Family camping near Glastonbury, Wells and Shepton Mallet, Somerset, UK

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  • Christmas Wishes

    Christmas wishes



    I’m writing this a week or so before Christmas on a stunningly crisp and beautiful winter morning. At this time of year everything is frantic, as we eagerly try to cram-in parties, concerts, nativity plays and panic shopping in readiness for the big day. So a brief stroll around the camp site this morning was a refreshing reminder of what’s really important.

    You might think that a camp site out of season would be a rather forlorn place. Sure enough there are the faint echoes of excited children when I walk past the Wendy houses and swings, but overall there is a stillness and calm around the place, as though this is how it’s meant to be. The rabbits, squirrels and birds simply take over at this time of year. Flocks of starlings sit most days on the field, watched by the nosy robin that “owns” Pitch 4. It’s only a couple of weeks since the last of the leaves were torn down by autumn gales, but already there are sticky buds on the Horse Chestnut trees, so children will have a plentiful supply of conkers next year too.

    In the true spirit of Christmas we had two sets of unexpected visitors last week. The first was a Sparrow Hawk, who sat right beside our back window for a good 10 minutes, unnoticed by the smaller birds in the bushes nearby. We knelt motionless and spellbound, privileged to get within inches of such a majestic wild creature. Less welcome was a pack of 30 hunting hounds that charged through our garden the next day, accompanied by the shrill sound of horns, loud shouts and horse hooves. I’m pretty certain nobody had laid a scent trail right through our garden, so make up your own mind about what they were really doing. This is, after all, the countryside and I’m definitely not a killjoy, but it’s about as far away as it gets from being “natural” in my book.

    Much more pleasant was our Greenacres Christmas “Do”. Mary and I decided that two was plenty for a festive celebration, and where better to enjoy it than at River Cottage? We were entertained, educated and given a winter warming feast by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team. Thankfully roast badger wasn’t on the menu, but lavish and local wild venison was. A great night, good company, washed down by Sheppys cider and Hugh’s Stinger beer, then back to a gorgeous 4-poster at the brilliant All Hallows B&B just down the road. Camping? For one night only you can keep it!

    A traditional family Christmas is planned, with Carol Services, mulled wine and an organic bronze turkey from our friends at Brown Cow Organics. I can’t wait.

    To everyone who stayed with us at Greenacres Mary and I wish you the happiest Christmas and New Year and we look forward to welcoming you back in 2010.

    Best wishes,


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