Friday, 11 July 2014

Living life in the slow lane

Last weekend we had our first proper trip away in Grizzy, our VW Camper.  As some of you who have read my blog before know that I am not over enthusiastic about camping.  Our first foray into 'Glamping' was somewhat fraught mainly due to the compost toilet and lack of privacy whilst taking a shower, oh and the damp smell and feeling in the caravan so I was a little apprehensive to say the least.  I did 'joke' to Mark that wouldn't it be funny if we'd bought him and I still didn't like camping, hahahaha (maniacal laughter ensued).  This was met with a look that said "don't EVEN joke about it, we are not contemplating that and even if you don't like it, tough, we're camping and that's it"

With a sense of trepidation we booked the campsite, Dogwood Cottage, in Brede near Rye in East Sussex. It had been recommended to us and was a quiet fairly small campsite, perfect for a first time trip. It was also near Camber Sands which boasts a beautiful sandy beach so my preparation for the whole trip mainly consisted of preparing my outfit to visit the beach.  Forget anything practical like plates, cups, tin openers, bedding, cutlery. The most important thing to me was that I had a swimming costume I felt comfortable in, a hat, a cover up in a tropical print and new jelly shoes to walk in the sea with.

Friday came and off we set. It was a beautiful, sunny day and as soon as we got in Grizzy we knew that we had done the right thing!  It literally feels like a holiday every time we get in him and knowing we don't have to get anywhere fast makes the whole thing hugely enjoyable.  We stopped off at Middle Farm to get some pasties and bits for lunch and then continued our journey through the winding roads of the Sussex countryside.  We stopped at Brede High Woods for lunch.

Where we ate our pasties and Grizzy enjoyed the sunshine.

We made it to Camber and my outfit was a huge success, with me anyway!

The actual beach at Camber is amazing, sand as far as you can see and not crowded at all.  We both went swimming in the sea which was surprisingly warm.  I could have stayed in there for hours.

After 3 hours on the beach we started on the 20 minute journey to the campsite as Mark wanted to get set up and put the new awning up preferably before dark.

After he had finished (I made myself useful by staying out the way) we just relaxed, read a book, ate some food and basically chilled for the rest of the day.

On the Saturday after an ok nights sleep and NO trips to the toilet in the dead of night, we had a little trip to Sissinghurst Castle.  On the way we stopped at Silcocks Farmshop and cafe which served the most wonderful lunch and cakes, highly recommended.  My egg mayo roll was the best I've ever had as the eggs were cooked fresh there and then and only the smallest amount of mayo was used.  Really delicious and excellent value for money too.

Sissinghurst had been recommended to me to visit and as soon as we stepped through to the garden I could see why. It was a riot of colour with the most amazing flowers and insects.  You can only wander round the garden and lakes as the house isn't open to visitors but there's more than enough to see.

 A little note from the head gardener to let visitors know what was happening in the gardens

Some of the beautiful cottages and buildings in the grounds

My favourite, an old shed for the gardener, dusty and cobwebby.....

.....and hidden behind beautiful red roses

Beautiful views across the countryside

And in the woods there were fairy doors.....

.....and a little pet cemetery

Sissinghurst has a really magical feel about it and is well worth a visit.  There are some nice walks around the lakes too and its easy to lose track of time in this magical place.

All too soon our little adventure had finished and we set off on Sunday morning back home in the pouring rain.  On our way we stopped at a 12th Century church, All Saints in the village of Mountfield.  We have visited here before and it is the most beautiful church I have visited.  It is so peaceful and tranquil and the views are amazing. 

There is a bench that I could sit on all day..... the views are stunning

Our first camping trip in Grizzy was just fantastic and I can't wait to do it all again.  He got us from A to B and then to C and D. He kept us warm and dry and helped us have a little adventure.  It really is like stepping back in time when everything was done at a slower pace and is something we definitely need more of in our lives.  Without doubt the best purchase we've ever made!


  1. Sounds and looks wonderful! I've always wanted a camper van, maybe one day. Glad it was better than you'd expected, now you can look forward to many more happy trips.

    1. Thank you, it really was a lot of fun and very relaxing. I think we're going to explore the New Forest next. Since we got the Camper lots of people have said the same, that they always wanted one. We decided that it was now or never and I'm glad we decided that it was now!

  2. Only just seen this - lovely post Fi xx

  3. Hey keep posting such good and meaningful articles.