows on sticks came out and everyone got suitably smoked! A great evening all round!

We didn't have anything planned for the bank holiday weekend, so when a friend suggested a couple of nights at our favourite local campsite, we jumped at the chance! Chance to get the lovely Relum Izmir tent out again and try the new, high level airbed in it. Was a snug fit, but just about worked!
 Pale green seems to be a popular shade this year and it is a colour I love (I'm not normally keen on green!) Treated myself to a few bits and pieces. The colour looks very nice with the purple tent.
 Get a tent nice and tidy and it's invaded with kids. They had a great time though.
 I wondered why Ruby was suddenly so interested in my company until I realised she had spotted some food in the bag behind my chair. She stared at it for ages, but it didn't jump into her mouth sadly.
 I also picked up a firepit from Dunelm, so we had to try it out. Although the weather was nice, it was very windy. The windbreak helped block the wind so we had a nice sheltered area to sit in.

 We sat round the campfire, drinking wine and watching the sun go down. Very peaceful.
 It got a bit chilly in the evenings still so the fire was very welcome! Another good time spent with good friends.
 It's that time of year when all the trees are blossoming. I only managed one picture in the woods before my camera battery died!
 My favourite campsite - a bank holiday weekend and I have never seen it so busy. I like this kind of busy campsite!
 Our set up. A pleasant couple of days. Now back to reality and a few more weeks of work before we get to go away again!

Tuesday 26 April 2011

Oh dear, I seem to lurch from one catch up post to another these days! Just goes to show how busy life is - I hope!
We've done some more camping - tried out the little canvas Java tent - small for 4 of us, but fine for just 2 nights, and easy to heat (this was early April before the nice weather kicked in). We forgot the hose to connect the cooker to the gas bottle, so had to do all our cooking on the Cobb barbeque and boil our water using the Kelly Kettle!

Used our new airbed - a Coleman double height, queensize bed. Layered with loads of blankets and a flannelette sleeping bag liner - you can't get much cozier than this!
 We than had a full week away at Wellington Country Park. A lovely site in the forest and on the edge of the country park itself. A fabulous week, very relaxing - in the trailer tent this time.
Some of the deer in the adjacent deer park. The trip was mainly to visit Legoland as we had been given annual passes for Christmas (brilliant!), but in between those hectic days, we just chilled by the tent - the boys had a great time.
We are now home and after a quiet easter weekend are already trying to decide where to go this weekend for another short camp!

Monday 07 March 2011

I am back at last! I have had a short break away, to have a much needed operation and recuperate. That was 6 weeks ago and I am feeling fitter than I have for a long time! Dogs are being walked properly again, the neglected allotment has been tackled, and even unfinished sewing projects are being finished off!As you can see, 6 year old socks finally got made! I also managed to make a pair for a friend, but forgot to photograph them before sending!
One wall hanging - finished!
One patchwork quilt for a friend - finished!
Hat and scarf made from donated yarn - started and finished!
I have a Recycled Bag Lady bag commission to finish next, then I am free to work on my next project - revamping a tent! Should be interesting!

Tuesday 07 December 2010

 Yay! My girlies are growing up! They have all matured nicely, but especially Daisy who has now started laying pretty Farrow and Ball green eggs. Sage has also come back into lay so we are back up to two eggs, most days.

 The others can't be far behind Daisy - Marigold especially is getting more and more confident. 
 I've had to clip their wings as they keep using the trampoline as a take off point to reach the shed roof!
 Candy remains fascinated by the hens. She has managed to land amongst them once or twice, but hasn't managed more than a mouthful of feathers before being scared witless by the whole experience and freezing. But it doesn't stop her watching them however she can.
 Sewing and general craftiness has been severely reduced recently. It is so frustrating not to have the time to make things myself, and I have resorted to buying some things that in the past I would have made. I was however, determined to make this advent calendar for the boys. I bought the kit last year, so it really did take priority. I finally added the finishing touches the evening before it was needed. You can't see it clearly here, but the pockets are all embellished with beads and glitter. Very rewarding to make - and very much appreciated by all three boys!
 And I've managed to knit one pair of boys socks! (with an orange toe as I ran out of wool right at the end). But he hasn't noticed and is delighted with them. Socks for an 8 year old are much quicker to make than adult socks! Now to quickly make some for 6 year old before he gets jealous.

