Last summer Family Kiwidutch hired a camper and headed off across the channel for new adventures along England’s south coast.
After a short stay in the New Forest and then a small detour inland to Stonehenge, we are ready to park up for the night, so with the aid of Our Lady of The Tom Tom, we make our way to the “Stonehenge Touring Park” camp site.
On arrival we are delighted to find that the site boasts a little shop, where, as you do, we entered with a shopping list that consisted of spaghetti, pasta sauce and salad greens and exited with a heavy duty camping torch and a tent that you take out of the packet, throw in the air and it pops out into a little tent all by itself.
If you guessed that Little Mr tagged along for the shopping trip and twisted our arms for goodies on his own wish list (definitely not salad greens), you’d have guessed right. As Himself and I cooked a pasta meal, Little Mr outfitted his little tent for the night: sleeping bag (check), pillow (check), cuddly toy (check), extra blanket he insists on in case it’s cold, even though it’s the height of summer (check) a large pile of books (check), a not so small plastic storage box of Lego (check), one brand new heavy duty camping torch (check) … and then one irritating Mama (Moi) who came and pointed out the minor practical details: the tent is tiny and he hasn’t actually left any room for the kid!
I also veto the Lego box, that has to stay inside the camper because I foresee a lost trail of Lego bits at every stage of our journey and tears and tantrums (mine) when replacements are demanded.
All but two of the books are also removed and enough space is freed up to accommodate the human being it was intended for. Little Mr assures us over and over that he will be sleeping in this little tent tonight ( but says the kid scared to death of the dark, wind and every creak, groan and rustle of nature, so I’m not holding out any hope that his bravery will continue after the sun goes down).
Outside we set up the folding table we bought with us and prepared for dinner and afterwards the kids spread out pencils, paper and paint and got busy on some creative artwork.
This drew the attention of a little girl who I will just call “B” from one of the nearby tents, she was about seven years old, spoke only Danish but was clearly curious.
I went over to her parents who were busy making dinner in their tent and asked if it was ok with them that their daughter joined our children to paint and they were a bit hesitant.
The parents were rather reserved types, not the sort to take up a conversation even though their English was very good, and they refused a later offer to share a glass of wine with Himself after dinner (I saw a wine bottle next to their meal so knew they drank alcohol) but their daughter was an only child and clearly desperate for the company of other kids to play with, so after the father, with very few words came and inspected the art table, and said “Yes”.
Their daughter “B” was delighted and despite the language barrier we started to draw pictures and try and label them in Dutch, English (depending on which was the more simple word) and Danish.
Our children learned that the Danish word for “rainbow” is “regnbue” , so a rainbow drawing competition ensued, with a rather surreal result of way too many rainbows in their landscapes, but they had fun and Dali would have been proud.
“B” was called back to her tent for dinner, but afterwards gravitated back to the door of the camper, looking hopefully inside for our children.
Our kids had discovered a little shed by the front entrance of the camp-ground what was an information centre and book-swap library and were browsing for possible book treasure. One found, they ran back to get a book to swap.
Luckily we had a book that they had rather outgrown but had been somehow added to the pile, so it went back on into the library. The only problem was that the book was in Dutch, but hopefully one day in the future a Dutch child will be visiting and their eyes will light up when they find a book that they can understand. With both our children back at the camper, the three of them played happily until the girls father came to tell her it was bedtime.
It was clear that the parents were still sitting outside so Himself offered them a glass of wine, but the offer was declined in a few words and they went back to the tent.
The next morning whilst Himself and I packed up our gear , the girl played with our kids, she was a rather lonely soul and I felt sorry for her because she looked rather dejected when we left.
True to form, Little Mr chickened out of sleeping outside in the tent as soon as it got dark, Himself loves tenting and since it was up took his place.
We have found the owners here really friendly, the pitch we had reserved before arrival was actually too small for our oversized camper so they improvised and set us up in an even better spot by a wall and arranged electricity so that we could run our fridge and lights as well.
We also discovered that these little tents might well pop out like magic when you take them out of their packets, but folding them back up is a devil of a job and in the end we gave up and just squashed it as flat as we could manage and stuffed it into the campers huge locker with the bikes. There was a tap a few meters away so the kids literally had “buckets of fun”whilst they helped Himself fill the camper’s water tanks and we had an excellent night’s sleep. Friendly helpful owners and us as happy campers…. Result!
Stonehenge Touring Park
Tel: +44 (0) 1980 620304