What’s the difference between 2 and 6? If you ask Husband he’ll tell you it’s an hour, as that’s the amount of extra time it took us to get to our destination when I put the postcode into the sat nav.
I’d like to say at this point that my map-reading skills are exceptional – and Husband will back this up. I’d far prefer to navigate by map than by sat nav and have been known to successfully take us on diversions just on the white roads (smaller than the yellow B roads I’ll have you know), but had gone for the lazy option this time to take us what should have been the final hour from the M5 to our destination.
Luckily I rarely rely entirely on the sat nav, so when I picked up the map to figure out where we were and noticed we were headed to Abergaveny, I knew something wasn’t right. It might have been me who programmed the technology with the wrong information, but it was also me who stopped us from heading south into another country instead of simply west into another county. It didn’t stop Husband quietly fuming as we headed back northwards the way we’d just come. Still, the joys of portable DVD players meant that, thankfully, the cries of “are we nearly there yet?” had been silenced hours ago.
Anyway, enough of the trials and tribulations of getting there. Our first camping trip this year – and most successful to date – was in early August to beautiful Herefordshire to visit my brother T, his wife J and our niece and nephew.
I booked Home Farm caravan and campsite (they also have three apartments) and got a lovely feeling about the place when speaking to the owner. The first thing in her favour was that she actually called me back – something which doesn’t happen often in my experience of leaving messages for campsites – and I couldn’t help but warm to her lovely manner and supreme helpfulness. And at £17 a night for an 8-man tent with two adults and two Tinies, it looked like being great value.
The site itself is just outside of Leominster on what should have been a quiet B road. Unfortunately a nearby industrial estate means that wagons use the road to head down to the nearest A road. This noise – which in our experience goes on pretty much all day and night – is almost the only drawback to the campsite.
We relaxed instantly on arrival, being greeted by four beautifully-kept fields with large pitches. “Pitch anywhere you like between 1 and 36,” had been the instructions, so we chose a sheltered spot in the second field with sweeping views of the distant valley and a huge oak tree in the middle.
Tent up, kit organised and with the Tinies occupied with Buddy’s stomp rocket, we sat down with a pre-dinner beer. This pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip. There were a couple of showers that first evening – so we have still yet to have a completely rain-free camping trip – and we dodged them by playing junior Pictionary. We got a little off-script with the words – can you tell what Husband was trying to spell out?
The other campers were a mixture of tents and long-term caravans which the owner towed out of storage in the field behind and put in the chosen pitches the day before the owners arrived. The relatively new toilet block was one of the cleanest and most thought-through that I’d seen – with a notable exception (just give me a second and I’ll explain). I say they were well-thought through as there were two (count them) full length mirrors in the ladies, enough hooks and seats in the showers, and a selection of miniature shower gels in case you’d forgotten yours.
The drawback, however, is a bit of an oversight. There was no hairdryer, nor any plug socket in which to put your own. “But it’s camping!” I hear you say. “Who needs to dry their hair when they’re camping?” Well, let me remind you of what my hair looks like most mornings.
A shower is really the only way to tame it, and after that, it needs drying or starts to take on a similar look. I did manage to get my hair dry, but I’m not sure crouching down under the wall-mounted hand-dryer was really what the owner intended for it.
The shower block is complemented by a washing up room which also contains a large fridge freezer, washing machine, kettle with complimentary tea and coffee and a selection of recent magazines. Then there’s the usual local information but also an iron and ironing board, plus a book swap and selection of jigsaws. See what I mean? Thoughtful.
We seemed to make better progress on sleeping while away this time, having decided to forgo our double sleeping bag and turn it into two singles. Well, I say we, actually Husband claims that he didn’t sleep so well, but is starting to blame his age and suggest he’s too old for camping. (Don’t worry, he may be a little past his prime when you look at the numbers on paper, but I’m not having that as an excuse!)
Our break included a trip to the beautiful Queenswood Park on the outskirts of Leominster, a mooch around Ludlow – a place Husband and I once spent a mad weekend with my brother and his wife pre-children – and one of the most memorable sunsets I’ve seen in a while. I’ll write about our day trips in other blogs, but will leave you with that sunset. Special, isn’t it?