 The snow has finally gone here, but the cold hasn't. The temperature hasn't been above 0 for several days. It caught me out yesterday when I couldn't defrost the car quick enough and was late for work.

 It's so beautiful though! Everything is glittery white, and we have had sunshine and blue skies to really make it all sparkle.
 I can't resist taking photographs of it all. It transforms everything.
 See those fabulous cobwebs on the side of the shed? And the wonderful pattern of those leaves on the left?
 The pond pump is keeping an unfrozen area on the pond, but it is surrounded by icicles.
 The fish can be seen moving slowly under the ice.
 Look at these leaves!
 Had to do a late walk with the dogs today - work, then pick up the boys from school, so a quick change and a race to the park to let the hounds blow off steam. The setting sun was washing everything with a pretty blush pink.
 So lovely - but blooming cold!
 It was good to get home and get the fire on and the curtains drawn and hibernate for the evening.

Some didn't feel the cold! Ruby had to do roly polys down the hill. And run with her mouth open and close to the ground so she scooped up mouthfuls of grass and ice. Silly moo!

 And a frozen skatepark is still fun - instant slides on the frozen slopes!

Saturday 30 October 2010

 Well I finally managed to get round to collecting some new girls. I really wanted some pure breeds, but there are very few suppliers near me, and even fewer with POL hens at this time of year! I spotted a newish supplier of hybrids and went to have a look, and hopefully to buy 3 new girls.

 No your eyes do not deceive you - there really are 4 in there! A ranger - Marigold, on the left, 2 columbines (blue egg layers), Daisy and Daffodil and underneath them all is Lily, a whitestar and white egg layer. The columbines were so pretty and came in such a variety of colours, I couldn't choose just one!
 The old girls glaring at the new girls in the run!
 I have a tried and tested method of introducing new hens. It only works because they have space and height in the run. I start by putting the new hens into the cube and shutting them in for a few minutes.
 Then I let the old girls out of the run to free range, and I shut them out. The new girls are then allowed out of the cube and into the run. They get a few hours peace to find the food and water and settle in. 
 I then allow one or two of the older girls back into the run, with the newbies. There is often a bit of chasing, but the new girls soon find the high perches and once up there the old girls leave them alone. I leave it as late as possible before allowing the old girls back in to roost - they then have very little time to harrass the newbies before going to bed. They are let out to freerange again first thing next morning.
 For 5 days I make sure that the old girls get shut out of the run to freerange for several hours a day. This gives the newbies chance to fly down for food and water. I also scatter lots of treats in the run during this time. The new girls will often fly down to investigate whilst the oldies are distracted.
 After 5 days they are all let out to freerange together.
 This time I was introducing 4 to 7, so safety in numbers. But I've used the same method to introduce 2 or 3 to 10 and it still works.
 Marigold and Lily were first out.
 Daisy and Daffodil were a little more wary.
 But the lure of green grass soon took hold.
 They are so funny compared to the old girls. The oldies just pootle around the garden. These girls jump and skip and flap and get quite giddy with the newness of it all. They are so funny to watch.
 This picture was taken when they had been with me for 7 days. They are all out freeranging together. No hassle at all from the old girls. So I am now back up to 11 hens. And not one solitary egg for 2 weeks! I am just praying that at least one of my new girls starts laying before christmas. We had to BUY eggs this week :0(

Saturday 23 October 2010

Yay, I made it back again! Be honest, you didn't think I would did you? :0)

Anyway, here is part 2 of our little jaunt!
The food at Biggin is delicious - there is only a limited menu, but it is all beautifully cooked, tasty and plentiful. Braised Lamb was on the menu, followed by dessert, cheese and biscuits and coffee served in the lounge in front of a roaring fire. We were exhausted and stuffed so an early night was called for! Even the dogs slept well!

Next morning dawned very bright and clear - a total contrast to the day before! So after a huge breakfast we checked out and headed for Dovedale. The frost was still on the grass and the day was sparkling.
 We decided a short walk was in order, so that we would have time to do a bit of touristy (childfree) shopping before heading home.
 Just a shame that the sun was so low still that the valley was still in shade, and perishingly cold!
 A short half hour walk brought us to the famous Dovedale stepping stones. Now bear in mind that the dogs have already been in and out of the river, crossed it and back again several times before this point. Ruby follows us nicely across the stepping stones.
 And back again.
 But not Candy. Those stepping stones might eat her. And she cannot wade across, because we didn't.
 So A does the manly thing ...
 ... and carries her across, much to the amusement of other walkers! Daft dog!
 Then we hit the sunshine.
 I never tire of these autumnal colours.
 Typical Derbyshire, with those outcrops of white limestone. As soon as I see white stone walls, it takes me back to my childhood - they are such a familiar sight around these parts, and I grew up just north of here.
 We didn't go far. Just far enough to appreciate the beauty of this spot. Then it was time to head for home.

