Summertime in Seven Counties Part 4 – Bedfordshire & Twittercamp

Saturday morning saw us leave Cirencester and head east towards Bedfordshire and Henlow Bridge Lakes for the 7th Twittercamp. Again, the journey was straightforward and under much warmer conditions our tug Rosie achieved just shy of 31 mpg on the 151 mile route.

We’d asked – and the site had agreed – that we could arrive a little earlier and there was still a tent on our pitch as we pulled in. No matter. The sun was out and Twittercamp regulars Sam & Andy and Neil and Dave were already on site and we had a cuppa and chatted whilst the incumbents of our pitch got cleared up. The site was already busy and more kept piling in including a load of TVR enthusiasts who were pitching up in their tents on the field behind us.

There was to be one more arrival on Saturday – David C. Although Twittercamp didn’t officially start until Sunday, with seven of us already on site there was a quick foray to the nearest supermarket and the bbq was fired up. Allison & Amanda – though not booked on until later in the week did not live too far away and joined us for the cremation

Behind us the TVR gang were lively but otherwise well behaved until one of ‘em decided it would be a good idea to rev the engine of his car to the limiter. It was loud, very loud, but somehow they heard two of Twittercamp’s more er, vocal members telling him to turn it in. Or words to that effect. There were clearly no hard feelings as they asked for one of us to take a group photo of them later on. And only one of ‘em dropped their pants and paraded his backside.

Sunday brought with it another scorcher – and the arrival of another regular – Alison from Kent and newcomers Mick and Pam from Doncaster. They weren’t early enough for the morning gathering and devouring of bacon DSC_0288rolls but most certainly were for afternoon tea and cakes. In-between which, whilst others went on a ‘research’ expedition, we put up the gazebo brought by Alison. During the day the site had also emptied out quite considerably and we now almost had the paddock to ourselves.

Iain & Zoe with their youngest Lulu – previous Twittercampers – joined us for the afternoon and evening. It was so nice to be able to sit outside well into the evening although several of the posse were already suffering the attentions of clearly ravenous flying insects.

Monday and it was time to ring the changes – sausage baps instead of bacon – for the morning get together. In the afternoon we had our first competition of the week – a game of Smite – where you have to amass a score by knocking over wooden blocks. Neil & Dave were eventual winners pocketing a voucher from regular Twittercamp supporter Venture Caravans. The kid’s slide in the centre of the paddock was too good an opportunity to miss for some photos.

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Tuesday, and a break from dead pig as we went all continental and devoured croissants courtesy of Neil & Dave before heading for a day – well a couple of hours – at Wimpole Hall and Gardens. Well worth a visit, but on what was one of the hottest days of the year, the house got a lot more attention than the gardens. Another visit when we are back in the area and it is cooler, is on the list.

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In the evening we had a rest from cremated burgers and instead scorched a load of sausages for Hot Dog night.

It was Alison’s Birthday on Wednesday so in the morning we celebrated with er, bacon baps before we said goodbye to David C. The rest of the day was ‘free’ with the gang gathering again for a meal at a pub. Yes, food again. We get through a fair bit of it at Twittercamp!

There was a slight respite from the recent hot weather on Thursday. In the morning I called upon Alison’s professional skills to give my greying locks a trim. Soon after lunch we welcomed David B. with a surprise in tow. Literally. Gone was his famous tweeting caravan Elvis The Elddis to be replaced by a younger larger model that he’d picked up just that morning on the way down from Yorkshire.

Afternoon tea – although there wasn’t much tea drunk – gave us the excuse to scoff more cake made or bought by various Twittercampers before the second competition of the week – the darts match. I was looking forward to this one and as it transpired with good reason as I walked away with a voucher by Twittercamp supporter Cover 4 Caravans.

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Thursday night – just – saw the arrival of Allison & Amanda this time complete with caravan. Plans for a more sensible arrival time had been thrown into disarray by others but everyone was keen to help although I suspect the extensive erm, research of the previous few hours probably meant we were more a hindrance then help!

