26 August 2011 (Friday)



And so back to BatCamp. Through the rain. I’d spent the morning being jealous of those at camp whilst I worked. And as the rain came down torrentially I began to wonder if I’d had the better deal. I got to the farm just as the rain eased off, and made my way to the camp where I was just in time for lunch. To be honest, no matter when I arrived I would have been just in time for lunch – I’d been to the supermarket for the bread. A bottle of Shepherd Neame’s 4-4-2 washed down a bacon, tomato and halloumi baguette nicely, and I slept as the Rear Admiral washed up.

Having been woken by passing dogs, we went for an afternoon’s fishing. Despite the rain. The rain was rather heavy, but eased off as the afternoon went on. I caught a few fish, “Daddy’s Little Angel TM caught loads. The Bat (patent pending) nearly caught a rabbit (with a fishing rod), and the Hose Beast attempted to train ducks to herd fish.


27 August 2011 (Saturday)


Having gone home for more forgotten things I then went to the fishing shop for maggots. And then I collected Martin and set off to BatCamp – this time for keeps. We arrived shortly after mid day, and after a spot of lunch we went fishing again. (Some things never change). We bashed a few tiddlers. Or that is everyone else bashed tiddlers – I didn’t catch quite as many as I might have hoped for. And then we wandered back to camp to find more visitors.

For no adequately explored reason my chair was upside down in the sunshine, looking rather damp. Such is life…


Some of us then set off to Dering Farm where we attempted to capture one of the ghost carp – the plan is to find out exactly how long and how heavy they now are. But despite our best efforts we were unable to entice them. In retrospect it was probably a combination of their not liking bread (which they were supposed to) and their not being entirely greedy things (which they were supposed to be). Next time our plans will allow for this.


And so back to camp for a rather nice bit of Chinese for tea. Sweet and sour chicken, black bean chicken, spring rolls, rice and noodles. Very nice. And having slept through the washing up I then had a crafty beer or two. Despite having dug a fire pit, we abandoned our plans for a camp fire as the firewood had been soaked by intermittent torrential rain throughout the day. So we sat in our mess tent and exchanged insults. And after a while we swapped beer for port and stilton. There was a dubious five minutes with the port. In England we pass the port to the left. Our continental brethren pass it to the right. And so the bottle bounced between “Pish Faysh” and “Alkalott” perhaps somewhat more than it should have.


The second bottle of port – a blond port - wasn’t quite as good as the first. It lacked a certain something. As did “Pish Faysh” by this time. During a break in the clouds we popped outside and admired the beautiful night sky.

Having boastfully announced that he was in possession of the requisite arrapatus (sic) (!) “Pish Faysh” correctly identified various item of astronomical interest including “Dimdromodu” and the “Pair of Squegasus”.


To bed at 1am – which was probably for the best.



28 August 2011 (Sunday)



Following a late night, I slept later than I planned. When at BatCamp I like to go fishing very early. Before 6am early. I woke up at 8am, but got up to find everyone still asleep. So I performed by morning ablutions and set off to fish on my own. Fishing was better for me this morning – I caught more in the first half hour than I’d caught all day yesterday. And by the time the rest of the angling contingent arrived, I’d doubled yesterday’s score.

I then had something of a revelation with my bite indicator. I always thought that when ledger fishing I was supposed to wait until the bite indicator started screaming before I knew I had a fish. But on watching where my ledger line went into the water I could see that the line was being gently tugged about by fish. Not being tugged firmly enough to set off the bite indicator, but definitely being tugged. So I struck and caught my biggest fish of the year (so far).


We fished for an hour or so, and then made our way back to camp for brekky. A very good brekky. And then Sarah and Steve joined us.

On Friday I’d borrowed the solar scope from the astro club, and so I set it up.

We then put the scope away and had a quick round of poker whist waiting for the rain to pass, and then after a bite of lunch, those of a piscatorial bent took our visitors angling.





Before long we were joined by another visitor. It would have been good to have had a proper “BatCamp Open Day” – there are so many people that we would like to have invited along. But it’s easy to overlook the fact that we were camping on a working farm – and as such it can be a dangerous place. And so the decision has been taken (years ago) that (other than babies and toddlers) BatCamp is not for under 18s. A tad harsh? Maybe. But I for one can see the sense in it – in the past my own kiddies were sent to grandparents over BatCamp weekends.


As the Rear Admiral gave the novice fish-hunters the benefit of his sage wisdom (!), I carried on with ledger fishing, and caught half a dozen respectably-sized tiddlers, and one leviathan that got away. (Have you ever noticed how it’s never a small fish that gets away?)

We had a wonderful afternoon – but there’s no denying that we were grateful for my fishing umbrella. On three or four occasions we were all huddled under it; waiting for the monsoon to pass.







Back to camp for tea. When we go camping, the food is always good, and our cooks excelled themselves tonight with pork chops, potatoes and vegetables. We’ve never had a Sunday roast at camp before.


And then it was time for “Ug!! Make Fire!!” I washed up whilst the fire was got going, and as night fell we sat around the camp fire, giggling over the Fart App for the iPhone. We were vaguely speculating on the possibility of nipping back to Ashford to get a telescope, but as the mist rolled in we decided against that idea. And having waved goodbye to our guests who sadly had to go home, we set about some port. Very tasty….



29 August 2011 (Monday)


The Rear Admiral woke me at 6.45am this morning for a spot of fishing before brekkie. He and “Daddy’s Little Angel TM continued their usual tiddler bashing, but I decided to carry on with ledger fishing. Having found some left over sausages and pork pie at camp, I used them as bait with amazing results. I caught eight fish on the ledger: none were huge, but I was pleased.


Back to camp for a leisurely brekkie and breaking of camp. After the horrible weather we’d had this weekend I was grateful to pack up in bright sunshine. At BatCamp we always take our time to pack up. At a kite festival we are usually all packed up and away by 11.30am. Today we were still fiddling about at 1pm. But eventually we were done, and with the camping gear all safely into storage we made our way home.


On arrival at home after camping there is always another hour or so’s putting away and tidying up. I had a dodgy five minutes when my back went into spasms as I put my camping bag back on top of the wardrobe. But I soldiered on, and took the top box off of my car and put the seats back into it. I no longer have a pick-up, but a proper car again. All that remains is to get the bird poo hosed off of it.

And so the camping season is officially over. All that remains is to return Calor Gas bottles and camp kitchens to their rightful owners, and camping will be over until next June.




You can see an album of photos from this camp by clicking here

There is another one here