Local Heart, Global Soul

October 10, 2014

Eating Out That Ends Up As Win-Win On Many Levels…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I never thought I could enjoy a holiday in a large camping ground, packed with hundreds of  caravans, tents, static caravans and campers.

Himself and I are definitely “off the beaten track” kind of people, we love nothing better than getting away from the tourist traps, eating where the locals do and inhaling as much of the local culture as possible.

Ok, that last bit sounds a little bit wrong… rest assured we aren’t smoking anything, but rather trying to get the real flavour of somewhere new by blending in with the locals whenever possible.

That’s been easier on some occasions than others, Himself’s height often captivates peoples attention and instantly  marks us out as tourists but his passion for languages quickly puts people at ease because nothing stuns a little Portuguese /French/ German farmer more than a gigantic Dutchman asking for directions to a good local restaurant in very decent Portuguese / French or German. Of course now that we have children, and even worse picky children who fuss over what they will or won’t eat, “going local”  has had to be curtailed to some degree, but I am proud that despite my kids frustratingly difficult culinary habits, we have never ever eaten at certain fast food burger chain restaurants.

Personally  I’m not a huge fan of pizza places either but that’s only because I’m probably one of the small percentage of people who never really got a pizza habit, unlike the rest of my family for whom the words “Italian Restaurant ” are a little piece of magic promising pizza and pasta and upon which they would live happily three hundred and sixty five days of the year.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I was therefore in two minds about our decision to eat at the Pizzeria located on site at the Sandy Balls camp site . The rest of the family were relishing the idea but I wasn’t feeling the love for either pasta or pizza and wasn’t particularly looking forward to looking at a menu for the “least worst”  option.

Imagine my delight when we discovered that the pizzeria said it would be no problem for me to have fish and chips!

Now I’m not one hundred percent certain if it was on their own menu or if they collaborated with the snack bar close by, but we managed to get a meal where everyone got what they fancied on the day.

Kiwi Daughter even ditched her original pizza plans for fish and chips too, (by working out that she could get pizza “any time” at home but that fish and chips were a treat that we could only get in the UK or when back in New Zealand). Little Mr even wrangled the dreaded chicken nuggets out of us, I’ve long since banned Himself from buying them at home but we have a rule that on holiday we are allowed a treat, a rule that Little Mr is exploiting as much as he can humanly manage.

Himself  naturally went for the pasta option, Kiwi Daughter and I got a piece of fish each and then shared a portion of chips and the kids had shushies for drinks and ice-cream  for desert. Every one was happy, and Himself could even enjoy a glass of wine because he didn’t have to drive back. Win, Win.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 8, 2014

The Activities Are Right On Target … Even If We Are Not.

Filed under: ENGLAND,PHOTOGRAPHY,South Coast,The New Forest — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Last summer on a holiday to England, Family Kiwidutch got their first taste of what it was like to stay at a large camping ground with all modern conveniences.

Ok… granted, if you were tent and needed a trip to the lavatory in the night it would mean a walk to the nearest amenity block but we had a camper that had it’s own toilet so I was saved any risk of stumbling around the camp-site in the dark.

Talking to a few friendly neighbours we also discovered that many of serious campers who make frequent use of camp grounds have their own port-a-loo lavatories for emergency night time use, so clearly I’m not alone in being reluctant to wander far in a sleepy state (even if I were more mobile).

The deep reservations I had about camping alongside so many other people turned out to me largely unfounded, noise was minimal later at night, many of our fellow campers also had younger kids who were going to be waking them up at the crack of dawn so any ideas of hard partying by parents into the wee hours was not really an option. Generally there was the odd burst of laughter from somewhere down the rows of family tents as adults from multiple families congregated around a bottle of wine (or box) and nibbles  and even that petered out as the clock edged towards midnight.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Considering that the long hours of daylight were keeping our kids up until ten at night, it was all relaxed and very friendly.

The relaxed atmosphere was also vastly aided by the sheer amount of activities available on site. T

hey were “extras’ in the price of the camp site so we didn’t let our kids go wild and choose every activity on the list, but they got to choose several each, and then we added one that we could do as a family.