Friday brought with it the arrival of my cousin Andy & wife Janet and Grandson Braydon and also Alison and David B’s belated birthday party. A second game of Smite followed afternoon ‘tea’ and Sam & Andy pocketed  a voucher – again from Venture Caravans.

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For once the bbq’s remained cold as a cold buffet was the order of the day. The weeks attendance also peaked at 15. Sam & Andy had put together a quiz which was one by Alison & David B. taking away between them a voucher for the lovely Doe Park caravan site up in Teesdale. Allison & Amanda came second pocketing a sight night voucher for the Camping & Caravan Club donated by David B.

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More fun and games followed thanks to Sam & Andy as you will see…

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Saturday and another hot one. Croissants & pastries  ensured the bacon stayed in the fridge for breakfast before we said goodbye to Sam & Andy. They had tried to extend their stay but was told there was no space, although their pitch remained empty until Sunday. DSC_0029

Previously Pam had been telling Alison how good she used to be with a hula hoop back in the day. Alison responded by presenting her with one as a memento of their first Twittercamp.

DSC_0014Saturday night was pie night. Each brought a different pie to the table and even tablecloths came out. Iain and Zoe joined us again and as the light faded we gathered – and choked – around a fire basket. Another surprise from Alison’s TARDIS like front locker…

Sunday, and it was time to say good bye again – this time to Neil & Dave and Mick & Pam, but not before a breakfast gathering and bacon rolls to set them on their way.DSC_0002

In the evening the remaining nine gathered for a roast dinner. The sponsorship money from Cover 4 Caravans paid for the joint which we left to the mercy of our slow cooker. The others prepared the roasties and veg and all went down very well, although the absence of Yorkshire puds – down to an oversight by the procurement department – that’ll be us then – did not go unnoticed! The final prize – 4nights at the lovely Warcombe Farm camp site in North Devon – first stop on our travels went to Allison & Amanda for best dressed caravan whose plethora of lights looked really lovely.

DSC_0009With the departure of Allison & Amanda first thing, then later David B followed by Alison, the seventh Twittercamp was over. It had been fun, but the sudden heat had made it tiring too. It was great to welcome Twittercamp ‘virgins’ Mick & Pam and I hope we see them at another meet in the future.

Monday afternoon was family time as myself, Trevor and Jan watched my cousin Andy and grandson Braydon fish. Fairly regular bites ensured and naps in the afternoon sun were short lived and Braydon was delighted to triumph, landing more fish than Andy.

In the evening the remaining five of us gathered around their BBQ for our last night for heading off in the morning.

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The site – Henlow Bridge Lakes was great in most respects. Geared for families , both weekends it was extremely busy and there were sadly not enough facilities to cope. As caravanners though we had the option of using our on board gear – and that’s what we did whilst it was busy.

During the week the site was peaceful and a very pleasant place to stay. As the names suggests, there are lakes for the fishermen and lodges can be rented for those that don’t camp.

It’s now time for the all important thank you’s. Firstly to everyone that came – just by doing so you played your part but everyone contributed so much more in one way or another. So, in no particular order: David C. Sam, Andy S, David B, Alison. Neil, Dave, Janet, Andy B, Braydon, Allison, Amanda, Pam and Mick. My other half Trev for organising and pestering our sponsors into coughing up. Talking of which…..

Thanks to Venture Caravans, Cover 4 Caravans, Doe Park and Warcombe Farm for once again supporting us with their prizes, and a special extra thank you to Cover 4 Caravans whose sponsorship enabled us to put on all the bbqs and breakfasts for free. It was very much appreciated.

Check out this slideshow of some of the best bits on You Tube and for more photos check out Facebook

The Site Arrival Video can be found HERE and the video for leaving the site is HERE

Right, that’s three counties down. Up next is Cambridgeshire, then to Essex and Colchester where I meet up with my cousin again for his eldest daughter’s wedding. Stand by for the next blog. At some point…..

 

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