The first part of my 15 night gallivanting around the country without my partner in crime was completed when I donned my backpack and waved a fond farewell to Jon and Maisie and headed in for East Grinstead station. My 30 minute mostly uphill trek in 34 degrees made me “glow” but a break in the weather by the afternoon was forecast.
Dodging a Landslip
Next stop was Maidstone to stay with our youngest son, Ryan, for the night. By fluke I managed to make a train that would get there half an hour earlier than planned. As the train pulled out of Victoria the skies were a gloomy shade of grey and it wasn’t long before the rain was lashing the windows. A nifty bit of stuffing exposed belongings in carrier bags, and whacking on the backpack cover I was ready (or so I thought).
Two stops from my destination there was the loudest single clap of thunder that I have ever heard. It shook the carriage and apart from a little blip in power the train powered on. At this point Ryan phoned me to say get in the front two carriages, the station platform was flooded and by being at the front I stood a better chance of avoiding the worst of it and being nearest to cover. Over exaggerating is not his thing but even I was sceptical until the doors opened.
I am sure someone chucked a bucket of water of me – not funny!! We sheltered for about 20-30 minutes in the station until the lightning, thunder and downpour passed over. It was during these minutes that we heard that there had been a landslip two stations back along the line. The train I should have been on had to be evacuated by the emergency services and no further trains would be able to get through for the rest of the day. Definitely dodged a bullet there.
Glamping or Damping
After a perfect evening with Ryan which included cooking a meal together, shaving his head (don’t ask) and just spending glorious time together, it was time to head off to the wilds of the Cambridgeshire/Hertfordshire border with three friends for a 5 night eco-glamp. Our nomadic lifestyle has meant that I haven’t made it every year but the rest of the gals are on year 9.
We see it as a peaceful, isolated, rustic retreat where we can just enjoy stepping away from normal life aided by copious amounts of wine, cider and lemoncello. A standing joke is that we always have rubbish weather and this year was no exception. Although it was the exception that we had what felt like a monsoon sweep through which managed to swipe everything not pinned down off of our large table. We all made a dash for the little Hobbit house pod bedroom where smug Deb had already ensconced herself until it passed over.
Thank you ladies for the bedding, good food, snacks (of course), games, hair cut and ceaseless good company and high spirits in adversity.
Roll on 2021….venue to be decided!
Only the main photo to share of wif waf (badminton to the uninitiated) ……..what happens glamping stays at glamping!!
My jaunt around the country lone house-sitting and glamping got extended for two more visits which I just couldn’t miss. The first of which was to be able to join the 18th birthday celebrations for my God-daughter, Abigail. She has always called her two Godmothers her Fairy Godmothers.
I am not very fairy-godmother-like after a week in a wet field but Lisa, the other Godmother more than makes up for my lack of fairy wings. Abigail’s Mum, Alison, and I met when we were 4 years old at primary school- so just a few years ago now. What I always think is a massive achievement is that we only went to the same primary and junior school, at 11 we went to totally different schools in different towns. Guides and a church youth club helped us for a few years and then it was down to us and thankfully through lives ups and downs and living at a distance we still catch up when we can.
Abigail wanted to buy a drink at lunchtime in the village pub for her Mum, Dad and friends at the local pub. Three trains from saying goodbye to my pink glamping ladies and I was there. Drinks at the pub were to be followed by a girls pampering session and then a socially distanced curry. It had been well thought through. Each family group had a table of their own at an extremely good local curry restaurant, although I had to gate crash on a table or be Jo-no-mates. Her cake was an amazing Grease inspired 3 tier monster and far too tasty. It seems unbelievable that she is 18 and without make up looks about 12. After a turbulent year and anxiety over A Level results , she is off to York University.
With Prosecco still running through my veins, I headed off the next day for 2 more trains to get me to see Shaun and Katie, our son and daughter-in-law, in Biggleswade. We have both missed them dreadfully since our last get-together which was Boxing Day. Social media isn’t quite the same as being with them, I only wish Jonno could have joined us because he too has struggled with the enforced lack of contact. We managed to fit in a lot in 24 hours. Three walks, a run, two board games, a crustless quiche and Gumbo.
Prior to my visit I had heard about the infamous Gumbo. It is at this point that I usually burst into the 1970s classic by The Carpenters:
Jambalaya and crawfish pie and filé gumbo
For tonight, I’ma gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou
After being told to shut up (in the nicest possible way). We cracked on chopping and preparing ingredients. Shaun and Katie’s recipe is more stew like than the original soup recipe. Despite enduring a certain amount of ridicule for the way I chopped peppers, it was such good fun in the kitchen. How lucky am I? The second time in a week that I had been preparing a meal with one of my sons. Being a ‘Gumbo virgin‘ I didn’t know what it expect but it was dddddelicious. I even managed to get a takeaway box to bring back to Jon.
What an eventful 15 days…….. I love that I could share so much time with friends and family but I would never do it without the support, patience and encouragement of my man, thank you Jon. Your turn in 2021?
13/08 – 21/08/2020