22 August 2013 (Thursday) - Off to Camp



Martin arrived, and we set off to shopping. First of all to the fishing shop. I was amazed to see perfectly good polaroid sunglasses for sale for fifteen quid. If I want prescription sunglasses the polaroid bit costs sixty quid alone. And I can get the whole (non-prescription) lot for fifteen quid. I'd like to think this isn't blatant profiteering from the optician...

After a brief stop at Tesco we made our way to a certain farm in Smarden where clans gathered and we set up camp. We arrived in rain, and started setting up camp in the rain, but the rain soon petered off. And having set it up we repaired it. The mess tent has some life left in it, but I think it' s fair to say that the gazebo is now fit for the bin.


A few beers were sunk, and after a flying visit from Foo-Foo (the bunny rabbit) er indoors TM" arrived just as it was getting dark and announced that we (I) had forgotten all the cooking pans. Woops. So after an impromptu drive home we finally had tea at about 10pm. I staggered off to bed somewhat the worse for wear as others went lamping. Lamping apparently is an obscure country tradition by which you wave lights around in fields in a fruitless attempt to catch wildlife which is nowhere near as daft as you might imagine it actually is.


23 August 2013 (Friday) - Duck Houses


With no one else emerging from their pits I wandered up to one of the ponds for a spot of fishing. The fishing started slow, but soon picked up. After an hour the Rear Admiral and "Daddies Little Angel TM" arrived with coffee for me, and we fished for another hour with varying degrees of success until the summons came for brekkie.

There was a bit of a problem with brekkie - it was all still in the freezer. So we made do with omelettes. Very good omelettes.

As I was washing up so the sun was coming out. It looked like being a bright day. Some of our party set off on a shopping trip. Others of us set off to the pub via Dering Wood where it was rumoured that there was a solitary geocache. There was, and from there we carried on to the pub. But not the pub we had originally planned. The Dering Arms was several miles away; the Mundy Bois was just down the road from where we were. So once we had got some phone signal we told the shoppers about the change of plan and they met us for a second pint before walking back to camp with us.

Once back at camp we felt we ought to earn our keep. The duck houses needed their annual maintenance so our job for today was to get the duck houses out of the water and to leave them by the pond side to drain. Regular readers of this drivel will know that I have had dealings with duck houses before. So knowing what to expect I went along wearing my swimmies, and (as I had expected) immediately slipped in the mud and was waist deep in a pond.

"Furry Face TM" excelled himself with duck houses, having swum across a pond to one and having found a three month old addled egg inside promptly broke it open and rolled in the gunge. I'd not taken my dog camping before. This is one of many reasons that taking Patagonian Tripe-Hounds camping is not a good idea. And having created one of the worst smells in the known universe, he went on to exceed the expectations of even his staunchest critics by disappearing into the last duck house and coming out a few moments later in hot pursuit of a duck which was stupid enough to still be in that house.

Some of the swimmers of our party went back to the farm house for a shower. Me and my dog got hosed down in the farm yard. And after a rather good bit of tea we sat round the camp fire drinking to excess. So much so that I fell asleep and missed out on the port...


24 August 2013 (Saturday) - Emergency Plan "B"


We had all seen the weather forecasts. We knew today was not going to be a good day weather-wise. I woke to the sound of rain on the tent in the middle of the night, and lay awake listening to the rain for much of the rest of the night. It was too wet to go fishing, so I didn't bother. I had a bit of a lie-in, as did everyone else. It was gone ten o'clock before brekkie was done.

We got washed up, and shopping missions were dispatched. With a restless dog and the rain slackening off to a medium monsoon I thought I'd take "Furry Face TM" for a walk. I needed to get a cache for the day anyway. I got the cache just as the rain started. By the time I was back at camp I was rather damp. As was "Furry Face TM".

Lunch was announced, and with little else to do we declared Emergency Plan "B". As emergency plans go, "B" is my favourite, involving (as it does) copious amounts of beer.






Steve and Sarah arrived to visit for the afternoon and evening. It was really good to see them, it was just a shame that the weather was against us. We spent much of the day tipping rain water from where it was pooling in the tent. Mind you, we did have sweeties and cake. And beer.


The evening meal was good. We'd not had stew with dumplings at camp before. I think we should have it again. But next time we should stir the stew. The washing up took some serious elbow grease this evening. And having worn myself out doing the washing up we had a beer or three more and just the tiniest soupçon of port. Hic...



25 August 2013 (Sunday) - Custard !!!



The rain continued for much of the night, but having slackened off just as it got light I thought I'd have a spot of morning fishing. Having had a day of torrential rain the pond side was a quagmire and the fishing tackle was awash. But despite all odds I was soon bashing tiddlers like a thing possessed.


After a little bit of brekkie (camp brekkie is always excellent) shopping missions were dispatched as were caching missions. And after discovering that "Furry Face TM" is partial to Benenden sauce we made the most of the good weather by continuing our work with the duck houses. We got the duck houses onto a trailer, took them down to the yard and gave them a good hosing down. There is something very satisfying about hosing duck dung with a power washer.

And with duck houses glistening like new we had another beer, and enjoyed the afternoon. Some took pot shots at targets with air rifles, some went off to the nearby hippie-fest. Me - I alternated between beer and dozing in my chair in the sunshine before going fishing. Fishing was fun. We didn't catch much but we got to laugh at the Rear Admiral's phone which hadn't really enjoyed having been charged and was having a sulk. A sulking phone is a sight to behold. As is someone attempting to do anything with such a phone. I suspect there is an app for sulking phones. However I defy anyone to download it; especially with the Rear Admiral's phone when it is having a cob.



Chip visited. as a stalwart of previous Bat-Camps it was a shame he couldn't have been along for the entire weekend. And as we waved goodbye it was tea time.

Tonight's tea was something new - pork steaks. Very good. Very tasty. And as the beer got to the point of being far too much we had cake and custard. As it was said at the time, what's the point of being sensible if you have custard. We sat around the camp fire drank port, and dozed off.

Good times...





26 August 2013 (Monday) - Back Ache




"Furry Face TM" was upset by something in the night and had a woofing fit at silly o'clock. I then lay awake until seven am when I got up, used the Turdis, and went for a spell of early morning fishing. We came back to camp around nine am to find little movement, and then started a leisurely packing up.

At kite festivals we are packed up and gone by mid day; often well on our way home by mid day. At Bat-Camp we are always some two hours later in packing up than we are at kite festivals. Packing up is easier; we don't have to consider how to load our cars; we just chuck all the gear into a barn for the winter, but still we take ages.


Whilst putting my tent away I felt the muscle in my back go. It does that from time to time. In retrospect I should have sat back and let everyone else do the heavy lifting from that point, but I didn't. I carried on with the packing and loading. I shouldn't have done that.

We left the farm just after one pm, which although later than I would have hoped, was about what I was expecting…






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