A Wonderland of Old School / Steampunk Camping and Outdoor Life.
19th - 22nd April 2019
Rough Close Campsite nr. Coventry
The 2019 season began with a four day camp at our favourite venue in the Midlands.
In the end it turned out to be quite a small meet, between 5 - 7 people camped at different times and a few visitors coming along to see what it was all about.
This gave Stella and Josie a nice relaxed introduction for their first pitching of a tent they had recently aquired.
Some might think that they needed a traditional canvas bell or ridge tent to get involved but this retro canvas frame tent fitted into the camp nicely and offers lots of possibilities for customisation. As I have said many times before, creativity is the key.
Debs and I had our usual bell tent although we experimented with a different layout inside which seemed to work well. It should make it much easier to set up a mosquito net for the high summer months if needed.
For obvious reasons, the fire rig and the associated “Utilitent”, formed the heart of the camp once again.
A place to gather, swap stories, share skills and prepare food.
After so many years living and working around living history sites of various periods, we are fortunate enough to have lots of equipment that allows us to provide this infrastructure so that others do not have to.
All we ask is that people bring a pot or pan suitable for cooking over a fire and they leave any equipment they use in the condition they find it so that someone else can use it.
The optional “Wonderland” theme lent itself perfectly to having a “Tea Party” on Saturday evening, not that we need any encouragement to indulge in good food of course, but it was a good excuse to break out the sandwiches and cup cakes.
It was also a nice opportunity to use our new tea set made for us by Peter Swailes after I saw a lovely teapot he had made for someone else.
Inspired by the history of my family. LMS 2424 was the banking locomotive driven by my grandfather, Fred Waidson on Shap Bank working out of the 11E Engine shed at Tebay.
Working from a few photographs of the loco Peter designed made a glazed this wonderful tribute to an engine and of course a man, now long gone.
Only slightly less useful but perfectly in keeping with the theme were the Chocolate Teapot and Steampunk Easter Egg brought by Stella and Josie.
Sunday found us engaging in a little bird watching. There is something remarkably hypnotic about watching a chicken slowly roast by the fire, rotated gently by a clockwork bottle jack.
Steve’s practical but comfortable set up continues to grow and evolve. Traditional / retro camping equipment with a few clever and quirky twists here and there.
Stella and Josie’s frame tent afforded plenty of spare space for display and this neat shelving unit, that folds flat for packing, was perfect for the job.
As the day wears on, libations are prepared, the lamps are lighted and people set out their places by the fire for the evening
Old friends come together and new friendships are so often formed in the cheery warmth of that fire glow.
As the gloaming settles, in many ways, I think the evening is the most magical time when out camping. It is when the true camaraderie of the camp fire is felt at it’s best.
We could not have hoped for better weather once more. Although the nights were chilly, the days rose to almost high summer temperatures and not a drop of rain on the canvas, which is always welcome bonus.
Although we took a chance organising a camp so early in the year, it seems that fortune sometimes favours the bold.
We must be doing something right because once again the seemed to be no complaints.