This morning I wanted to go on a mission for the last remaining conkers, for decoration and in hopes they’d rid our house of spiders. Instead, my Mum took me to a gold mind of oak trees.
I still pick up conkers and pine cones but I couldn’t tell you the last time I’ve picked up acorn caps – never the actual acorn, too many experiences of finding maggots in them.
Why have they gone under the radar for me? I think I’d more likely stamp on them on purpose than collect them. And they’re so pretty. Also, my Mum said the trees don’t produce acorns every year, fun fact for the day.
Without a bag, we ended up using my little brothers welly to carry them. (He wasn’t with us, we didn’t make him hop around just for my gain.)
So, today is the day that I appreciate acorn caps and make some sort of craft or decor with them, along with these real leaves. Tomorrow you will find out what I decided to do, but, for now, I still have no idea.
Recap; Hastings, camping, beach, chips, seagulls. Now for day 2.
The day started with a full English breakfast made on our stove. For those who aren’t English, it is a mess of beans, sausages, bacon, fried eggs (give and take whatever else you want) and you would hate it. It’s amazing. English foods all seem to be just a pile of goodness that’s terrible for you. Others will never understand the beauty of cheesy beans on toast. As the only veggie here I got my food first – I was going to quote that rhyme kids sing, till I remembered it went ‘first the worst, second the best..’ I suppose sometimes it was ‘zero the hero, first the worst…’ so I could be a hero. I am the one not contributing to killing animals after all. I say as I am typing this eating left over pizza made with cows milk. Reminds me of Lil Dickys song Pillow Talking – fucking brilliant. Go listen.
Turns out Dad was giggling last night and saying ‘camping is fun. Let’s sell our house and live in a tent.’ So that made my Mum laugh and my brother is four and so he just laughs if anyone is laughing. A lady approached my Mum and asked if my little brother was her son, she said yes, the lady said ‘aww, he’s so cute! And it’s he’s birthday!’ So turns out the little evil genius has been telling the children in the park that it’s his birthday today – it was 3 months ago. The lady said that’s so clever, she’s going to try that one.
James and I were all packed up by 10 but my Mum and Dad have decided to stay another night. I think they’re cool with camping, even though it’s raining now. It’s all we know. Give us 30 degree weather for two weeks and there’s mass hysteria. We don’t understand sweating. It rains and we all calm down, we get this, we are familiar with this weather.. but commence the whole of England complaining about that now. Why are you never satisfied?! I personally am okay with any weather, see vegetarian and doesn’t complain about the weather?! Zero. No, damn, I meant hero.
We learnt from last time and stayed in flip flops in the rain. I wore my Birkenstocks in the Cornwall rain (which I didn’t think anything of because I basically live in those bad boys) (and it really is that Lil Dicky song now, but I got them before I was a vegetarian) and they stayed wet forever. Same with any other footwear – you’re outside constantly pretty much, so you and the rest of the campsite just gets wet. Everyone stays in their shorts, hoodies and flip flops – we give no shits, we are campers. Bad boys for life. The only people that weren’t like that actually were my parents, my Mum in particular who was wearing a jacket and wellies. Oh bless her and her over prepared self. At least she remembered the oil, unlike us. Without that no mountain of English breakfast goodness would exist. Thank you Mum, for I have sinned.
Now something I don’t think I’ve really done, and don’t plan to do often so don’t get used to it, is a little thing we call giving advise. Advise. Makes me feel sick saying it. Here it is. I had a blow up bed from my days of festival camping and James’s brother was getting rid of a mattress topper. Combine the two together and you get a super duper nights sleep. Trust me, I’ve camped twice now. Expert.
Now my mother, who loves a tip, loves advise, loves a welly, made some notes which I will include now;
- Saturdays are the nosiest night
- don’t pitch tent too close to tent groups
- always have a plastic festival mac handy
- don’t pitch opposite a playground
- always take a jacket with a hood
Camping notes from a middle aged couple. To be fair I would definitely read that blog.
The era we are in seems to be the era of festivals of every kind. Every couple of metres on the sea front there’s an advertisement for a festival. Festival of music, of beer, of fish, of food, of gin, of zooquarium..? What’s zooquarium? Oh how I could google right now but I won’t. Put festival in the name and I for one am tempted to go. I’d have no money or holiday left at work if I went to everyone I’ve seen advertised. They’d all be disappointments too to be honest, especially as I wouldn’t have any money left to spend there. That being said I do have a talent of having fun in any situation. One of two of my talents. Which is handy right now because the rain stops you doing anything normal. And you know me, all I want is normal, I scream normal. After getting drenched while walking from the arcade to the car, we began to drive carpark to carpark to see the sites. My two year old nephew called it a ‘parcark’ the other day – that never stops, two year old nephew, you will do that for the rest of your life. Anyway, you get to people watch while feeling they can’t see you this way, highly entertaining – especially when a seagull is stalking a bunch of girls for their lunch, and we wait in anticipation for him to dive bomb.
