Camping @ The Pink Flamingo


Name that Tune: “Don’t you know sometimes these things don’t work out, best to walk away before the love runs out” – Lovesick, Friendly Fires

Movie Quote of the Day: “To make something special you just have to believe it is special” – Kung Fu Panda

Spent the weekend camping at Spen House in Minskip,Boroughbridge with the childerbeast in a man-free pink flamingo tent zone. It was like the old backpacking days as we set off with everything crammed into a 65litre rucksack. Rollmats bungy corded onto the front, tent bungy corded to the side and camping mugs dangling hither and thither. I don’t recall towing a child’s Tinkerbell trolleycase along behind me as we made our way around the Antipodes but the rucksack was so full with 3 sleeping bags, BBQ coals, mess tins, inflatable pillows etc that there was scant room for spare clothes so I had to utilise one of the spare pair of arms I had with me in the shape of R and get her to bring along her Tink case with spare leggings/duds/socks etc and the usual “essential” paraphernalia of blankets, books, facepaints, drawing paper & pencils etc.

Bman, who was on his way South to spend the weekend with friends in Kent, dropped us off at Leeds Station and we were on the train to Knaresborough by 0930. A very picturesque rail journey although I could have done without the unfeasibly long tunnel in the middle which started to freak me out a little as it seemed like it would never end! From Knaresborough the buses to Minskip only run every 2 hours and we had just missed one so we found a lovely teashop (Prudames) and sat outside in the glorious sunshine and took our time over scones & jam, a large cappuccino and 2 blackcurrant cordials until we couldn’t reasonably get away with it any longer without making a further purchase. We then lurked around at the bus station (3 bus stops to be precise so hardly a Bus Station at all really) until the 57 Harrogate to Boroughbridge bus finally came. By 1245 we were checked into site, catching up with the owners, with whom we have stayed every year since they opened 3 years ago. By 1430 we were fully encamped and on our way to Morridogs for supplies, which is about 20 minutes walk away. Not very Bear Grylls of us I know but despite the site being overrun with tame chickens and rabbits I thought that Macca cheese from a tin would go down better for tea than roasted chook or bunny stew, especially with me, who hasn’t eaten meat since 1999!

Weighed down with Koperberg Pear cider and enough fruit juice to refloat the Titanic along with some actual foodstuffs aswell we returned to camp and while I sat in the tent doorway reading and listening to the radio the childerbeast set to with the important business of making new friends.

If only it was as easy for us as it is for them. Within 15 minutes I was hearing all about Lucy and Megan and Luke and Amy or whoever and where they lived, what colour their tent was and how long they were staying. Friendships so easily forged yet so fickle in that they are just as easily forgotten.

I had forgotten what a difference an airbed makes to the whole camping experience, not having slept on a rollmat in a tent since 1998 when I was 11 years younger and carrying 2 stone less timber to hammer the old bones into the ground. Stiff is an understatement the next morning! We cheated big time on the Ray Mears ethos of being self sufficient outdoorsmen and trooped off to Morridogs for our Sunday lunch with that age old camping staple of Beans out of a mess tin for our tea then marshmallows toasted on a stick over my new Grillibowl. Very impressed with myself I was aswell for getting a fire going, which anyone with knowledge of my long held fear of fire will appreciate is quite a big deal for me. I put it out myself too and did not lie awake for hours pondering whether or not it had been fully extinguished and wasn’t going to suddenly ignite the tent in a ball of flame from a rogue spark blowing on the night air. Common sense prevailed.

I noted with interest that more people volunteered to speak to me and make conversation than usual. Perhaps it was my newly dyed red hair that made me seem more approachable or maybe it was the single parent factor, where society assumes you are on your own simply because you appear to be so. Regardless…. It was a good feeling.

At Monday lunchtime Bman arrived to collect us and despite having seen my new ‘do’ before we left, he almost didn’t recognize me. He blamed the fact that I had already packed up and he was looking for a pink tent but I don’t know what his excuse was when we stopped for lunch in Helmsley and he blanked me again as I sat eating a pasty in the village square, saying “can you see Mummy anywhere” to A and her replying; “she’s right there infront of you Daddy” in a tone that implied that he was some kind of retard.

We spent Monday night at Ma B’s in Boro in order to collect a new edition to the clan the following morning from my friend who was up from London, bringing with her a 12 week old kitten which we had offered to give a home to.

Pepper, as she has been named, (Chilli-Pepper, but Pepper for short) has well and truly staked her claim on the house, already amputating the legs off two of my Nightmare Before Christmas ornaments when she knocked them down the stairs. Gollum is tolerating her with stoic dignity while the little upstart hisses like a snake at her everytime they come within 3 feet of each other. Gollum needs to give her a bat across the backside to show her who is boss but she is so far resisting the urge: no doubt because I have impressed upon her the importance of being kind to the newcomer who is just a baby. I expect she will wait until Saturday night when I am on my Ghosthunting vigil at Bolling Hall and Bman is at work and the kids are at The Moss before she makes her first tactical fighting move. I will come home to find Pepper nowhere to be seen and Gollum licking her lips and looking bloated from a grand feed!

When Pepper met Gollumyou can almost hear the theme tune to ‘High Noon’

Chilli-Pepper – 12wks


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