The downside of the list of activities was that some activities were only on specific days, both our kids wanted to take a baking class but it was scheduled for later in the week  after our expected departure date so they had to settle for decorating some biscuits (cookies) instead.

The pool was available at specific times too, scheduled to fit in with things like aqua-aerobics for adults. Although our kids are getting older now they can still be kept happy for a while with a playground or a magic show or just making a few new friends and making up silly games. On one hand I sometimes get concerned that they aren’t very street-wise or old beyond their years, on the other I think that childhood is a fleeting time and if they want to stick to slightly more childish things for a little longer then why not? None of us should be forced to grow up too soon in this ultra fast paced world.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Both Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr made full use of as many of the pool slots as possible and both opted for a drawing /colouring in session and a tie-dying lesson too.

In both they were the only kids in the class so had the instructors full attention.

The instructors are university students earning some cash to get them through their next year of study, the young lady helping with the tie-dying lived locally in the New Forest and was really great with the kids.

Both kids still use their tie-dyed bags and are very proud of their handiwork.

We choose archery as the activity we wanted to do as a family, and whilst the participants were expected to walk to the archery site down a rough track some distance away, as an exception they arranged for the instructors to take a vehicle down there and to give me a lift because otherwise I won’t have been able to take part. Two groups take turns doing archery so I photograph the other group whilst we wait our turn. The kids were very much inspired by the instructor’s promise of twenty packets of sweets (beers for adults who preferred that) should anyone hit a perfect bullseye, but in spite of enthusiasm all four of us quickly demonstrated that the none of us had the William Tell gene and that the prize stood no chance of accompanying us home. None of the other people managed it either and apparently it had been some years since the prize has had to be paid out so we didn’t feel too disappointed.

Himself and the kids also had fun eavesdropping on a magic show intended for younger children: it was a classic cause of them feeling far too old to take part but secretly enjoying the jokes, magic and repartee, they took the pocket camera with them whilst I had a sleep back at the camper and judging by the detailed update I got later the show was good fun no matter how old the  audience was.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

One parent gets a hard hat and a plate spinning on her head…

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

(photograph © Kiwi Daughter)

October 6, 2014

Sandy Balls Is All “Mod Cons Camping” Compared To Anything I Know….

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch have finally arrived in the New Forest and at our accommodation for the next few days.

It’s the Sandy Balls Camp ground and whilst Himself and I would usually be the kind of people who prefer hiking out into the wilderness far away from crowds, it’s not a scenario idea when I have limited mobility on crutches and we two kids who feel the need for better entertainment than constantly squabbling with one another.

It’s a world away from any camping experience I’ve ever seen before,  in New Zealand as a kids I was used to just a tent, or even on occasion no tent at all, just a thin camping mat and sleeping bag under the southern hemisphere stars , running water in an ice cold mountain stream and kilometres of open space without another soul around.

It’s a shock to find that “camping” here comes with a heated swimming pool on site, activities galore, even restaurants and snack bars on the premises. Not only that, but there are not just a few rows of campers or tents like back in Folkestone, there are entire “neighbourhoods” of campers, caravans, tents and even some more of the semi permanent caravans. Almost next door to us there is even another Dutch family who have a daughter fractionally older than Kiwi Daughter but is who hesitant to mix with other kids because unlike our bilingual brood, or he much older brothers,  she doesn’t (yet) speak much English.

She’s quick to join our two and they go off to explore, leaving Himself and I to evaluate the damage to the camper more fully. The paintwork has been completely scratched off in places and Himself reports there are dents on the roof too. We resign ourselves to that fact that what is done is done and that we shouldn’t let it overshadow the rest of our holiday. The music can wait until we get back to the Netherlands.

Once again we are too lazy and tired to cook and decide on a simple meal of fish and chips, but first Himself hauls his bike out of the large internal compartment of the camper and rides off around this large complex to round up the kids who have warned us they can be found at the large playground they spotted on the way in.

I’ve already spotted several German car number plates as well as a Belgium and French one, so places like these international gathering places it seems.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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