After an absence of three years from the annual Pink Ladies Glamping Extravaganza, I was pleased and excited to be able to join this year’s pilgrimage. I cannot divulge to you the exact location because what happens in the Secret Garden stays in the Secret Garden. The first visit was in 2012 by Becca. Since then attendees have come and gone but the mainstay are Becca, Lydia and Debbie with me being delighted to make a guest appearance when within reach.
Sweating in the Stone
It was not just returning south from Scotland that made the temperature hit us, it was the sweat box Travelodge we were staying in for a couple of nights. To be fair they were doing they best they could. Iced water available 24 hours, fans in every room but with windows that for safety only opened a couple of inches and temperatures of 32 degrees it just wasn’t ever going to do combat the heat.
Lacking in sleep but rather being out than in, I walked into Maidstone to get those essential glamping supplies (more on that later).
Lunch was with my friend Wendy to hear all about her daughter, Holly’s, wedding and catch up on how the Fat Cat Patisserie production is faring in this heat. We met at the Finch House Cafe and Bakery. The coffee was good and so was the lunch. Lots of unusual salads and some very tempting cakes. Suitably refreshed it was time to say goodbye and head off to get the glamping essentials. Baby wipes are top of the list. These cover a multitude of cleaning, mopping and freshening requirements. The rest of the list is made up of 5 x £1 crap presents for the roller coaster of emotion that is Crap Presents 2018 and a variety of items for activities. We each take a few activity ideas for those quieter moments which never end up very quiet due to the amount of cider and wine that is consumed to try and improve our dexterity.
Room for a Small One?
One more sleepless sweaty night before the, hopefully, fresh air of our Secret Garden. I should explain at this point that the Secret Garden is an eco-glamp. That means that there are compost toilets, a solar powered shower and firewood heated hot tub. The only concession to modern paraphernalia is a gas ring, a fresh water tap and a fridge across the field in a potting shed. It’s all you need!
The car arrived before seven. Lydia had volunteered as driver and pulled up in her two door convertible. Debbie was navigating from the passenger seat and somewhere under a pile of duvets was a little face, Becca. I reversed into my seat and loaded my bags on top and off we went. We had arranged a Tesco delivery so the theory was that as we were not taking food there would be bags of space. It was cosy but air conditioning saved the day and it was a lot more fun travelling together.
A stop for coffee and a lap around the largest garden centre in Christendom, was followed by abandoning the car at the site and walking to the local pub for lunch. All this has been fine tuned over the years by my fellow glampers. The entrance to our glamping area actually has a door (even though you can walk through the next tree to enter). How posh are we?
Our little area is very secluded. There is the little house with a grass roof used for sleeping, the covered kitchen and dining area, a covered swing seat, an open air hammock and open fire area. Through the trees in another secluded private area is the hot tub and little house that is the compost toilet.
It was a perfect evening. Nothing to do you may think but Tesco’s had managed to find us with the delivery so there was shopping to unpack, the hot tub needed firing up, bunting to hang, the unicorn drinks holders needed inflating, the plastic wine glasses had to be decorated, endless!!
Who would believe that after months and months of dry weather that we would wake up to rain? Lydia had been given a day pass to make a flying visit to York for her son’s graduation with strict instructions to be back in time for the evening hot tub session. After using the potting shed for make up and to blow dry her hair (a first in 6 years of glamping) and donning a posh dress, she looked fab and had a great day. She returned all glassy eyed with pride or maybe it was fatigue!
After food, hot tub and a few celebratory drinks it was a game of cards and off to Bedfordshire for all of us.
I hesitate to put this in print but it has rained at some stage on each of the 7 trips. This time it was only for part of one day but it was somewhat windy and overcast for a few of the days, yet as soon as we left it was scorching again.
Whilst lounging around we saw the fattest caterpillar in the world. We discovered it was the caterpillar of the Lime Hawk-Moth. It looked fit to burst.
There are too many activities to go through and, as I said before what happens in the Secret Garden stays in the Secret Garden. So I will spare you the rain dance and wellibobs fashion show but here are just a couple of the more civilised ones so you get an idea.
Refreshment of the Liquid Variety
No space in the car to take back anything left over so extreme measures were required. Funny how I was the only one caught on camera.
So to my lovely glamping friends thank you for the food orders, the air bed, sleeping bag and pillow, chair, utensils, torches, bunting, totally uncrap phone case, two pences and everything else I have forgotten. Most of all though it is the fun, laughter and time we have together that is most precious. Here’s to the Pink Ladies Glamping Extravaganza 2019, blue skies and a donkey!
27/07 – 02/08/2018