Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Bell Tents to Bees

One of the reasons we have a campsite is because we love meeting different people and sharing their stories and campfire tales and adventures. June and July have been no different. So, thanks to everyone who has visited us so far this year. Worth a special mention were a couple starting a 3 month cycle ride from Penzance to Scotland, we were their first overnight stop and we felt very honoured - caught me mid flow cleaning the compost loo, with the ponies still mowing the campsite paddock! - but I quickly came to my senses and ushered the ponies out, abandoned the cleaning temporarily and showed them round.  Safe cycling onwards!
And a big thank-you to our lovely camping family from Ireland who fed us inspirational ideas from their family-sized bell tent, about how to pretty up the chain link fence. Haven't worked out how to take a picture yet that does it justice, but the fence now has solar butterfly and star lights along it and four sets of clothes lines for drying towels and wet suits etc with "ditsy" pegs festooned along the washing-lines.
Our ethos for having a small campsite is that we have a small but "perfect piece of cornwall" that we are very happy to share with people who are looking for a place to camp and looking for somewhere simplistic, that holds onto the basic principles of camping and "getting away from the city" whilst providing some of the niceties, like a hot shower (ours has a leafy canopy) and a comfy changing-room with mirrors to sort your hair and beard and a loo you don't mind using. We like to think ashfarm has an ambiance about it that lends itself to a variety of campers, couples, families and singles alike, but bottom principle is it is a place where we as a family would also like to camp. We do not have a shop or pub or games room on site and there is no electricity, but our campfires can be vibrant and friendly and full of chatter and laughter and campers can make the evenings as long, or as short as they like. Even when the weather is hot and sunny and there is no need for a fire, the firepit with its tree-trunk benches can be a central space to share each others company.  There are reclaimed bricks too, for use either in the fire or as wineglass or beer bottle coasters. A contingency of australian driven camper vans recently shamed us, by not only cooking a delicious casserole over the campfire, using a cast iron pot and the bricks to enclose the fire, but then griddled pancakes on the skillet lid in the morning. Come back again!
Regular use of the firepit has caused us a bit of a hiccough, that being that we may run out of wood! So to ensure that there is a plentiful supply for the rest of the camping season we have had to chop and bag up wood at the cost of £3 per bag, rather than leaving logs in a pile as a freeforall. Kindlers and collectable sticks are free and most people cheat slightly by bringing a firelighter - very acceptable play - so campfires are available but with a sustainable supply of wood.

We have had a lot of 'firsts' this month. Thanks to our first "engagement party" campers, who shared their company with us and were very kind about our site and facilities. We loved having you and were pleased the campsite could join in your celebratations and make your get together special. (If you have any photos you want to share on our blog please email them to me.) Congratulations to the couple in question! Your pending booking and an earlier visitor book entry had spurred us on to hang a curtain in the changing-room to give the people a little more privacy whilst they changed, since the frosted glass wasn't fullproof. We think it looks perfect.
We also had our first Harley Davidson on the site and I am hoping to be able to add a picture of the said fabuloso machine in due course. What a lovely sound as it purred up the driveway!
Had our first tent camping all by itself too. A family stayed for 3 nights and then simply left their tent for a further 3 nights, all on its lonesome. We have now taken it down and put it in storage until the family remember they have left something behind! We are now on day 6, poor lonely tent!

We don't mind if your tent is on site alone, whilst you gamble off elsewhere for a night, so long as we know. Tents generally need moving after 4/7 days so the grass underneath does not spoil and we think it reasonable to levy a 'tentcare' cost, should you not be sleeping-over in it, equivalent to one adult tariff for each night it is here alone.
The fields behind the site are now tall with barley and look a picture. For those who are inquisitive and like strolling around hedgerows, there is a rough stile in one corner of the wooded glade that leads into the field beyond and if you follow the hedgeside down, you join a footpath, which takes you left and across fields, down a single-track lane and back up through the woods, returning you to the church and back across the fields to us. It's a lovely 40 minute evening's walk.
The barley may not yet be ready for harvesting but the farmers locally have been hard at work making hay and we have had our winter's supply for the horses delivered. I love the smell of new hay, "'handsome" they might say here! The farm cats also think it is handsome and have immediately claimed it as their own and made themselves comfortable in it.
We have been treated to another beastie making themselves at home with us too, although their sojourn with us lasted only a couple of days. Bees! Our Harley Davidson camper mentioned to us he had seen a huge swarm of bees buzzing over the campsite and low and behold the very next day the dogs came across a selection of bees starting to make a hive in one of the old water connection grates. The pup almost got her nose stung as she investigated where the buzzing was coming from and the collie managed to get a bee stuck in his fur coat which drove him to destraction until I could find it and flick it out. It did feel a bit of a "gift" having them choose our glade to make a hive, but I was also quite relieved they decided we weren't ideal for making honey and travelled on to find a new home.
For now, we have a couple of days with only one camping visitor, so he has kindly decanted his tent into the glade and we have opened the gate to the ponies, for them to mow the campsite paddock, before our next lot of guests arrive. Summer camping in the sunshine.....luvverly!

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