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Sunday, 12 February 2012

Yay! Camping in the snow - mission accomplished!

Got back this afternoon after my tropical camp

Set off Thursday to Anita's Campsite at Banbury. Was a bit worried how busy it would be as other people had attempted to book for this weekend and had been told the site was full

A few pods

Full everywhere (?!)

There was no one there when I arrived so I found a pitch and started getting the tent up before the imminent snow that was forecast. There appeared to be 4 other caravans on the whole of the campsite and no vehicles or humans. Either I had entered the chain saw massacre, or there was no one stupid enough to want to camp on a Feb weekend where the forecast was 'severe weather warnings'

I cleverly pitched near the tap and in the empty top field so I had everything I needed around me (including dog run for them to poop to their hearts content in)

Struggled to find an empty pitch

The tent wasn't looking too inviting when i first pitched it - I did try and scrape up the remaining snow off the floor with a plastic step but it was futile so I gave up

Finally got everything pitched and went off to buy enough provisions to feed a small army in case I was stranded. First off I decided to fill the water bottles. Tried the tap next to me...frozen. And the next tap....frozen....and the next (guess?!) So the only one any good was in the main entrance to the site

Snuggled down and the snow started at 6pm. Went outside about 9pm to take a few pics of the lovely stuff

and was glad I did really. As after I took the shopping out of the car my dementia had kicked in and I had left the back door open when i took the shopping out

Back into my nice cosy tent (the Cabanon Latitude), fan heaters on full blast, dvd loaded, a few beers and settled for the night

Had to make a slight mod to the summer air vent. Somehow I figured it wasn't going to be that stifling hot that I would need a mesh outlet. So I stuffed my towel up there (and it stayed there for 3 days). Washing is highly overrated anyway

Up bright and early the next morning (about 10am), checked outside to see if tents were all ok

Bit saggy in places but pretty good

So undid the zip on the tent and let the kids out....

They were obviously very stressed, and concerned for my well being in these blizzard conditions...

Bundled them in the car and had a drive through Banbury. Obviously had to take a picture of Banbury Cross

The history of it is:-

The Banbury Cross, which is located on a roundabout in the middle of the town, was erected in 1859 to celebrate the wedding of Prince Frederick of Prussia to his bride, the original cross having been pulled down some 250 years earlier.

Pretty crap pressie really as it's just stuck in the middle of the road. Perhaps the original was more impressive. But if anyone does attempt to 'ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross' the traffic

However, I was impressed by the local takeaway (so much so I stopped on double yellow lines to take the picture)

Asked Homer what he fancied doing next?

Nooo! we have just been!

Moving on I decided I would go nosy at Broughton Castle. I had done my homework on this and although it was closed, thought it would be worth a visit. Background on it is that is owned by the 'Fiennes' family, distantly related to Ralph & Joesph Fiennes. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth I decided to pursue Ralph Fiennes as he is a bit of alright - I think it's the character traits he has that I tend to like in men. They reflect in his acting parts, which include..

(ok not the most flattering...)

(yes yes a mass murderer but look at the body...)

err ok then, he was in the Duchess! (no no he wasn't the nicest in that, I'm sure he was sleeping with someone else in that...)

OK, he might not play the nicest of blokes but his brother was pretty yum in Shakespeare in Love...

So off to Broughton Castle I go, to see if I can bag a Fiennes...

I had to drive down a small snow covered lane to get to the castle (another idiotic idea), I found clunking the brakes and driving diagonally (not by choice) and missing the junction by an inch was pretty hair raising, but a nice test of snow driving

Now this would be a lovely picture of the castle with the surrounding moat and water. Which unfortunately due to me visiting in February, is a picture of a snowy castle with a snow field and a snowy moat

Waiting at a decent distance with binoculars for Ralph to arrive

And the dogs tear arsing round the grounds as usual

Surveying the road back from the castle for my second performance of 'Dancing on Ice inside a Berlingo'

So I took a casual slide back to the campsite

Much the same as last night, beers, a film, large amounts of food and chocolate

Next day I decided I wasn't doing much and asked Homer what he fancied doing...

