Camping: Mini Retreat

In late May 2011 Nev flew to the States with work for a week and I spent two nights at Hollands Wood campsite in the New Forest with our two dogs. I booked this short break to keep me occupied while Nev was away and to get some peace and fresh air after a hectic month of puppy wrangling and a particularly nasty cold. It was the first time I’d been camping on my own. While I was away I recorded my adventure using the Momento app on my iPhone. These are my posts from the app along with some photos.

Mon 23rd May 11:17: Winds gusting up to 37mph in the South and Icelandic volcanic ash heading our way. Must be day 1 of my holiday.

Mon 23rd May 15:09: Severe case of ‘get-there-itus’ meant I put up both tents & unpacked without a rest. Regretting! Though cup of tea and ponies in view to make up for it.

Mon 23rd May 15:43: All unpacked and pitched. Pip’s fast asleep in his crate and Shaun relaxing in his bed. Time for some lunch as it’s nearly 4pm, with the last of my flask of tea I made this morning. Gusts of wind half collapsing the tent but ALL the guy ropes are on and breaks in the clouds letting sunshine through. Nice and warm too. Bit like sailing I imagine.

Mon 23rd May 16:29: Now if I can just keep Pippin quiet for a moment I can read some of this before 2nd walkies…

Mon 23rd May 17:50: Tired now. Have walked dogs up and down campsite and fed them. Pip’s in his jumper burrowed into his crate. I’m on the vino and attempting to cook. It’s nice and relaxing but at the same time I’m quite serious and focussed on doing one thing after another. Now is time for proper food for me.

Mon 23rd May 18:43: Had dinner of plain pasta, a boiled egg, an apple, and some chedder. With a glass or two of Fish Hoek. Never has a dinner tasted so fine. Cooked in the shelter of the Quechua Base Seconds doorway whilst it drizzled outside. Now for a hot cup of Yorkshire Gold with a big spoonful of sugar and milk and some chocolate eclairs. And a little more ‘Waterlog’, now puppy chewed and rain damp.

Mon 23rd May 18:46: I ❤ my plastic spork.

Mon 23rd May 19:24: Put the fleece cushion from Pip’s bed in his travel crate. Just put my hand in there, with him all sleepy and wearing the jumper I knitted and he’s uber warm. Best handwarmer ever. Shaun’s in his black jumper in his bed after helping me empty the bucket and get water. It sounds like it’s raining when inside the tent but barely noticable outside.

Mon 23rd May 20:19: Beautiful evening with patches of blue sky. Took the dogs for a short walk. We’re right at the top end of the site. Not the last tent before the woods but close. Back now and both dogs have taken themselves to bed. Not cold but cool enough for us all to have jumpers on. Brewing another cuppa.

Mon 23rd May 21:40: Sun’s set and we’re all in bed. Shaun’s snuggled under tech blanket. I’m in my sleeping bag. And Pip’s burrowed so well into his crate he’s disappeared. Nice bedtime Whatsapp message from Nev. Too tired for book or knitting. Gnight world.

Tues 24th May 08:12: Thoughts from last night. Why didn’t I bring my pillow?! Was worried about the cold. Ground very cold. But dogs seem okay. Again ended up with my lower 2/3rds in sleeping bag and top in a down jacket. Seems to work really well having the overlap between the two around my middle.

Tues 24th May 12:20: Managed to get everyone up without too much trouble. Still quite chilly. Had porridge for breakfast and fed the dogs. Pip wouldn’t settle and I realised it was 10 o’clock so skipped washing up and took them for a walk around the cycle path around the plain. Managing two dogs on extenda leads through a field of horse poo is an experience. Nice walk though. Over an hour and Pip didn’t get tired at all. Had a quick Whatsapp with Nev just before getting back to the tent as he was just waking up in Washington (there’s a name for a Buddhist book!). Now washing up and thinking about lunch.

Tues 24th May 14:50: Nice lazy hour. Warm sunshine intermittent with cloudy cold moments. Reading Waterlog and doing a bit of knitting.

Tues 24th May 18:22: Walked down to Balmerlawn before tea to the river. Found lots of couples making out. Thought Pip might like to paddle but he wasn’t impressed. Shaun had a little paddle though. Hot back at the tent. Clouds gone and hot sun til sundown. Luckily Base Seconds has good ventilation. Dinner of cold stuff, not massively hungry and can’t be bothered to wash up. Celery, chedder, tomatoes, a boiled egg, and some crisps. Washed down with Fish Hoek and a cuppa tea. Pip sunbathing and sleeping. Would bring him into the shade but I think he likes the heat. Me and Shaun sheltering in the tent. Reading more Waterlog to cool down mentally at least.

Tues 24th May 18:36: Well that was exciting. Spotted a tick on Pip and by the time I’d found the tick tweezers buried in the bottom of the backpack it had detached and was walking across his back. After a bit of flustered dabbing and picking it ended up in a used face wipe and in the bin. Score 1 me, tick nil point.

Tues 24th May 18:40: Have discovered that when I’m on my own I’m untidy, slovenly, and skanky. So my ‘normal’ self is obviously just put on for other people’s benefit!

Tues 24th May 20:04: Could be the middle of nowhere, til the motorbikes race from Lyndhurst to Brockenhurst like wasps escaping hell. No other tents around. Barely seen anyone pass by, on foot or by car. One lone cyclist to say these toilets in the upper reaches would be closed from midday today. One lone camper who was gone by midday.

Tues 24th May 21:32: Came out of the tent at twilight for dog’s last wee before bed and met a small herd of 15 deer passing one by one by the tent. Pip grumbled at them. Me & Shaun just watched.

Tues 24th May 21:52: It’s so nice to have clear ears, nose, and not be coughing. Colds really make you appreciate NOT having a cold.

Tues 24th May 21:53: Ten to ten and we’re all in bed. Perchance to get a sound night’s sleep? Have considered staying another day. What is there to rush back to but chores that will still be there next week? But a warm shower, a fridge, a soft bed. A garden where the dogs can rough and tumble off the lead. These things are calling me home. Besides I can wash my bike, knit, read Waterlog, and go for a pub lunch up at The Bell!

Wed 25th May 08:41: A herd of something came stomping round the tent after lights out. Shaun rumbled and we listened til they went away. Up at 3am to let Pip out for a wee. Shaun then rumbled at Pip so that was fun. Managed to get back to sleep until 8am but my neck & shoulders ache. Nice warm morning though. Dogs happy to be outside. Had a cuppa. Amazingly the milk’s still good. Time to put away the chicken tent.

Wed 25th May 11:08: All packed up. Nice chat with camper walking her dog past. Perfect weather as sunny and cool intermittently. Peaceful. Sorry to leave.

Wed 25th May 12:40: Home in 1hr 15mins. Light traffic, bright sun.

More photos can be found here.

Previous posts about the Hollands Wood campsite can be found here and here.

Review of Quechua 2 Seconds iii (green tent) can be found here

Review of Quechua Base Seconds Full (beige tent) including video here.


One thought on “Camping: Mini Retreat

  1. Pingback: Camping: Tent Review: Vango versus Quechua… Fight! « When Twitter Isn't Enough

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