 We walked back down the 'rough' side of the river.

 This would be a lovely place to bring the children in summer, for a picnic and a paddle. But as A pointed out, it would probably be heaving then!

Following a quick browse around Bakewell and the obligatory purchase of genuine Bakewell tart (still too much icing and pastry and not enough almond sponge) and gifts for the boys, we set off home. Back to reality. And already planning next years visit - it seems such a long time away! xx

Friday 22 October 2010

Oh dear, I've just seen the date of my last post! I really must try to do this more regularly LOL

Anyway, the tents are now packed away for the winter. But we had one last break to look forward to. A celebrated a rather important birthday this year and our lovely stepdaughter booked him a surprise break to our favourite hotel in Derbyshire. So the children were duly packed off to the Grandparents for 4 days and we enjoyed some grown up time together. We enjoy walking so decided to take the dogs with us - a walk just isn't the same without the hounds for company!
We had a lovely room - and the hotel geese like to sit on the lawn outside our window. Which kept the dogs entertained!

We only had one full day to do a really good walk - no need to worry about whether the children would cope with it, so I planned a route about 7 miles/3 hours walking. From the hotel door a round route taking in the village of Hartington and then following the River Dove before heading back up Biggin Dale and home. After several lovely sunny days I was really looking forward to it. But the weather had other ideas.

 It started raining as we left the hotel, and continued unabated. So bear with me as I show you lots of dripping foliage and grey skies. I didn't even attempt to get the camera out until we had passed through Hartington and were heading down to Beresford Dale.

It was slightly better under the trees!

We started off wet, and got wetter, and wetter. A commented that we must be crazy to be doing this for fun! But it was fun, really!

 Despite the awful weather, it was quiet and peaceful. And around every corner the scenary changed revealing new delights. I loved this little bridge! It was very narrow and Candy was very wary of it! She could have paddled across the river here as it widens and is shallow as it is also a ford, but no, she had to cross the bridge with us.
 Ruby demonstrates the depth of water.
So does Candy. Paddling across would be easy.

 But Ruby thinks the narrow bridge is more fun!
 Candy doesn't think so, but we walked across it, so that must be the way! Eventually she plucks up the courage to follow us across. Just look at that hang dog expression on her face!
 I love the glimpse of history - at some point in the past, the stepping stones were the main crossing point for foot travellers. Horses and carts would have used the ford.
 The bridge marks the end of Beresford Dale and the start of Wolfscote Dale - a very picturesque part of the route.

 Limestone cliffs with caves. We didn't venture up to them though - we were so wet, it was easier to just keep plodding along!
 Despite the rain, this was a very pretty walk. And lots of easy walking pathways.

 Despite waterproof trousers, gaiters, coats and very good boots, the rain got through. Even the rucksack got wet inside. I picked the wrong one for the walk and should have taken the time to get one of our proper rucksacks out of the loft.
 At least we still had reasonably good visibility. It would have been very frustrating to climb a hill only to find the view obscured by low cloud.
 I have decided Derbyshire stiles are designed for very slim people only. Even the dogs struggled to squeeze through them!

 Eventually we left Wolfscote dale and turned up Biggindale. We left the river behind us. Luckily it was a very gradual ascent - by this time we had been walking for over 2 and a half hours without a break and the old legs were beginning to feel it!
  A realised that he could get phone coverage (there was none in the hotel!) and decided to do his daily phonecalls (Mother, teenage son left at home to chicken sit)

 There was a lull in the rain - and suddenly a patch of blue sky appeared. What a welcome sight!
 Another cave. I contemplated exploring, but it would have meant climbing a wooden stile and when I tried climbing, the water started running down inside my jeans. I decided it wasn't worth it!

 A bit farther on and the sun finally shone on us. Time to take a short break and eat something!
 The hawthorns were glowing with berries. Autumn is a wonderful time for seeing the countryside at it's most beautiful.
 The final walk up Biggindale was lovely, warm and sunny. Our clothes began to steam!

