So after a hiatus of 2 weeks I return to this blog. Much family business has been swirling around and I’ve been involved with the Motorbike Womens’ rally coming up this weekend. Can I recapture those thoughts and feelings of 3 weeks ago?
First morning I wake and hear noises off. I gather myself and emerge from my tent. Some of the others have gravitated to a trailer tent and are imbibing tea and similar there. Suzy hasn’t surfaced so I wander over and am offered tea which is gratefully accepted. This is Su’s abode for the week and very cozy it is too with seating for 3 or 4 inside. Eventually, once everyone is up and about we gather in a circle around the fire to discuss activities and evening meals. The activities are written on a chalk board in a rough time order. Over the course of the few days this gets adjusted and amended and nicknames are added as people get dubbed as well as words of the day. Apparently I was responsible for b*ll**ks. The board takes on a life of it’s own…
At some point it is noticed that I’m wielding a camera and am asked if I wouldn’t mind recording the event. Would I mind? Is the thing a wotsit! Great. I have permission.
We do our own thing for breakfast and lunch but evening meal is a collaborative affair prepared by pairs of people to be shared by all. In the event, generally, more than 2 people were involved most evenings and often there were left overs which made fine lunches the following day. All was cooked mainly using the fire.
It were grand and all dishes were well received.
There was plenty of sharing of ingredients and improvisation. Suzy and I hadn’t lined up a dessert. I’d noticed an apple tree in the hedge row that had some fallen apples and suggested that we could use those. Shame I hadn’t brought any cinnamon but Lorna and Kimbo had. The night before Su was offering round blackberries and stewed apples from her garden. Not all went so it became part of our desert. I spent a large chunk of that afternoon peeling and chopping apples and getting very well acquainted with the local wasps. Suzy prepared a topping that involved her muesli and someone contributed ready made custard. A veritable feast was had.
And at some point Carol carved a spoon out of a carrot, used it and then ate it!
Still the learning of names daunted me even after a name learning game. There was only one thing for me to do. I asked where people had come from and located them on a map I drew somewhere but can’t find now. For some reason this helps me. I found that 8 of them were local and that the rest were from Oxfordshire or Essex. I learnt that the local people are involved in a choir. I’m fascinated by what brings people together. In the evenings there is singing and dancing and what with these singing people the singing is fine.
The first workshop is crotchet lead by Suzy. She finds herself grandly assisted by Kimbo. I opt to start carving a spoon. I wonder how I’d cope with wood carving. It was an enjoyable experience in the supportive environment provided by Jacki. I persevered and produced a passable spoon. How I’d cope on my own is another matter. Here are some of the others at their whittling.
That afternoon was rubber stamp making lead by Carol and, oh my word, she’s from Chipping Norton and is sometime known as Bunty. There yer go, me and names but I remember where they’re from! (Suzy got back to me later and told me that Bunty’s actual name is Ruth. Yay hey.) And the banter started. The impromptu, improv cysters were off and we’re into a world of spoof therapy and I’m practically rolling around in laughter. I realize that I don’t do this much and that I might need to do this more often. I just so appreciated their performances. Medics and health and safety officers turned up at their behest!
Meanwhile the workshops produced all sorts of delights and delight.
People wielded axes, saws, a beard, needles, a ukulele…
…and tried to cram as many of themselves into Suzy’s jumper.
Suzy painted some arms and a leg.
There were kettles and special fire gloves and swimming costumes forming themselves into momentary artworks
There was Suzy’s dragon and Sue going into a reverie of years past on my bike and sitting round in a circle like old folk in a care home. Yes, we did that one too.
Then it was time to pack up. We celebrated our achievements…
…and struck camp.
I asked Suzy what route she was taking home. Her Satnav suggested the A 303. We packed with me taking my camping kit this time and she took my art stuff and drums (Oh yes, they went down well, I accompanied somebody telling a story and others accompanied dancing and so forth along with Adrian on his guitar.) Suzy was ready a bit before me but, for some reason, I hadn’t managed to voice the suggestion of travelling with her. She’d said that she found the journey quite hard work going not being used to long distance driving. I’d thought it might be good to travel together. She pulled away but I wasn’t far behind and caught up with her after about 3 or 4 miles. She waved. I followed and we reached diversions around the Crewkerne area and she turned left instead of the expected right towards Crewkerne. I raced ahead, saw a pub with convenient parking and gestured for her to pull over. She’d wondered what her Satnav was up to as well. I took over the lead and got us onto the A303 and pulled into a lay-by after seeing a sign saying that Andover is 60 miles ahead. I suggested to Suzy that we stop at the garden center for some lunch and a crucial cuppa. She was in agreement and we set off with me leading often gesticulating about other road users for her entertainment and for me just to stretch.
We got to the garden center and sat down to the much needed cuppa and posh sarnies and after fueling up a bit further down the road drifted apart on the M3. She got stuck in a bit of traffic on the M25 but had appreciated my company for the stretch that we did travel together. My heart glowed with laughter and the companionship for a while after those few days in the wilds of Dorset.