You may remember me chatting about Connievan at the beginning of June, telling you about how we moved her to a new home in the country? I've not written much about it since then, but in the six weeks that she has been there, we have managed to visit almost every week, sometimes twice a week. I don't always take photographs there to be honest. Something about being with Connievan makes me want to forget about technology and immerse myself completely in the simplicity of camping life. Weirdly I don't even seem to be able to crochet or read there either. I always take a project and a magazine with me but it rarely gets a look in. We tend to hang out as a family there, and the time passes easily without the need to look for diversions.
Here in North Yorkshire, like much of the UK, we are experiencing a really spectacular start to our Summer. We have had day after day of seasonal weather perfection, with blue skies and hot sunshine lasting well into the evening time. It has honestly been glorious, and life at the campsite in this weather is completely wonderful. There are many families at the campsite, and a really lovely gang of camping children for my brood to hang out with. It is sooooo wonderful to watch them at play, to watch the simple games they come up with, their joy in running, jumping, hiding, and (recently for the girls) learning to do cartwheels.
There is a sweet little play area at the campsite which Little B is very fond of, and often in the evenings after we have finished eating, J and I will bring a mug of tea each down here to sit on that bench and watch our littlest do his thing. He is happiest with an audience, that's for sure.
Our usual routine is to head to Connievan on a Friday evening, arriving around 6pm for a lateish dinner. I have found it best to keep the food very simple, and quick. Yeah, it has to be produced prettily speedily when we get there or else a small riot breaks out. Sometimes we have a cold spread of meats, salad, dips and crusty bread, and sometimes we have hotdogs in white bread rolls with lots of fried onions, ketchup and mustard. And there is always fruit. We eat a lot of fruit each week between the five of us, and it's especially good in the summer time. On a Friday I visit the market and come home laden with summer fruits :: bags of sweet cherries, plums and nectarines, punnets of strawberries and raspberries, and various varieties of melon. Ice cold wedges of watermelon are hard to beat on a hot summers day.
We have eased into the routine of sleeping in Connievan very well now, particularly Little B. Some of his initial sleeping-bag-induced over excitement has worn off and his caravan bed is now familiar to him and very cosy. Providing we all go to bed and have lights out at the same time (usually just after 10pm) then he happily climbs into his little nest and falls asleep within minutes.
I continue to love love love the early morning times best of all, oh I do LoVE it!!! I make myself a steaming hot tin mug of tea and take myself outside in my pyjamas with a camping blanket wrapped round my shoulders and sit. It is so peaceful, so tranquil and green and fresh and so completely different to being at home.
We have found that trying to sleep for two nights at the 'van simply does not work. It's just that weeny bit too long, especially for Little Man who misses his mates and his own space and is at an age (almost 11) where prolonged family time is sometimes a bit of a challenge. So we've come up with a compromise which seems to suit everyone. We arrive Friday evening, stay the night, then spend the whole of Saturday (including the evening meal) before closing up camp and heading back into town around 8pm. Saturdays are usually spent in a very lazy fashion, lots of lounging, eating and drinking. Lengthy picnic lunches which sprawl into the late afternoon, hours of happy idleness.
I sometimes have little in-my-head fantasies about living out here. It is only half an hour drive from the Attic, but it is very rural and quite isolated out here. It sometimes surprises me when I realise I have really become a Townie! I always felt so sure I should be a country girl.
Life in Connievan continues to be sweet. I just love the simplicity of caravan life so much. I love the little routines that form around mealtimes and bedtimes. I love the gentle domesticity that feels like such a pleasure.
On a few occasions, we have found ourselves still longing for Connievan when the weekend is over, and have come up to see her for a few hours on a Monday night. It feels very special when we do this, as if we are somehow sneaking in extra time that isn't really allowed! But it feels wonderful to be making the very most of our summer months, of the long hours of daylight at this time of year, and the welcome time that we can spend outdoors surrounded by greenery.
As you can see, the campsite is very well kept. Only a small part of it is used for touring caravans like ours, and for tents. The rest of it is taken up with these pale green static caravans which are used rather like holiday homes.
On Monday night when we went there for dinner and an evening of warm, golden, sunny outdoor pleasure, I took a stroll around the site with Little Man. It's not often I spend time with him alone, he is actually great company, chatty and funny and such a good young man. As the camp site was practically deserted on Monday evening, we took the opportunity to sneak a peek through the windows of some of the statics. They are very, very orderly and caravanish inside, but oddly appealing. Little Man said we should make an offer to the owners of this one so that I could have it and rename my blog Static24. Made me really laugh out loud.....but maybe..........?
Actually what we ended up doing was going to fetch a bag and some scissors and making an impromptu elderflower harvest. We came across several elder trees at the camp site and I noticed with some vocal joy that the blooms were still pretty much at their peak, unlike here in town where they are pretty much over. We collected enough for me to make a second batch of cordial, and (still pending, but on schedule for tomorrow), a batch of elderflower champagne!! I'm planning on using this recipe, unless anyone can give me a better one. I hope it works out!
8pm now on Monday evening, and the Little People both ask if we can go for a short walk up the hill behind the campsite, the same hill that we climbed on the evening of Summer Solstice and saw the Super Moon. There is a vague pathway which winds it's way through the long summer grass.....
....isn't this pretty? It brought back a sudden but rather hazy stab of childhood nostalgia and out of nowhere I remembered it's name :: Quaker Grass. My memory often amazes me. It is so appallingly awful on a day to day short term basis, and yet the most quirky facts from many moons ago are still able to surface.
The hill climb is short and sharp. I am wearing inappropriate footwear (flip flops) so I am a little slow and a little clumsy, but eventually I catch up with my energetic Little Peeps at our agreed resting point. Oh, I do love a good view!
Interestingly, my Little People decide to lay down in the long grass and study the sky, which is something that I very often do and which they very often ridicule me for. I smiled inwardly and lay down to join them. Don't you just love summer evenings like this? I feel like I never want it to end.