 When we got back to the road this had appeared - it wasn't there when we set off! No wonder we got wet.
 The welcoming party - the geese outside our room window.
The walk took us 4 hours in total, not bad considering it is many years since we walked that distance! We hobbled into our room and the first thing I did was run a hot bath and have a soak. Ahh that was bliss! I will finish off in another post - better go and feed my children now! xx

Sunday 15 August 2010

... because I really need to get another couple of chickens. Our nearest supplier has recently stopped selling, so hubby offered to take us to West Lodge rural centre where they have had some lovely pure breeds in the past (brown and exchequer leghorns in particular). But no, now they are only selling hybrids - speckledies and bluebells. And I so wanted something a bit different. So to assuage my disappointment I decided to play with the new tent.
I wasn't sure it would fit in the garden, but once the poles were up, I realised it would. So the canvas went on  and it was pegged out. Ta dah! My £20 tent - isn't she a little beauty?

The emphasis however, does have to be on little. This is not a 4 berth tent at all!
See those bedroom pods? They will comfortably hold a single airbed! A double is just too wide.
But despite that, it is a very lovely tent. Nice thick groundsheet. And you can just see the little kitchen section to the right.
This is it from the outside.
I love the way the canvas can be pegged out nice and tight - it feels very solid!
But of course, now it is up, the boys want to sleep in it. Thats how I found out it was too small for all 4 of us. I managed to squeeze our large double airbed into one pod for the boys, and I have to put up with the single airbed in the other pod. There is definitely no room for a 4th person though!
Never mind, I will keep it for those times when it is just me and the boys - and invest in a smaller double airbed for them!
Will try to track down new chickens tomorrow.

Thursday 12 August 2010

Well since buying Izzy, it has been possible for us to go on more, short camping trips than before. Izzy is very simple to pitch, but a bit of a faff to fill - but that is my fault because I don't do simple camping! Here is Izzy's luxury interior - lots of rugs and blankets, extremely cosy.
We spent a couple of nights at a local campsite with friends and had a lovely time - real campfire and starry nights!
Izzy was ideal because the weather was nice so we cooked and ate outdoors and just slept in the tent.
We also used it for a couple of one nighters, joining a group of friends for campfires and friendship.
This is Izzy with homemade awning, in case of rain!
But the other night my hubby spotted an advert in the Co-op - large canvas frame tent for sale, £20.
Well, I just had to go and look didn't I?
It is about 20 - 30 years old, in immaculate condition. Made by a german company called EA Camping, and it is a Java. Looks like a bungalow style tent. Somewhere in size between the TT and Izzy. Just look at those retro orange and brown stripes! I am very frustrated now as I have no room to put it up and no time to nip away for a weekends camp!
I will instead keep getting the canvas out of it's bag and lovingly unrolling it in the kitchen, and rolling it back up again. It has some rather unpleasant looking gold, nylon curtains so I am dreaming of colour schemes and new fabric!

Tuesday 29 June 2010

Well as you can see, I've really caught the camping bug this year! Loving the trailer tent, but it's no good if I want to go somewhere with just me and the boys (or even just me! Huh, chance would be a fine thing!) So anyway, I started looking for another tent - just a little one, that I would be able to put up with very minimal help. And I bought this one from Aldi - £60. Very nice little tent, went up with no help, good instructions. Great! But no, not great - it is polyester. And on a warm day it is hot - very hot. And thin and rustly. Not a patch on my thick, solid, cotton canvas trailer tent. About the same time I had seen dutch pyramid tents being mentioned - canvas, small and put uppable by one. And when a lady mentioned she was selling hers I casually enquired about it. And she sent me the following picture:
Oh dear - I fell in love! Isn't it lovely? It is a Relum Izmir, made in 1994, cream and lilac cotton.
So I bought it. Hubby was not impressed, so I have to sell the poly tents - no hardship there then!
Couldn't resist putting her up in the garden - it was a bit of a tight squeeze. She has rather an ample behind!  But I did it all on my own!  She is called Izzy by the way.

Isn't she pretty? I've decided she will look nice with some lime green accessories. Those bedroom pods look a bit snug though.

So I took them out and covered the whole of the floor with groundsheet. And the boys and I camped in the garden. Although I had showered her with the hosepipe and no water had come through, I did have a slight wobble in the night when I was woken by a roar and we were hit by torrential rain!

