Monday 6th of June 2005
We got back from our camping trip yesterday afternoon, and now you’re back at school and I’m working today, then I have a day to get ready to go to Italy on Wednesday… You’ll be staying with your dad till I come back. Anyway, our week camping was lovely, wet and cold!!!!
We all left on Bank Holiday Monday, Babs, Daisy, you and I went in Babs’ car. Ojan, Martin and Zac went on another. They came to pick us up and we had to split our luggage between two cars, as both their cars were packed and we had a large bag as well as 3 sleeping bags and two roll up mattresses. It took about 3 hours to get there, there being a camp site in Hope valley, nearest town being Hathersage, nearest big towns: Chesterfield and Sheffield. I’d never been to the Derbyshire Dales District, or anywhere within the Peak District before! The drive to the campsite was lovely, huge green trees, sheep everywhere, and lovely green hills. What an absolutely beautiful part of England!
We stayed at a small camping site in Hope Valley and all day long you could hear the sheep bleating away… This is our trip diary:
Monday: The 7 of us got to the camping site at around 3pm and put up the tents. At first I put our 2 man tent up the wrong way, as the tent had to be put up with the outer tent first then the inner tent. Luckily it was sunny, and quite hot. I was sweating by the time I finished it! I also been planning on giving up smoking, but once I started the tent building operation I needed to smoke! We were in a slightly hilly area, so everyone was going to have an interesting night’s sleep later on. After that I went into Hathersage with Martin to get some food supplies and we had a couple of drinks at the pub (The Little John), while Ojan and Babs took you, Daisy and Zac to the pond where all the tadpoles were. When we got back we started to burn the coal and Martin cooked meat for everyone, we all had delicious sausages and salad for dinner. We managed to get all you kids to bed at 9:30 – but had to drag you away from the teenagers at the top of the hill. You and Zac had those foam spades and you were running after them! There were a lot of teenagers there, most trying to get their Duke of Edinburgh badges, and a lot of climbers too… After you all went to bed, us, the 4 adults sat outside, wrapped in blankets (it got cold!), drinking wine and spotting bats flying around: we counted 5. By 10:30 I was falling asleep on my chair so I went to bed. The first night sleeping there was a nightmare! I never felt so cold in my life and we both kept sliding down the tent! After the first night we both slept quite well and didn’t even feel the cold! I think we’re built for the outdoor life…
Tuesday: Another beautiful day, woke up to the sound of sheep and bird song everywhere! After a very leisurely breakfast we all walked to Hathersage via the public paths through the countryside. Before getting to Hathersage we all stopped at the church where ‘Little John’ from Robin Hood is. We had something to eat and carried on walking down to the town. I was amazed at how beautiful the scenery was! I never walked so near sheep either, what a happy day! Once we got down to Hathersage, we stopped at the pub for a couple of drinks (Scotmans Pack Inn) then some shopping for food, for dinner. We bought you all ice cream and met a lovely lady who walked with us for a while. It turns out she’s the mother of the arts editor of The Times, Richard Morrison. She had just moved into town and got talking to us because you, like her, had a walking stick (yours was just a piece of wood) and we all got talking to her for about an hour. She didn’t know anyone in Hathersage yet, but seemed happy in her solitude, although she couldn’t stop talking and invited us to her garden, sadly we had to go… When we got back we went for a walk to the pond. Lovely, if a bit steep! We had pasta and salami and cheese and olives and bits and bobs for dinner on Tuesday. The campsite had a pretty decent shower, a drying room and two sinks for washing pots, as well as a recycling area. It wasn’t as basic/rustic as I hoped, but I was glad of the drying room by the end of the week!!!! You messed around with some other teenagers for a while then everyone went to bed at 8:30, as you kids were very tired (so were the adults!)
Wednesday: Got woken up at about 5 in the morning by the rain, then went back to sleep. What a lovely feeling it is to be in a tent, listening to the rain! You slid so far down the tent that you were lying across the tent’s ‘door’, we were making a letter ‘T’ shape when I woke up! We finally got up, got dressed quickly and went off to Chatsworth, after having a lovely English breakfast at a café somewhere… We paid an indecent amount to get into Chatsworth house, walked around looking at the paintings on the ceiling (would have preferred to have done that without kids, as you guys never stopped anywhere long enough!). We wondered around the house for an hour, at the shop I bought the ‘Crouching Lion’ replica and some post cards, and we set off to look at the gardens in the rain.