Now I know you’re wondering what my other talent in life is. It is that donut people love me. I don’t know how I do it. I love them back equally, to be fair. Ever since I can remember I would go to buy donuts and they’ve always given me more than I paid for. At Thorpe Park, when I was 14, they gave me a whole extra bag free. I don’t understand this power but I mustn’t misuse it. So, I’ll set the scene, grey miserable day, everyone is drenched through other than my Mums toes in her snug wellies, and they decide what they need for a pick-me-up is good ol’ fish and chips. I don’t always eat chips from the chippy because sometimes they use the same oil for everything, so I said ‘no, I will get myself some donuts,’ and left them. I was pushing against the wind and rain to the first donut stand and it said ‘4 donuts for £2.50’ and I though ‘that’s a bit steep isn’t it, I’ll walk to the next one.’ So off I went again, against the wind and rain, to the next stand where it was exactly the same price. So I was like ‘that’s clearly a standard price and I’m just a cheapskate, so I’ll buy them here,’ ‘4 donuts, please,’ ‘that’s £2.50.’
I walked away. They had given me 7.
I had to tell one of my best friends because she’s often been there to witness these events. But wow, amirite? What a day.
I didn’t write a whole lot more in my notes, and after visiting an old pub – which I just googled about – we just went home. I won’t google about ‘The Ghost of Dunkirk’ or ‘1066 country’ or ‘zooquarium’ but I will google a pubs history. Apparently that’s the kind of person I am. I wish I didn’t though, apparently not a lot is known about it’s history but it seems it’s not actually from the medieval age, but rather a post war build. One website went as far to call it ‘a fake’. That’s my whole Hastings visit ruined!
On my post about the first day I mentioned that there were so many strawberries and cherries for sale on the side of the road, then there was a whole bit about cherries being a chimney sweep compared to the strawberry which is a Lord. You should go read it. I thought I counted 7 of these stands, James said I was well off. So we genuinely did a tally chart on the way home.
Tally Chart of Strawberries and Cherries being sold (including eggs and any other produce) (not logs, but there was loads of them)
16. That’s right. And please ignore the ‘wanker’, it’s not directed at you and I can’t for the life of me remember what it was in reference to. Probably ourselves for being the kind of people that make a tally chart counting how many produce stands we drove past. You probably can’t read my writing anyway, not many people can. I shouldn’t have brought any of this up.
There’s something so satisfying in having more knowledge this time round camping. James and I were like a production line packing the car yesterday, there was no guessing or double checking. No stress, just very natural and for some reason that feels very cool. Not in the sense that we are cool. Would others think I’m cool with these giant sunglasses on and my adult scooter? Probably not. Hipster comes to mind. Just to justify my life choices to those throwing up in their mouths; scooters are so much fucking fun. I bought them for James’s 27th birthday two days ago and we have lived the dream ever since. Depression? What depression? Age matters? Who’s age? I look like a prick? Who looks like a prick? Hipster? Who’s a hipster? Need anything else in life now? Definitely not. Just more money to buy scooters: I’m a junkie.
I should mention where we are heading: Hastings. We’ve been on the road for 19 minutes out of this hour and a half car ride and we’ve hit traffic already. Although that’s got to be frustrating for James The Driver Man, though I won’t ask because nothing is more annoying than when someone asks if you’re annoyed, I on the other hand am still revelling in satisfaction. I want to live in a van, that’s no secret, I threw that idea into the world long ago, and with this satisfaction of everything having a place in the car because we are now machines of camping is just wonderful. I want certain things at close reach and others can be tucked away, so this notebook, camera, water needs to be in the side pocket of the door. My phone, purse, rucksack close by but not as easy because I don’t need that shit in my life right now. It all working effortlessly is the goal. I get travel sickness so I can’t rummage and shake myself about just to get a pen.
Today, Friday, is the coolest day we’ve had in two weeks. We are coming out of a heat wave, but to us poor English that don’t ever get weather like this in June, it feels like we are coming out of an oven. To cool on a rack before the icing goes on. A whole week of 30 degree weather. I love that when the weather is like that it’s acceptable to look disgusting, it’s excused. It’s hot out so you can wear next to nothing and look a sweaty, greasy mess. Everyone is like that, yes? The downside to the glorious heat? Other than sleeping in an un-airconditioned house, the bites. I have been bitten. I have luscious blood that bugs love to suck on, I can’t help it. So if you see a girl scooting down the street, dripping in sweat, not wearing enough clothes and covered in bumps, so much so that you’re sure she’s diseased – it’s me. Come say hi. I won’t bite. Just the swarm of mosquitoes surrounding me will.
