Wednesday, 4 February 2009


Well, what an adventure the last week or two has been. I seem to have recently lost a bit of momentum with regards to the blogging, partially because I have had no peace in which to scribe my whitterings but mainly because I have not been doing much camping.

I took a couple of days holiday at the start of this week and TLB and I decided to head down to Dorset for a long weekend and explore our new home. We arrived on Saturday morning, stocked up on cheese and bread from the local market and set about finding the beach, the garden etc. Sunday saw extreme weather warnings which we heeded and decided to cut short our trip to Dorset in case we got stranded. I had booked a day at a spa for TLB and I to celebrate her birthday which we very much wanted to get home for so we set off into the bright sunshine and clear skies, cursing the weather that had better come.

We went to stay with a friend, knowing full well that if it did snow, the farm would be cut off from vehicular access and we would be stranded. On Monday we woke up to a blanket of snow. We got a call from the Farmers who were sad to report that our tent had collapsed under the weight of the snow. There was no way to get to the tent, even the farmers, with quads and a tractor had not been able to get out so we went snowboarding for the day instead. Tuesday was the day on which we had to go to the spa, which we did. Today is the day when we are going to have to go and rescue the tent.

The farmers have done a little investigating and reckon that the canvas is not ripped and that it must be a bend in the central pole. The padlock that we fitted for security purposes has prevented them from investigating any further. My theory is that as the snow built up on one side of the tent, it caused the tent to lean which made the central pole slip on the cold ground and bought the lot down but until we can get there, there is really no way of knowing. All I am sure of is that all of my worldly possessions are currently in a large soggy pile in a field.

In many ways I am counting my blessings, we are neither stranded at the farm, nor were we in the tent at the time of collapse, which would have been truly horrible. We have a house available to us immediately which we can go to at any time we choose. We plan to move in this weekend so our homelessness is very brief and a very good friend has been putting us up for a couple of nights in the meantime.

It is absolutely typical that we have the coldest, snowiest winter for decades at the same time as I decide that camping out for Winter would be a brilliant idea. This may seem like a somewhat inglorious end to the camping odyssey and could mark the time we have spent in the tent as a failure. I do not believe this is the case for the following reasons:
  • We have now lived in the tent for 6 months in all but the most extreme weather, we have survived local flooding, temperatures below -10C and high winds, and have taken all in our stride.
  • My aim of saving money will be going from strength to strength as we now have a free roof over our heads and I will be working from home a lot more, saving further money on fuel and lunches and the like.
  • I have managed to pay off far more debts than I would have been able to living in the old house, and have not accrued any more.
  • We have both had a fantastic time, which we will one day tell our kids about, and hell, may even repeat when the summer comes if we fancy it.
I sometimes wonder if we are chickening out by making a dash for the Dorset house but I think I would have given considerable ammunition to my detractors and their claim that I am insane if I were to forsake a warm, dry, free house just to make a point. As I have often said, if the sole reason that you are doing something is the principle of the thing, it is probably not worth doing.

And for all those of you who need a top camp site, not too far from London but suitably out in the sticks, I can very strongly recommend Mellow Farm, near Dockenfield in Hampshire, James and Monica have been the best landlords we could have hoped for and we will miss them very much.

Tell them Ben and The Lovely Bella sent you.


doc_blues said...

I hope this isn't the last post, as it has been really good reading about your adventures under canvas (found you from Singletrackworld when you were just about to embark on this journey).

Its been a pleasure to read what you have been doing and I would like to wish you and TLB (and the dog) the best of luck in your new adventure.

Being a Dorset lad myself (now stuck in the big city), I have a feeling I know where you might be going - I know you will love it there - hopeully we will get to hear more of your adventures!

Anonymous said...


I've been following your blog avidly for some months now. Fascinating, inspiring & well-written.

As per another comment, I too hope it's not your last posting. But I can see that your main reason for doing the blog is kinda going out the window.

It would be great if you could continue to keep us updated occasionally with how you two are getting on in the new place.

And you never responded to my question a while back - has TLB got a sister? :-)

Take care both of you. Thanks for the time you've spent on writing this up & the very best for the next chapter in life's big adventure.

Torminalis said...

I am afraid that TLB's sisters are both married and babied so you will have to keep on hunting I am afraid.

I will endeavour to find new things to write about now that my raison d'etre is gone, I have a few ideas and should post again within the next few days.


Anonymous said...

Oi! Shouldnt you be writing up all that documentation instead of blogging!


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