Normally I only manage one newsletter in a year but I am so excited about recent developments here that I want to tell you!
Birds … until five minutes ago my big bird news was Big Bird, but a beautiful kestrel has just perched on the railings right in front of my office window and we spent a couple of glorious minutes just staring at each other – wow! I’ve seen him around quite a bit lately, but never this close.
We are very lucky to have the company of our toddler great grand-daughter for a couple of hours most days, and she loves to go with Larry for a trip to the woods in the buggy. A magnificent buzzard has claimed his territory in the wood, and he is often there when Larry and Winnie visit. He drops from tree to tree – showing off to Winnie I like to think – impressing with his enormous 4 foot wingspan. He’s a real live Big Bird! We had rather too many pigeons in the wood this Summer, but going by the piles of feathers we are regularly seeing on the ground now, I think Big Bird is sorting the problem! Nature is working as it should, but given that pigeons breed all year round I’m sure the numbers will balance out.
Did you see the photo of the new roof top panels on our Facebook page? Darren from Vomax has recently installed solar thermal heating in the boiler house at the campsite, which he promises will be an enormous help towards heating the hot water for the showers and taps next year. We are so impressed with the set up – shiny new tank and so many dials, gauges and pipes, even without any sunshine or hot water it’s fabulous! I shall be tempted to do guided tours of the boiler house next season just to show it off! So, that means we don’t need to increase the pitch price next year as I feared, as our electricity bill should be much more sensible. Cherry Tree and Kingfisher will be just £5 per night more, and Hawthorn will remain the same. Goodness knows everything has become so much more expensive lately, we really don’t want to make life any more difficult for our guests and visitors.
In the last newsletter I mentioned that the pine trees had really suffered this year, several gave up the struggle to survive and others were obviously stressed. Many of them have had to come down and although we were dreading losing them we really rather like the new look with more space. The main wood is fine still, but there is now plenty of space for a couple of pitches where the pine trees were, and I have a feeling it will become a popular spot. It’s obviously a bit muddy at the moment but by the time we open again next year the grass will have grown and I think you’ll like it. Not quite sure where the new spot for the charcoal burner will be yet, Larry is on the lookout for another site for it.
We have plenty of plans to keep us occupied this Winter – painting the washrooms being one of them. It’s not easy to get going on that when it’s so cold, but we’ll take a heater and a radio down with us – warmth and music make it a different job don’t they? Then we have Jonno booked in for a bit of Kingfisher work – new lights and a bedroom makeover. Thankfully the pond is now back to normal, from being the lowest I have ever seen it I suspect it might soon overflow if it keeps raining like this!
So it just remains for me to send you best wishes for Christmas and the New Year. We are so looking forward to the next season, to meeting our friends again and to welcoming new visitors. We open again on Friday 28th April – we’re almost at the longest day and it’s downhill from then on (in a good way!) Do come and see us in 2023, the Winter’s rather boring here without you! 😊
What lovely people we have met this year, and what a fabulous summer! Once I had resigned myself to the fact that it just isn’t going to rain in the near future, and that will mean consequences, I decided to enjoy the sunshine and make the most of it. I’ve loved the little things the summer weather brings – just knowing that I can leave the garden chair cushions out overnight or arrange a picnic for next week safe in the knowledge that it will be dry and warm – like the summers we remember from our childhood. Summers probably weren’t warm and sunny for weeks on end but we do tend to remember them that way don’t we?
The consequences for us on the campsite are mainly the trees. It already looks like autumn on the floor of the main wood with many of the trees dropping their leaves early, and it is distressing to see that a number of the pine trees just aren’t going to make it and will have to come down this winter. Then there’s the pond – in forty years I have never seen it so low. We haven’t discovered any shopping trollies but we were able to recover a wooden table that was blown into the water from the sit out a few years ago! It came into view a couple of weeks ago and is now drying out. Apart from being a bit muddy it is still in good condition and will soon resume its place on the sit out! The ducks deserted us this year but the faithful moorhens continued to entertain us with their gorgeous chicks – like fluffy black golf balls with very long legs!
A number of our campers and visitors bring their dogs with them. One-dog families have now often become two-dog families so we have had to relax the ‘only four dogs on site’ rule. People do sometimes forget to tell us that they will be bringing their furry friends and we end up with more dogs than we were expecting. So this is a plea to any of you who are reading this and intending to bring your dog(s) to camp with us. Please do not bring them if they tend to bark at unfamiliar situations or at people walking past – even tiny dogs can have a very loud yap! You may well be used to them barking, or even find it endearing – however other campers don’t, so please leave them at home. We are now allowing two (no bigger than medium sized) dogs per pitch but it is important that you ask me when you book if it is OK for them to accompany you as we will have to restrict numbers. Quiet, well behaved dogs will always be welcome, just not their noisy cousins! We really do not like having to make rules so please help us by policing your own dog’s behaviour.
We have had a lovely couple of days this week watching two pigeons on the campsite. They were first seen greedily devouring the berries of an elderberry tree, then pecking away at the fermenting fallen plums from a nearby tree. There is no mistaking a drunken pigeon! They wobble around, flap about, fall over and end up lying on their side on the ground! They must suffer from almighty hangovers…
Prices! Unfortunately we cannot ignore the subject, everyone is affected and that of course includes us and the campsite. One of our main on-site expenses is electricity – mainly for hot water. It has always been our policy to provide unlimited hot water for showers and wash-up 24 hours a day. As I’m sure you can imagine that has never been cheap, but in the future the cost threatens to be extortionate. We are absolutely against money-in-the-slot-showers, so what to do? A solar thermal panel (if we can get anyone to fit one, no luck so far!) would supplement the cost to a certain extent, but apart from that we can only ask for people to be sparing with the hot water they use. I do know of campsite owners who are seriously considering closing because they will not be able to absorb the high electricity costs, which is a great shame but it is a fact of life we are all going to have to come to terms with. Cabin prices will rise a little but we really will do everything we can to avoid increasing pitch prices for next year, however it’s not something we can guarantee.
Enough of that! Are you a summer person or a winter person? Or perhaps something in between – spring or autumn? Just as we are supposedly larks or owls, I’m told we are summer or winter people. I have concluded this year that I find life so much easier in the summer – I hope you have enjoyed it too 🙂