Not a drop came through! Dry as a bone - and felt very solid around us. The boys slept soundly, nothing woke them! Then this morning when the sun came out, this was the view from my bed. Isn't it just gorgeous? Somehow I don't think it would have been quite the same in the Aldi tent.

Thursday 10 June 2010

Well we had our little holiday, but it's taken me all week to get round to writing about it! Back to work all too quickly and then the tiredness sets in and the days fly by! But work is now finished for this week and it's time to relive the holiday. Apart from the much longed for trip to Legoland, it was a very unexciting, laid back type of holiday. Lots of time spent just sitting and crocheting and reading while the boys ran about and climbed and played and made friends. Ideal really! But I also had time to play with Connie. As you can see above the bunting looks very effective.
And once the light was fading, my little tea light holders added a lovely glow to the tent. Sadly we lost one to breakage on the way here - I shall improve my packing next time!
Trailer tents are wonderful with there rugged steel pole construction. Very useful for hanging things from. See my lovely french market basket? Perfect for wash bag and towel for the shower trips. And yes, that is my stetson - much better than an umberella in the rain!
Our bed was fabulously cosy with the addition of the airbed and my charity shop bedding. We did actually get one night that was too warm for blankets so to be able to throw off the sleeping bag but still have a cool cotton cover was bliss.
Hm, all those rugs are a bit of a hotch potch aren't they? But at least very comfortable underfoot! That tartan blanket was another charity shop find - £2. We had some additional 'junkshop' finds to add to our tent but not so pretty as to show you! An aquaroll container for fresh water (we have a little pump tap on the kitchen unit, so running water - what luxury!) and another container for waste. £3 from a carbooty thanks to my Dad. All hidden nicely away under the kitchen unit.
After a day at legoland we spent a pleasant sunny day on the Thames and wandering round Windsor. I must say we were very pleased to get away and head north again. The campsite was lovely, but it was next to the M4 and I hadn't realised just how noisy it would be! Next stop was Sibbertoft, not far from home. My friend and her family came to join us so we had a trailer tent commune. She joined us straight from work and had been given some plants that she had ordered from a colleague. Well what else could we do but decorate the tent with them?
It looked very effective and the campsite owner was impressed! But we did very little here other than laze in the sun, drink wine and watch the sun go down, then throw a couple of logs on the barbeque and sit around the fire. Saturday we were treated to a rather spectacular thunderstorm - very daunting from a tent! But it felt surprisingly secure. So now it's over and I am suposed to be refreshed and relaxed *sigh* Must start planning my next trip!

Monday 31 May 2010

The boys have been helping in my attempts to glamp Connie the Conway. They painted these little desert pots for me, I added the gold and silver embellishments. Don't they look great? I have some vanilla scented tealights to go in them. But I need to find a way of hanging them now!
We are off today for the week, firstly to Windsor to a site near Legoland as we have been promising thte boys a trip there for a while. We were supposed ot eb coming home on Thursday, but the weather next weekend is looking very promising so we will be moving to a site nearer home and setting up camp again! Hubby will then have to come home as he is back at work on Friday, but i will be joined by a friend and her family in their trailer tent. Am looking forward to some very lazy, reading and crocheting time!See you all next week! xx

Sunday 16 May 2010

Our favourite walk has been transformed this week. It doesn't matter how grey the skies, the fields are glowing with golden rapeseed. It cannot fail to uplift your mood.
The girls enjoyed it too, flushing pheasants and rabbits from cover and bouncing high to see their way out. But it took it's toll on their coats - Candy is now wearing green eyeshadow and Ruby is just coated with a layer of sticky sap.

Thursday 13 May 2010

I have discovered a new term - glamping, or glamorous camping. And it's become strangely appealing. Somehow I never had the urge to glamp the Vango - it was a big blue dome, with nowhere to hang anything. Cosy, but basic. I have seen a couple of references recently to a more appealing form of camping and suddenly I am viewing Connie the trailer tent in a whole new light. It started with Lucy over at Attic24 Lovely pictures of some very funky campers and caravans! And a trailer tent is almost a caravan isn't it?Then I saw some pics of bell tents! Oh wow, now I want one of those - can't have one as have just bought a trailer tent, but oh my goodness, the possibilities that are opening up! Bell tentSo, my head is filled with lightweight yet comfortable soft furnishings; fairy lights; bunting and lots of colourful accessories. But my wallet is empty - as ever! So yesterday I decided to trawl the numerous charity shops in our local town. Purchases so far: 2 cotton rugs (£2.50 and £3), plus 2 packs of tulip red dylon.

