Camping – sunny and soggy!

New Forest parish camping – always a great highlight of September – was again amongst the pine trees at Avon Tyrrell. Lots of young families came, as well as older ones with teenagers.

Saturday started with some breakfast sharing and a nice, relaxed get-up. A couple of the lads made plans for a late-night expedition to find ‘merpups’ (imaginary animals). So good was the weather that more than 40 people took a dip in the swimming pool.

After lunch, everyone with longer legs set off across the moorland towards Burley. After a sunny hour or so of ice cream and beer there, the hardiest walked back while others took lifts in cars. A feast of a ‘bring and share’ supper was laid out by 6.30 pm and enjoyed by all. As darkness fell, the merpups expedition set out with torches and much bravery, and came back – all alive – with a successful sighting.

Then everyone gathered around the campfire, and Will Ridpath played his guitar and led a great round of ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’, with each person choosing their own animal noise. This was followed by some crazy storytelling, veering wildly from Keith Anderson’s crocodile to Stefan Trebacz’s veganism, as the story progressed around the circle.

And then on Sunday morning, with the rain pouring down and everything dripping wet, there was nothing for it but to cancel the planned Holy Communion service and return home to dry out.