By: Blonde Two
At the beginning of January (the month of my 50th birthday), I set myself the Get Outside challenge of sleeping outdoors (or very nearly outdoors) for 50 nights in 2018. It is the end of June and, what with late sunsets and large moons, I haven’t seen the dark on any of this month’s five outdoor sleeps. Except, of course, the upside down sleep in New Zealand, it was autumn there and dark at about five thirty. Sleeping outdoors can be more difficult during the lighter months, I have an eye mask (a top tip if you are visiting the midnight sun) but only use it when I am really tired. The late summer evenings are a thing to celebrate and I have lost count of the number of nights this month I have gone to sleep watching sunsets fade into twilight (we keep the curtains open at home). It’s halfway through the year already and, despite feeling that a bed is something I used to own, I am not quite halfway through my sleeps… what does that tell you about how my autumn is shaping up?
50 Sleeps for June 2018
Outdoor Sleep 19
Type: Hammock (from palm trees)
Location: Norm’s garden with a view of the pool
Date: 1st June
Reason: We had brought the hammocks all the way to New Zealand and, although we had used them for afternoon beach relaxing, we only had three days left to have a hang down under.
Supper: Something delicious… cooked in a kitchen… eaten at a dining table.
Breakfast: Bacon and eggs… very British!
Comment: I hadn’t realised before this hammock session that palm trees had quite so much bend to them. I eventually got used to the slight shifting each time I moved but it was a tad disconcerting to start with. Mr B2 had a less fun time than me due to his lack of insect net but I was so comfortable in my hammock that, when I eyed my bed in the middle of the night during a bathroom trip, I wasn’t the slightest bit tempted to get into it. When Mr B2 came over to wake me up in the morning at around 8:00 (we had gone to bed at 7:30 the night before), he couldn’t so instead set me gently swinging. One of my best outdoor sleeps so far.
Outdoor Sleep 20
Type: Tent (big tent)
Location: Hole Station Adults Only campsite (an unexpected delight in the woods)
Date: 9th June 2018
Reason: B1 and I were invited to try Hole Station Campsite near Beaworthy as part of our ambassador role for Nearly Wild Camping.
Supper: Rice, korma sauce, prawns and cashew nuts (all mixed up and delicious)
Breakfast: Delicious bacon and mushroom (home baked) rolls from the Hole Station outdoor cafe
Comment: B1 and I were both tired by the time we reached Hole Station. After busy weeks (I still had jet lag) we had run a successful navigation workshop that day. It took approximately 5 minutes of Hole Station’s woodland peace and quiet (actual peace and quiet, not the pretend stuff from brochures) for us to relax and we had a wonderful evening chatting by our fire and, later, on our air beds (such luxury)!
Outdoor Sleep 21
Type: Tent (big tent)
Location: Daccombe (with lots of young DofE camp mates)
Date: June 17th
Reason: A Bronze DofE expedition (currently!) includes 1 night of camping. I was there to help B1 supervise her youngsters and generally lend a hand.
Supper: I couldn’t possibly comment, but I didn’t cook!
Breakfast: Homemade banana and peanut butter muffins (you can eat too many of those in one weekend!)
Comment: It was my first time in B1’s new family tent (I may well end up spending more time in it than her family) and I had a lot of fun exploring it. A good sleep was had ‘on the diagonal’ across my rather spacious ‘bedroom’ because of the side and front/back slope. Up fairly early in the morning to oversee teams setting off but plenty of time to pack up afterwards.
Outdoor Sleep 22
Type: Campervan (solo)
Location: Daccombe (again but without the youngsters)
Date: 26th June 2018
Reason: Part of an experiment into the possibilities of working ‘on the road’ for at least part of the year.
Supper: Pasta, chicken, onion, peppers and courgette, all kind of mixed up but cooked in the van (two burners are definitely better than one).
Breakfast: Boiled eggs, bread and butter
Comment: This was an interesting one and you can read more about it in my latest digital nomad post. Mr B2 cycled down for supper but didn’t stay as he wasn’t feeling well. I had the van all to myself and slept with the door open behind a carefully rigged (washing line) mosquito net. Several loo stops (hot weather, lots of water), a stunning sunset, even more impressive full moon rise and I was sitting up in my sleeping bag working just after dawn (there was a van-siesta later!) I need to do a few more solo nights.
Outdoor Sleep 23
Type: Campervan (en famille)
Location: Daccombe (again, this time with Mr B2 and Not-At-All-Blonde)
Date: 27th June 2018
Reason: Day 2 of my digital nomad experiment, plus an excuse to camp with a small section of my family
Supper: Cashew nuts, feta, courgette, peppers and a tomato sauce. Cooked from scratch in the van (the rest of the family had pasta).
Breakfast: Baked beans with a boiled egg stuck in the middle of it. Surprisingly tasty with lots of black pepper.
Comment: It was a real treat to sit and watch the sunset over our campfire. Not-At-All-Blonde is just back from her final year at university so we had lots to talk about. I was pleased to see how well she pitched her tent (it’s all in the training). After Mr B2 had cycled off to work, we girls had a bit of pre-breakfast navigation practice (she’s quite good at that too!)