Purchase no 2: unused Ikea bedding set for £4 - opened and hemmed around the bottom opening to make a sleeping bag liner. OK, I know it won't be seen much, but I'm sure I will be able to feel all those hot colours!
Purchase no 3 was a lovely thick, wool, tartan blanket in reds and yellows for £2. Ideal for throwing over a chair, or over a bed. I also have fairy lights and scented candles planned.
So then I dug out some of my fabric and started the bunting. Husband took one look and asked "where are you planning on hanging those?" I replied "do you really want to know" he just rolled his eyes and walked away. Te he, he knows when he is on a loser. Not sure how it will all look, I can't wait to get the tent out again - half term, we will be going to Windsor so will get chance to try it all out then.
This was my final purchase. Totally not for the tent, but they were half price and are the perfect colour for the dining room - and chickens!!!!

Tuesday 04 May 2010

Thanks to our trial weekend camp last week, we were well prepared this weekend for the awful weather that we had! The tent was cosy and dry; we used an airbed on top of the foam mattresses so the beds were warm and cosy and the tent easily withstood the howling wind and rain that assailed us at night! But someone forgot the heater (doh) so we were more than a little cold at times! But there was plenty of sunshine and we had plenty of lovely long walks on some of the most beautiful beaches in Norfolk! First walk of the weekend was Saturday morning, we headed to the coast and stopped at the first beach sign we came to. It was Snettisham. A bit unprepossessing - narrow strip of shingle, but venture a bit further, and go off the beach and there is a beautiful nature reserve. Hundreds of little tracks through gorse and goose grass. The dogs and the children loved it, but I left my camera in the car.
Short break for some fairground rides and chips in Hunstanton, then we drove on round the coast. These were taken on Brancaster beach in the afternoon. Stunning! The sun shone, the sky was blue - we just lay back on the warm sand and watched the kites overhead. Candy tried joining in the game of football and burst the brand new ball - but then she carried it around for ages! The boys found some friends and played games up and down the sides of the dunes.
That blue sky makes such a perfect backdrop to colourful kites doesn't it?
The dogs were content to sit on the sand (or on Dad's knee) and observe all the beachy activity. I think they really wanted to go and join in but were very restrained!
We drove a bit further along - to Thornham, where we found a farm shop with a fish van. And a delightful little shop - Vintage Home and Garden where I treated myself! It's a fabulous little shop if you love that vintage, shabby chic, seasidey look (which I do!)
Back to the campsite for tea of barbequed tuna and trout for us with a lemon and thyme dressing, organic beef burgers for the boys, with some fresh salad and noodles. We stayed at the Sandringham campsite - expensive, but great facilities, dog walks from our doorstep into the forest and plenty of play equipment for the children.
Oh yes, and this is what I bought - a funky red enamel teapot for the tent, plus 2 blue enamel mugs. I just couldn't resist! I also bought a lovely woven, french market basket with leather straps - well it's just what I needed to take my clothes, towel and wash things to the shower block. And it looks very pretty hung on the back of a door. So I was told. But I daren't tell my husband that bit :0)
Sunday was sunny, but freezing. And the boys wanted to go on a train!! 2 hours sat in an open carriage - erm, no thanks. So I volunteered to walk the dogs while hubby took the boys on the Wells and Walsingham Light Railway. If you ever find yourself on the railway carpark, they also do Alpaca treks, and the sandwich van makes real, proper sandwiches! Anyway, just across the road from the railway carpark there is a path across the fields to the sea. So the girls and I went that way and got very windswept and very muddy. But it was a darn sight warmer than being on that train!!

After a delicious sandwich lunch, we set off again. This time to see Holkham beach. We managed to walk out to the main beach and back through the forest - it was very beautiful, but so cold by then that we just wanted to get back in the car and get warm. Sadly things didn't improve and the tent was so cold (I hadn't adjusted my storm flaps properly) that it was warmer to go to bed. At one point I was wearing a tee shirt, a sweatshirt, a micro fleece jumper, a fleece jacket, a kagoule, a woollen shawl and had a blanket across my knees!
Despite the cold, it was a lovely weekend, and we missed far more than we saw! I can't wait to go back again - but maybe when the weather is just a little warmer.

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