Driving past signs for free range eggs gave me an idea. I said to James maybe we should do a challenge when we go camping of not bringing any food with us but stopping as everyone of these signs and buying fresh produce. On the way to Cornwall there was loads, as soon as you come out of London everyone seems to sell strawberries and cherries on the side of the road. Strawberries I understand, but why is cherries advertised right next to it? It feels wrong. It’s not worthy of being on a sign with a strawberry, they’re incomparable, it’s a lower class, it’s like a Lord and a chimney sweep. The Lord will taste better, the chimney sweep would be covered in ash and get stuck in your teeth. I do love burnt marmite toast though. I like me some charcoal but not the point! There must be farm shops too that’ll sell meat for James – we would just have to bring my veggie shit.
Another challenge – visit all castles on the way to somewhere. They’re everywhere.
‘Welcome to 1066 country‘ don’t know what that means other than a reference to the battle of Hastings. It could be advertising ‘0 800 00 1066’. I guarantee all English people sung that number in their heads. Oh the power of advertising. That and ‘go compare’. Come to think of it, I want some cherries now.
At 1:47 we have made it. I get out the car and instantly have to put a jumper on. Not a good sign for someone who only packed for hot weather.
There’s us getting cocky, though not James because he doesn’t see what I write in my notebook (it’s all bitching about him), about being pro campers after camping once before.. We forgot mugs, tea, oil and chairs. Luckily my Mum, Dad and little brother are coming to join us later in the day so I will inform them of our fuck ups. James also forgot his phone charger but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I literally have a phone because I feel like I have to have one otherwise I’ll miss out on my friendships. But we are different people. Different ideas. Different interests and that’s fine. We definitely haven’t had that conversation before.
Hot dogs were meant to be on the menu for lunch but after forgetting the oil, pot noodles it is then. Even though James spilt so much of them over the cooker. I also licked my fingers after adding the soy sauce and saying ‘salty’. I blame the giant gin and tonic I’m drinking for the stupidity. It’s delicious though, I feel fabulous. I’m very up beat today.
While exploring the town there was a sign with something to do with Dunkirk – like ‘The Ghost of Dunkirk’. I have these moments, quite often actually, when I just don’t understand something. I read the whole sign but even then it made no sense to me – I generally over think and read into things that aren’t there, therefore complicating the simple. So no idea what this thing was about, something to do with a ship saving people at Dunkirk beach (I will Google it at some point). The reason I mention it is because it’s cool to think that we were in Dunkirk, France, on the 2nd of May. Now here we are, on the opposite side of the channel on the 23rd June.
This made me laugh so much. Even now as I’m typing. Paybacks a bitch. Now you might be thinking ‘that’s cruel, Emily,‘ but that lake behind him, where there are rowing boats and what have you, is blue. The water is blue. You can only tell slightly in the photo below by the colour of the seagulls legs. It’s like toilet bleach. I have a theory that they’ve poisoned the water to kill off the seagulls. I’m not so much the bad guy anymore am I? James thinks it’s to do with bacteria, or something, but I’m sure I’m right.
It’s 18:56 and we have parked next to the sea, listening to David Dobrick and Jason Nash’s new podcast, while James has fallen asleep next to me. It sounds like I should be bored, I think others would be bored, but sitting here watching the waves roll it, sipping a beer.. For lack of the right words, it’s so good. When I lived in Malta I spent loads of time on these rocks by the sea, just sitting there. I would be sitting in the sun too right now, alas! It’s all run out for this trip. For me, water is a reminder to stay present. Cities like London are fun, for sure, but coming to the coast and just looking out is almost like a reality check. I think some others would understand this but I definitely think that’s a personality trait. Not something you can change. I feel very connected to the Earth but James doesn’t feel like this, it’s just not in him and it’s funny because when I try to explain it I can hear how I sound like I’m talking so much bullshit. I sound like I’m out of touch with reality, where as it’s the opposite. It’s real. It’s just different people isn’t it. That’s a good thing.
Now time to wake him up and scoot.
Mum, Dad and brother turned up in the evening and we had an event in putting up their tent. My Mum was a child camper and my Dad was an only child so you can imagine how that went down. Luckily pro camper here, with two camping trips to her name, took control. They have personally gone from cruises to camping. That’s the lowest of the low, Mum. I kid! I kid! She was saying how it used to be seen as a ‘poor people’ thing, back in her day, but how it’s a choice. It’s a good choice. Everyone should give it a go.
I think they like it so far at least, definitely my little brother is enjoying it. He is four after all. Everything’s an adventure. As James and I were drifting off to sleep we could hear them three giggling into the night.
Over the years I’ve documented this field and my walks in it. I walked it in slippery mud, in crops taller than me, read The Power Of Now in it, collected things found and, as you could imagine, lost weight. I haven’t been since I joined the gym, which is a bloody shame really, but this evening with nothing to do and the sun suddenly shining after a dreary day, I went for a glorious stroll on my own. Glorious.
I didn’t plan on taking photos but I can never help myself with this field. I only had my phone though. What a good way to end a day.