He's not the most imaginative

But I had been told there was a local walkway running alongside the campsite

Onto the internet to check it out (very good reception surprisingly at the campsite) and found it was the famous 'D'Arcy Dalton Way' (no I have never heard of it either).
It sounded quite romantic, visions of some great Bronte novel had obviously contributed to the name, and it had connotations of unrelinquished love and ghosts rambling over the fields.
Reality was it was named after some old fart in the rambling assocation

First we had to pass the field with horses in, curious little creatures! Homer detested them, but strangely they seemed quite taken with him (probably thought it was some rare vietnamese pot bellied labrador)

My vile dog trying to scare the horses and failing

(The pods in the background are on the campsite)

Was a lovely day for scrunching along

Back to the tent and a well deserved siesta. Much the same as the previous nights, beer, dvd, finish my book on the kindle (enjoyed it 'Dead Simple'. A man is buried in a coffin as a stag night joke, the rest of the stags get killed in a car crash and he is left in the coffin. I like a bit of light reading)
Temperatures dropped a lot tonight, resulting in both my water bottles freezing. This meant a trek to the main loos to try and fill them again. However the tap here was also locked solid. After 10 minutes of trying to catch hot water coming out of the shower head (blummin soaked my coat) I found a washing up facility (bit late but I know its there now)

Went back and second task was to try and get the frozen olive oil out of the bottle. I managed to scrape enough out with a skewer to cook the sausages.

Decided to leave the frozen dishcloth and towel on the table, they had gone rock solid and were like little clingons

Anything else I was trying not to freeze I put in the iceytek (reverse logic from any other time of year)

Next morning was packing up day. Had a visit from some of my camping buddies. Tea and cake and the latest gossip then they were off rambling up some mountain

Packed up within 10 mins of heavens opening and rain coming down

Now stuck in house until March...although I could ask Homer what he fancies doing.....

Sorry mate, not tonight..


  1. Very entertaining post as always Val, and lovely pics - glad you enjoyed your weekend. I love Homer's great imagination! lol

  2. Who's the most imaginative - you or Homer? Great pics & vid, looked beautiful. Anyroad lass, how the kitchen coming along? Sorry for using such profanities but need to keep you focussed on the job in hand. On the other hand, p'raps Mr M tent is taking centre stage just now????????????

    In the same position as you last week, do I clean windows, get the vac out or have a teeny trip away? No prizes for correct answer. AA xx

  3. Mr Men tent and kitchen sadly no progress...:(

  4. ffs V, get yer arse into gear else it'll be 2013 by the time we get to see Mr Men in all his glory. Good excuse to put the kitchen on the back burner a bit longer. It'll still be there for you when your car's in dock and your grounded!! AA xx

  5. I love your reports.......they've put a big grin on my face again!!!!
    PS. I'm watching your 3m bell, just deciding if it's big enough......

  6. Hi! love your blog! I have just bought my first bell tent (after 6 months of saving!). I chose a 5 m zig from soulpad plus half inner tent. Can I be cheeky and nab your inner tent dye idea?! Looks so lovely on your photo's and I've just bought 2 red lanterns to adorn my beloved bell. How many dye's did it take you and which red did you use please? I really want a strong red like you achieved but dylon tulip red looks a bit pinky and burlesque red seems more like a purple colour? Also, thank you so much for your crafty inspiration.... I'm buying a second hand sewing machine and attempting a windbreak and bunting! Any tips greatly appreciated! Your painted bells look amazing but I'm a bit scared to have a bash at that yet... just in case I ruin my lovely new tent...decided on a theme if I ever become brave enough to try, going for The Muppets, think they sum up me and my 3 kids quite well! lol Thanks again, keep up the good work. Lydia :-)

  7. It was the dylon Tulip red I used - I had 2 packs, but I think 3 would probably have been better. It is quite pinky looking when you first do it, but in the tent it was fine as it is a bit darker inside. The burlesque is more of a maroon which i didn't want. Can't wait to see Fozzie Bear on a campsite in the future!
    Glad you enjoyed the blog and if you get stuck with anything email me on :


CRAFTY POST - My revolting conservatory-camping-store-room, really needed a makeover....

Finished!  So I get asked, where do I store all my camping kit? The answer is