By now you’ve probably guessed that my parents are very important to me and I love spending time with them (even though we drive each other totally bonkers on occasion!), but now and again I try to spend quality time with my extended family too, in particular my Aunty Jenny.
I have lots of fond memories of Jenny throughout my childhood and she has always been great fun to be around. I guess she has my Dad’s sense of humour but without any of the parental responsibilities so we always have a real giggle together be it at a concert, dinner, over coffee or in this case camping in a tin hut…
Through an old PR contact I was generously offered a freebie night at Wriggly Tin and knew Jenny would be the perfect country companion. Jenny loves the great outdoors and is a keen camper so was the ideal choice for this much needed digital detox, plus she brought along her wonderful little dog Pip whom I adore.
Wriggly Tin is a little collection of shepherd huts hidden away in a secret little clearing in the middle of a bluebell wood in the South Downs National Park and it’s truly beautiful. I’ve never really been one for camping (the last time I attempted it was in Australia and the tent collapsed on me in the middle of the night) but I needn’t have worried as Wriggly Tin is utter luxury.
We set to and collected wood for the fire with the help of Pip before the more important task of cracking open the fizz and having a soak in the hot tub to reward ourselves for getting the fire up and running – I told you it wasn’t regular camping!
We stayed in the hot tub until the sunset, watching the sky turn the meadow into a beautiful shade of violet and burnt gold before heating up a casserole I’d brought along (steak and guinness if you’re curious) and chatting our way through a bottle of wine. After dinner we sat beside the roaring fire toasting marshmallows the way we’d done at my grandparents house when I was little as we watched the stars come out. We finally retreated to our beds to read our books and fall into the deepest of sleeps that only a day in the country can bring.
Pip was up first and keen to check out the basket of local produce we had been left by Alex the sites owner to whip up a campfire breakfast as the sun rose and what a basket it was. Fresh free-range hens eggs, a pack of outdoor reared thick cut bacon, half a dozen sausages, proper butter, a farmhouse loaf and frosty apple juice along with not so local Heinz baked beans. Mmmm.
Jenny got the fire going and I knocked up our feast. Cooking on the campfire needs a little juggling and some careful timing, but it managed to all come together and the food had a delicious sort of flame licked flavour without being at all charcoaly.
We enjoyed a long lazy breakfast in the early autumnal sunshine reading the Sunday newspapers (also delivered by Alex) with no distractions from the rest of the world . We realised how without the interruptions and influences of the outside world, we don’t talk about work, ambitions, future plans. We don’t moan about the hard stuff or show off about the good stuff. We just are and for once without the internet or mobile phones we don’t feel guilty at all for doing nothing but living in the moment.
After a leisurely morning and in need to walk off our breakfast feast, we went for a good six mile stomp with Pip all through the beautiful countryside of Hambledon until his little legs (and our not so little legs) gave up. After returning from our hike, we reluctantly packed up our gear and piled back into the car and trundled back to London.
I can’t tell you how much I thoroughly loved our trip and digital detox. I’m still walking around in a bit of a happy glow and feeling much, much more zen than usual!