Sunday, 25 September 2011

Road Trip Part Two: Wet welly

One of my earliest memories is of staying in a hired caravan on a farm in Scotland with my parents (prior to my mother disappearing off with the village petrol station attendant on his Goldwing) and my elder brother. I remember it being very cold, very wet and very grey. I also remember waking up early one morning and being desperate for the toilet. The caravan did not have a latrine so we were invited to use the bathroom in the nearby farmhouse. Being a small and somewhat lazy child there was no way I was going to get dressed, trudge all the way to the farmhouse though the field in the freezing cold drizzle, so instead I improvised with what I could find inside the caravan. On the floor by the door was the perfect receptacle for a 5 year old's early morning number 1. So I dropped my jersey pyjama bottoms, squatted over one of my fathers Wellington boots, then swiftly went back to bed. It was a short while later that I awoke to the sound of my father shrieking at the discovery of my morning gift to him. In retrospect I really should have done it in my mothers wellington but hind sight is a wonderful thing. The only good thing to come out of our Scottish Caravan holiday was that we never stayed in  a caravan again. The following year Dad took us to Florida. What a relief.

So to say I had not had a very good experience with staying in a field would be an understatement, however I was willing to have another go, hence the decision to book 2 nights in an Airstream. Needless to say as soon as we arrived at the site, the old memory of being freezing and not being able to go to the toilet properly flooded back.

The thing about Happy Days is that I have taken quite a flattering picture of our accommodation. There were 2 other Airstream's directly next to us and apparently throughout the summer the field we were in had been apparently been full of mobile caravans. Shudder. It was fairly cosy inside but quite dated, very cold at night and full of daddy Long Legs. Another child hood nemesis. You were also not advised to use the toilet at the back as Big Kev was not keen on emptying it, you had to make sure you turned the gas canisters off that fueled the oven in case they exploded (crumbs) and you had to make the bed up at night which was like sleeping on a kitchen table. Sorry, it WAS sleeping on a kitchen table. A very ingenious use of space I'm sure, but not really my idea of a holiday. A night in an Airstream will set you back £80 per night plus £10 for the use of a mobile fire pit which wont produce any heat but makes a great smoke screen if you don't want to see the neighbours.

After a fairly bad night sleep and prison like shower the next day in the communal shower, we jumped in the car and headed off to Corfe Castle, home not only to a massive juicy caterpillar but also to some rather remarkable sights.

Corfe Castle is another place which doesn't look like a real village. The main focal point is some rather impressive ruins on top of a hill, over 1000 years old,  which are surrounded by some very quaint houses and shops. Its quite touristy but well worth a visit particularly if you are a National Trust member as its free to go to the castle. Sweet.

After a quick Ploughmans and Ginger Beer, we then jumped onto the steam train at Corfe and went out to Swanage. 

The station and trains that run along this line are all restored by train enthusiasts that volunteer their time and expertise for free. Its like being in a giant train set. The journey to Swanage took about 15 minutes through some really lovely countryside and when you get to Swanage, you can see the sea!

After a cream tea and the short ride back to Corfe to collect the car we then popped our noses into Studland Bay, one of the UK's most beautiful beaches. I had been here before a few years ago but it was even more amazing than I had remembered. You just have to watch out for the nudists.

By the time we got back to 'Dee Dee' we were pretty worn out but still found time to start work on the Airfix kits we had bought at Beaulieu and have a swifty by the fire pit under the full moon. Maybe this camping lark isn't so bad after all. Or maybe it is.

To be continued . . .

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