Only one week after starting our long house sit in Hove I am abandoning Jon to meet up with three friends for the long awaited Glamp of 2021.
An Alternative Glamp
With so many changes and adaptations to life as we know it, consistency is the way to go. So even though this year saw a big shake up to our annual journey to rural Hertfordshire it must still be called our “Glamp“. I must confess that I am the lightweight attendee. JWalking has meant that I have missed some of the decade of trips that have been racked up by Becca, Lydia and Deb. It is in their blood after so many years – a bit like the alcohol!!
The big shake up was to trade the much loved (but more recently much criticised) eco-glamping site for an apartment. So what you may say, but to trade the tranquillity and wood fired hot tub for a flushing toilet (in fact two), a shower and bath, fridge, cooker and even lights seemed like luxury. After comparing possibilities we booked up a three bed apartment right on the seafront in Margate.
The Pink Ladies, a term adopted years ago from our consumption of Rose wine, headed off for the coast at 11am. For us, the journey is all a part of the adventure so we met early and Lydia drove us expertly to the very cool and very tempting Macknade Food Hall in Faversham. What a find. It was established in 1847 and is a large food hall. So much local produce and lots of unusual products. Would definitely recommend a visit. A good mooch around followed by coffee and we were back on the road.
Within about an hour we played the “Who can see the sea first?” game and had arrived in sunny Margate. I had wondered if our arrival would all feel a bit strange because we are used to rocking up to a field and using a trusty wheelbarrow to transport our bags, wellies and other paraphernalia to our little Secret Garden area of the site but curiosity about what the new place would be like and just being pleased to be together overrode any such thoughts.
Our apartment was over a restaurant called Roost so it was the perfect place to eat before our check in time. A really informal, comfortable, award-winning restaurant which served superb crab sandwiches and the hot dog covered in pulled pork and cheese was the size of something that you would normally see on a sharing menu. Tempted though we were we held back on ordering one of the mouth-watering cocktails that were being served up.
With key code access, unpacking and stowing away our shopping delivery done it was time to open some prosecco and sit on our terrace. It was a great choice of location and holiday accommodation with only a few minor criticisms which basically boiled down to that old adage that the owners should stay in the property for a night or two to see what else would be useful and just how the accommodation “works” for guests.
The sea view out of the window gave us a bird’s eye view of the sea over the, now abandoned Lido. The Lido signage still remains in good shape but the pool area is quite an eyesore. Choices have to be made I suppose as to what can be maintained or regenerated.
We had planned a few outings. Because most attractions nowadays need a timed arrival slot, Lydia booked up the Turner Contemporary Gallery and the Shell Grotto. The Turner exhibits were interesting but, for me, the highlight was the original Turner pictures on display. Although not contemporary, they captivated me and I never knew that the gallery is actually built on the site of the boarding house that he regularly stayed in when visiting Margate.
The Shell Grotto was somewhere that I had wanted to visit for many a year. It is amongst some residential properties and the access is via a newly built shop which leads to the stairs leading down to the underground grotto. It was discovered in 1835 but when it was built and why is not known although there are lot of theories. The shells cover the walls in a mosaic style and it is estimated that there are over 4.5 million shells.
It doesn’t take long to walk through the passageways and small room but I found it very impressive. Well worth a visit if you are near enough to go.
Dinner, Games, Walks and Food
Early morning walks along the front before having to share it with other holidaymakers was a daily outing. The weather was a little mixed but it never stopped us doing what we wanted to. Would have loved to swim in the sea pool but we never quite timed it right with tides and weather.
When together, we love a game or two so spend many an hour after our outings playing cards, board games and even tried our hand at napkin folding from an instruction book. Some were more successful than others and I am not quite sure that my Lotus flower did actually look like a lotus flower!!
To help with concentration, we obviously need to lubricate our brain cells. Courtesy of our shopping delivery that Becca had organised, we had an endless supply which was topped up with a brief trip to Lidl to get some award winning gin.
We always eat well but this year we had more that the usual one gas ring so there was no stopping us. A yummy Sunday Roast, Pizza making, Tacos and Three Bean Brunch amongst them. We obviously left space for the obligatory seaside fish n chips, taking care to hide them from the crafty seagulls and can recommend Pete’s Fish Factory.
Before we knew it, the time arrived for us to pack up and head home. We decided an early start was in order and stop in Ramsgate for coffee and another little mooch in a couple of places. The Royal Victoria Pavilion has a terrace looking right over the sea so was the perfect place to have coffee followed by time in the fabulous Haberdashery Shop. Have you ever seen so many buttons?
There seemed to be a lot of investment in Ramsgate and the feel is noticeably different to Margate. We finished our trip there with a visit to the vintage market called Petticoat Lane Emporium. Lots of stalls of vintage clothes, furniture, crockery and ornaments. We could have spent a couple of days in there and still not have seen it all.
Despite all our extra little outings, we had to face up to the fact that our week together was drawing to a close. Mark, Dan, Nigel and Jonno had held the fort back at our respective houses. I was looking forward to seeing Jon and checking he hadn’t turned into some sort of wild cat man. Some of the selfies he sent me were a little disturbing to be honest.
I always find it hard to say my farewells to friends because I never quite know when I will be within reach again to meet up for a coffee or glass of wine and a natter. Did we prefer the apartment to glamping? The bottom line for me is that the essence of Glamping lives on, no matter what. Whether we are in a field, an apartment, VW camper or a yurt we just enjoy the time together and the memories it creates.
24/07 – 31/07/2021