Endings

The Elder Flower Orchard,

I’ve avoided writing this post, just as I avoided actually putting the Bongo up for sale.  It’s a bit of a wrench.  The end of something rather wonderful.

We bought the Bongo when my kids were 3 and 5.  They were so little when I look back.  The girls are now 9 and 11 and we’ve simply outgrown our lovely van.  We’ve had six wonderful summers of campervanning. I am so happy that it was a massive part of their early childhood.  When we bought the van we decided to use it as much as possible.  Pretty much any weekend from May to September where the weather forecast was ok and no other significant events were taking place we would pack up and go.  Sometimes just for a night, usually two.  We gained so much.

We explored hidden corners of the UK, some very close maybe only 30/45 mins drive away or sometimes a few hours drive.  We all learned an awareness and appreciation of the beauty of the land we live in.

Wookey Farm

My husband has a stressful job and it can be hard for him to switch off at weekends, being out camping forced him to slow down and nature worked its balm on him and all of us, each time.  Quality family time.

The best campsites are places you can walk from or around. When the girls were little our walks would be relatively short with a focus or game to keep things going.   Over the years our walking adventures have expanded.  Now we all walk up mountains and a 5 mile ramble is a no challenge at all.  It was camping that led us naturally into this activity.  Walking is just the best family activity but that’s another post!

Our enthusiasm for camping was infectious.  We often camped alone but we loved it when friends came too. Over the years we have cemented friendships over the campfire and created wonderful shared experiences.

The sea is quite far from where we live.  It is just possible to spend a day by the sea on a day trip but it’s a very long day.  The freedom of the campervan allowed us to enjoy sea views, sea air and beaches of every kind so much more often than we could have managed any other way.  Once we went to the beach early in the morning in our pyjamas!

Eweleaze Farm

Having a campervan at the beach is just brilliant.  Make a cup of tea, get changed without getting sand in every orifice, have a nap in the roof, a cold beer from the fridge, a place to shelter if the weather turns unexpectedly.  Just brilliant and one of the main things I will miss about owning a van.

There a few incredible things so easy to access and so often ignored as the night sky.  We’ve sat and watched the stars emerge, taught ourselves about the constellations, seen shooting stars, satellites and the ISS and simply been mesmerised by the beauty of the night sky.

We aren’t giving up camping, but I know, without the Bongo and with the children’s expanding social lives, we will be doing it a lot less.  We are all going to miss it.  Bye bye Bongo, its been totally amazing.

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Discovering the UK – Dartmoor

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The camper van is sitting at the end of the garden looking a little forlorn. It is still used over the winter but only as a second car. It is demoted. Just a vehicle. No longer a home, no longer an engine of escape.  I miss it during the winter months.  The escape, the exploring and the quiet times with the family.

But why let the end of the camping season stop us from exploring this beautiful country we live in? Continue reading

Adventures required.

Autumn sunlight Beech wood

Once again our camping season is over, we have done what is necessary to winter the Bongo and thoughts turn towards autumn walks, dark evenings and an excuse to buy a new walking jacket….However, whatever my intentions I always find that we spend a lot less time outdoors in the winter, less time getting away from the busyness of everyday life, less time just being a family. So this year I have a plan to increase the number of adventures in our lives even in winter!

I love to walk and now the girls are a bit older we have managed some good little adventures – last spring we walked up Snowdon. It was cloudy, wet and cold at the top but it felt like a real achievement and wet my appetite for more, more, more!

So now I am on the look out for family adventures, blogs like The Family Adventure Project and Alastair Humphrey‘s provide great inspiration.  I’m thinking small, big and medium sized adventures. Last night we walked home from school a very long way round just to get a little bit more time outdoors, looking at and appreciating nature. So a small adventure to start us off. But what will be next?

I am considering a guided canoe tour of Bristol Harbour, rock climbing, a night time walk….what else? Please share your family’s favourite adventures whatever size they are!

Top 7 campsites to visit this Summer

I don’t often accept guest posts as I like to make sure I bring you totally relevant material. However, when Trekwear approached me with this I was more than happy to accept it. These campsites look fabulous!

Not all these campsites allow campfires but are in such stunning locations I may have to bend my rules.

My favourite is number 5.  Very cool!

Continue reading

The untold wonders of waterproof trousers.

IMG_8266During the first week of the Easter holidays we visited the Lake District.  As we all know the UK has many areas of beautiful countryside but I must admit the Lake District is one of my favourites.  However, it is also the second wettest area of Britain.

‘Yes, it may well rain’ I explained to my children as I booked the holiday, secretly believing we would be lucky and enjoy a week of unusually warm, spring loveliness.  However, as the date approached for our departure it became evident that spring sunshine was highly unlikely. Continue reading

When you can’t camp…

Brean Down

Wow! It has been pretty glorious the last couple of weekends hasn’t it?  The camping itch has been getting hard to ignore. But lets face it is only March, and though we’ve had some warm days, nights are still pretty chilly. Although we love camping we aren’t all that hardcore.  The campervan does not have heating and even if it did, I don’t generally like sitting around in it in the evenings.  So whilst we have been very tempted we haven’t quite committed to the start of the camping season yet.  So, in order to calm the itch a little we have been taking the Bongo out on the weekend for one day adventures. Continue reading