The inevitable has happened and our ragtag band of happy campers has been temporarily halted in its tracks by bloody Welsh coastal weather. Winds gusting at 45mph along with hideous rain squalls ultimately culminated in our tent being destroyed. Multiple tent poles splintered/snapped and us and our belongings were blown everywhere and soaked through.
Now imagine you’ve not read that first paragraph and let yourself drift back to a simpler time a good 8 hours before TD (Tent Death) where tents are whole, people and belongings are dry and the day is looking if not great, then at least workable…
The day did start well in all fairness. We had reached a sleep compromise with Ollie and for the most part he slept through the night allowing us a clear head and some form of optimism for the day ahead. Being the high adrenaline trio that we are, we had a day planned which involved a visit to the grandly titled Centre for Alternative Technology (CAT hereafter). CAT is a genuinely unique place to visit and is frankly really interesting. As may be guessed from the name it deals with all sorts of alternative energy research and development. The very first thing you see of it is a near vertical train/lift carriage that through gravity and water pressure lifts you up and down the cliff to where the main area of CAT is.
Ollie absolutely loved it and in his most adamant and piping falsetto, declared that it was his train. We’re not sure how he intends to get it back to the car, let alone the Cotswolds, but sometimes it’s best not to argue.
Once up top CAT really opens out into a gorgeous 3.5 acre open learning experience that you womble about in. Literally every area you learn something new about sustain ability or renewable energy. Mildly interesting fact No.1 sweet peas let off less C02 than almost any other edible veg…now you know. The whole site from the loo’s to the grand theater has seemingly been built using sustainable, eco conscious design and implementation. A lot of it was built through workshops run on site as a learning experience. Ollie rather loved the various green houses and has demanded that we grow ‘tommyartoes’ and ‘oberjeans’.
The Olephant was also quite blunt in telling us that the electricity generator was actually a train and he was the driver, any attempt to correct him was met with a firm ‘No Daddy, train!’. I deserved to be told in such a firm manner, it’s the only way I learn. He literally spent 10 minutes not quite managing to fully turn the wheel in that machine, all the while extolling us to watch him. He’s just added into his vocab ‘Look mummy/daddy look at me’. He shouts this now at every opportunity: whilst jumping; whilst running; whilst spinning; whilst sitting particularly still; once when on the potty…all of the important places and activities really.
As we aren’t heartless parents we also spent a good amount of time on the playground they had there as well. He wasn’t too sure about the climbing bits but rather loved the entrance section and ‘his’ little house with which he cemented his place as a playground tyrant by physically slamming it’s doors at the other children using the playground. It didn’t matter if the children were anywhere near him or the house, they got the door slammed at them so they’d realise it was his house and they weren’t welcome.
Anyway, we continued to wander for a good 3 hours. We then headed back with the full intention of a quick lunch followed by a trip to the pool, before exploring a local castle and finishing the day with another shell collecting extravaganza. Then we got back to camp and saw our tent…
The wind (45 mph gusts) and rain had bent it double, our lovely new porch was doing it’s best kite impression and a lot of our stuff was strewn across the grass/hedge. Our poles had snapped/shattered in the wind, not just 1 but at least 8 of them. We got inside the tent as soon as possible and began hastily gathering our stuff together. It was like a scene from a really camp 70’s disaster movie. The entire tent was bowing and warping like mad and I had to physically keep it up from the inside as Rosie scrabbled to clear it into the car. It was a fairly horrible scene to be honest. Whilst all this was going on Ollie was just a being a super star. He literally sat in the middle of all this eating some Wotsits happily watching Peppa Pig. Honestly he gave not a damm. I worry that given last year’s gales at Fishguard, this is just what he assumes camping is. He might not be wrong. Either way the tent ended up as can be seen in the picture below.
To say this left us in low spirits would be an understatement, genuinely we had been looking forward to this all year and with split polls, soaked clothes and everything all over the place it was ruined. We decided at this point, rather dejectedly, to head back home (4hrs in the car). Once again I need to point out that Ollie was perhaps having the day of his life as we’d given him a second pack of Wotsits, an apple juice and some biscuits whilst allowing him far more Peppa Pig watching than we ever normally would.
It was around this point Pose’s mum called us and through being amazingly kind and generous saved our holiday entirely. Thank you, it means an awful lot to us that you’ve helped us out and kept our holiday going. After Pose’s mum rang my Dad rang and offered to put us up for the night and dry all our stuff for us. Then the next morning Rosie’s Dad rang and offered help with Rosie’s car as well. The help was massively appreciated but more than anything knowing we have parents who will support us when things are a bit rubbish meant even more. Thank you all.
Anyway sentimentality aside we have now regrouped and replanned and are heading off for a long weekend around Southampton and Bournemouth before heading along to the Jurassic Coast for some fossil hunting. We’re using an Airbnb not camping. No reason really just fancied a change, honest. The summer holiday is not dead yet!