The gardens were stunning; it was the day my camera took the most pictures! We went on the maze and spent ages finding the middle, I think we tried all the permutations before we found the right way! Once we found the middle we stood under the tree, sheltering from the rain and eating some sandwiches… We walked some more, what a wonderful walk, I could have walked around those gardens all day! Finally we got to the fountain and walked all the way down. Daisy was being a bit difficult and Babs got a bit upset. We finally left and had dinner at the Little John, famous for its HUGE portions of food, although you and I just shared a spaghetti Bolognese. Ojan had lamb ribs and it looked like they’d just chopped the ribcage in two and gave her one half! There were a good 8 ribs in it! After that we went home and all you kids were in bed by 8 (notice how you all start sleeping earlier and earlier!). We sat under the gazebo, with our waterproofs on, this time drinking hot chocolate with Tequila to warm us up! I had about 5 layers of clothing on!
Thursday: Another rainy day, so we all went off to the swimming pool… The pool was closed until 12 so we stopped at another café, had some brunch, then went swimming. Don’t know where Martin disappeared to, but he tended to keep away from any kids activities… After swimming we had a wonder around town (can’t remember the name of it). You fell down some steps and cried a bit, we then drove to Bakewell, sat on a pub, then bought some more food. It was there that I bought you the transparent globe, as well as the little keyring gun/handcuffs the day after. We also found out that Jason was coming the next day to join us (Babs husband and Daisy’s dad). The weather was much better so we had a lovely barbeque, once again cooked by Martin! Yum! We had lamb burgers and lamb chops and salad!
Friday: Another rainy day!!!!!!!!!!!!! We were running out of clothes by then… We went to a shoe/camping shop and I bought a lovely waterproof coat, Babs got herself some smart shoes and Ojan got some wellies (God knows she needed them!). We had brought sandwiches so we had food here and there and ended up in Bakewell again, this time it was very busy, as the sun had just come out… I bought you a pair of waterproof trousers, as you’d run out of trousers. After a while we went back to Hathersage to try and find Jason. He took a coach to Sheffield then another one to Hathersage. We all went to the Little John again, it’d started raining madly. 10 mins later Jason walks in, with flowers for Babs and very wet. He’s also bought meat, so later on we had another bbq, this time the weather held out for about 1.5 hours, just enough time to get dinner ready. Jason passed out very early. Babs, Ojan and myself sat outside, playing ‘What are you? Animal, Vegetable or Mineral…’, or ’20 questions’, whatever it’s called, again, while Martin read his book. Oh, yes, it was also on Friday that the Army people arrived with two HUGE tents, which looked more like barns and took over the whole of the top field (the camp side was divided into 4 main fields, the top field, the two in the middle – we were there, then another smaller one at the bottom) I had to go and have a look, so we both did! Took a picture too, I’m such a tourist! You guys played a bit in one of the tents, you and Daisy were brother/sister and Zac was the dad and he was reading you a story. It was very funny to watch!
Saturday: Saturday saw the worst weather yet, not only was it raining, it was also cold and windy. We weren’t sure what to do, so we stayed in the camp, you guys in the tent, I was feeling miserable and wet… By 11 the weather got a bit better, and some friends of Babs showed up with their two kids… We ended up going up the pond again, it was great walking in the wills with the wind blowing so hard! The two boys jumped in the pond a had a very quick swim in the freezing cold water, all for the price of chocolate and some very enthusiastic clapping from us all! I had my wellies on, so I did some stone throwing and shallow water walking with you. In the evening we went to Castleton to eat. We ended up at a lovely pub, called ‘The George’ and I had a delightful meal, consisting of Sirloin steak and lots of vegetables and chips! Yum!!!!!! You had fish and chips and strawberry and chocolate ice-cream. We all got animal badges from Jason, I got a ladybird and you got a dragonfly. It was a magical meal, we all had a lovely time. We drove back to camp and got there at 8. We went to brush your teeth, I read you a story, and we cuddled up. I didn’t wake up again until later, when it was pitch black and raining very hard. I went back to sleep and it was Sunday morning when I woke up again!
Sunday: Got up at 7 and it looked miserable again. The people who run the campsite stuck a weather report on the toilets’ doors every morning and the outlook for Sunday was good, but not when we got up! Jason, Babs and I packed our tents and we were ready to leave by 10, which we did. Ojan and Martin stayed behind packing theirs. We got back at our house at 2, but Ojan and Martin didn’t show up till 7, they had my bag and dropped it then. They got pretty bad traffic by leaving later! Driving on the motorway with Jason was quite an experience which has to be mentioned. Driving to Hathersage with Babs was lovely, she drove safely and fast… Driving back to London was pretty scary, I spent most of the drive shutting my eyes closed and praying. Jason was zigzagging in between cars and he’s one of those very IRRITATING drivers who come right up to your bumper for you to get out of the way (at this point I usually put my lights on so it looks like I’m hitting the breaks and that makes them back off). I was an emotional wreck by the end of the journey! The sun had come out by then and it wasn’t a bad day. When we got to London, although cloudy, it was very warm – and there was no fresh air or lovely sheep bleeting anywhere…