Tag Archives: camping

On the road

The unschooling diaries: weeks twenty-seven and twenty-eight

To celebrate Leigh’s graduation (and to maximise the time our family had together before we were hit with the schedule of a junior doctor) we headed off for ten days or so in our campervan.

We have always loved camping as a family, but recently succumbing to the dream of having a van has taken things to a whole other level. It makes it so much easier (and more comfortable) to hit the road – particularly with a little person.

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Arthur had an awesome time, and learnt so much. Travelling is always so inspiring, but there is something very grounding about being together in a small space surrounded by nature, and something strangely mindful about the repetition of all the little tasks that need to be done to keep our little camp ship-shape.

Most of the time of course we ventured out together to explore.

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We were generally retreading familiar ground, but even then (and particularly with Arthur leading the way) there was always wonder to be found: from breathing in spectacular views to examining the insects we came across along the way.

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We swam in the sea most days, despite the fact that there were rather too many jellyfish for my liking. There was one particular day when the sand was strewn with them, and we spent a fascinating couple of hours identifying different types and working out which ones would sting and which ones (the vast majority) were harmless. Still, neither Arthur or I were all that keen on sharing the sea with them, and we were glad to see that the shift of tides the next day had left the shallows at least much clearer.

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There were other animals to bond with too: we gravitated back to Arthur’s Field, a lovely campsite in Cornwall that we discovered last year, where Arthur spent his mornings collecting eggs, and fed the guinea pigs before bedtime.

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Arthur also loved the fact that there were lots of kids around. I do still worry sometimes that because he’s not at preschool (apart from a few hours in the forest) that he’ll find it hard to make friends when the opportunities arise, but watching him fearlessly approach other children to play as soon as we pitched up reminded me that I really don’t need to.

He especially loved hanging out with his cousins for a few hours when they came down to visit, and we spent an idyllic evening by a fire pit overlooking the sea listening to stories and poems and music. I might not have quite plucked up the courage to join in, but it was still lots of fun.

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And then there was of course the quality family time. The opportunity to touch base with Daddy, who has been crazy busy in pursuit of his medical degree and is about to get even busier.

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All three of us really benefited from that time to be honest: I guess the enforced proximity of the campervan could become claustrophobic, but actually it meant we had to focus on each other, on listening and understanding and cooperating.

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We’ve come back stronger as a family, and whilst Arthur is desperately missing his Daddy who is nervously donning his scrubs for the first time, he is also super happy to be home.

He has been doing some seriously good playing over the last couple of days with all the toys he’d almost forgotten about – and, as he always seems to whenever we go away, has levelled up yet again.

 

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“A portrait of my child, once a week, every week, in 2016.”

Such an perfect week away with this little man: almost every second spent outdoors, exploring and playing and learning and socialising.

And in between it all quiet moments like this where I savoured him looking so self-assured, so content.

Love summer, love our campervan, and cannot wait for our next adventure.

 

Linking up with Jodi at Practising Simplicity for The 52 Project. 

Word of the Week: Offline

Last weekend, my family held a party. Not just any little party: 400 people descended on my parents’ home in the South Hams, with about 200 of them camping. It was spectacularly fun, but as you can probably imagine it took just a little bit of organising. There were ten of us in the organising committee – my parents, me and Leigh, my three brothers and their partners. Emails have been flying between us for months to make sure everything was in place, but still as the weekend approached there was lots that had to be done on the ground.

We moved over there a few days before to help set up – in the house for a couple of days then migrating to our bell tent as other guests arrived. I had a few moments of rising panic as I realised I was never going to manage to keep up with the blog as well as everything else – internet access was sporadic, and there just wasn’t any spare time! And then I paused, took a breath, and reminded myself that this is my blog, and I’m writing on my terms. The world wouldn’t fall apart if I didn’t post for a while, and people wouldn’t hold it against me if I missed a few linkies.

So for a while I focused on just living life instead of documenting it (I only just managed to remember to take a few photos…) But now that things are getting back to normal I thought you might like to know what we’ve been up to!

We had a bit of a mission making sure the camping area was all set up and ready for people to arrive, and were glad for the sunshine as we traipsed up the hills and through the woodland, Arthur in the sling or running free.

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We set up our little camp down by the estuary, and Arthur got very excited about the new house we were building.

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He had so much fun playing in the open air – the weather was perfect, and a sense of magic began to pervade the air.

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We set up a kids activity tent (our priorities for camping parties are a little different than they used to be…) where everyone got throughly covered in glitter.

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By Saturday evening, we were well and truly ready to party. The tutus came out, the wings went on, and anticipation was building.

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Arthur seemed to love his costume, and was in his element with so many other people to play with!

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He was most excited when the music started though. In fact I think everyone was – my brother had managed to get the awesome Rubblebucket to come and party with us. Their set was amazing, and it was more than a little bit surreal watching the scene unfold in my parents’ courtyard.

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The festivities continued well into the night, and the next day we had Arthur’s naming ceremony, a delicious spread of Sri Lankan curry, and lots more chatting and playing and catching up.

Come Sunday evening, those of us who remained were exhausted but happy, and we had a lovely few hours chilling down by the tents.

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Arthur was truly in his element with so many people to talk to and play with, and it was truly lovely for us to have some quality time to hang out with friends we don’t get to see so often any more.

I think after six months of increasingly intense blogging with all its associated social media exploits I really needed a bit of a break where my only communication device was a walkie talkie. I have a feeling there might be a few more spells like that this summer too – after all, if real life wants to get in the way of the internet for a while I’d be churlish to stop it.

 

 The Reading Residence

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall