Sunny days are here again. Another favourite camping spot.
Well, the sun has well and truly got his hat on this afternoon and it looks like he'll keep it on for a few more glorious days yet. Twitter is awash with happy sunshine tweets and I'm feeling that prickly sun and salt feeling after a surf session down at the beach. Good times, with the promise of easy peasy burgers with tomato and chilli man jam later (page 118 of The Camper Van Coast) or perhaps even curried pork kebabs (page 123). It's a barbecue kind of a day.
It's at times like these that we long for the open road and a perfect destination to pitch up and cook up. This week we got back from a road trip in the van to Ireland. Whilst we stayed at the most idyllic spot at Caherdaniel, there were good times this side of the water too. We stopped off in St David's in Pembrokeshire to catch up with our friends at TYF, introduce the kids to coasteering and spend a couple of days before catching the ferry from Pembroke Dock. The weather wasn't as good as it is now but we still managed to have a great time. When I camp with the kids we tend to avoid the wilder places, simply becuase it's better to be on a camp site sometimes. So whilst the place we stayed has wild opportunities nearby (see pages 8 and 9 of The Camper Van Coast), we opted to stay on the site at Newgale. It's one of those old fashioned campsites with hand painted signs telling you not to do all kind of things and to avoid doing all kinds of other things. The loo block, which looks like a pebbledashed farm outbuilding is actually really nice inside and exceptionally clean.
The site is adjacent to Newgale beach, one of Pembrokeshire's surfing hot spots, and just about 10 minutes drive from the lovely city in miniature that is St David's. There is a strict no caravan policy which means the site still feels rustic and has none of the niceties of some campsites like electric hook up or hardstanding. You take your chances and park on the grass. If you want sea views then you might have to sleep on a slope as the field rises as it heads away from the beach. The pitches at the top of the field have excellent views. We voted to stay at sea level and, to be honest it was no real hardship getting up, crossing the road and ambling on to the beach to check the surf. The girls made good use of the slope anyway - by freewheeling down to the van.
There is a cosy cafe nearby and a pub right on the beach which does beer and crisps. Frankly, after the drive from London, when we got there, beer and crisps was enough for me. The best thing about this campsite has to be its location right on the very lovely Newgale beach. If it was anywhere else you might not like the bossy signs or the boggy ground or the basic facilities. As it is, the location is enough.
And so what if there's no noise after 11? With a few beers and a bag of crisps inside me I am happy stumbling quietly back to my pitch.
A few weeks ago I (with the help of my friends at the Caravan and Motorhome Club) asked the good people of Twitter and Instagram to tell me what they call their camper vans. Here are the results! There are so many great names - and so many different names - and it proves to me that you lot really are a funny, creative, soulful and joyful bunch. Thank you! I will announce the winner in the next day or so. But please do comment and share. One thing that’s clear in all this is that camper owners LOVE their vans. Whether it’s the number plate that spells Rosbif (handy for breaking the ice on French campsites) or a name that tells you a little about shocking MPG (Juicy Lucy), it seems that every camper needs a name that has a story, a name that tells you how it rolls, a name that celebrate its quirks and foibles or a name that tells you how it feels to drive. If you don't want to read the full list here's the top line... Of the 200 owners who told me their van’s nam
The produce in our fish crate garden is really starting to come on now that the weather's changed. We've got rocket and lettuce already, are on the verge of gathering our first spuds, and not far off frying up the pak choi. It's very satisfying. Not only because we love our garden greens but also because fish crates make such good beds. All ours have been picked up from the beach near to where we live. They come from all over the place. We even have one from Dunmore East, the place where Jo and I tied the knot. It's in southern Ireland. Others are from Scotland, Cornwall, Norway. All over. It was Dave and Sam who first turned us on to the idea of collecting these lost receptacles for planting. Not only does it take them out of the marine environment but it also stops them from going to landfill. So instead of going to a hole in the ground or decaying into hundreds of bits of toxic plastic that will continue to float around the planet, they find another use. And if tha
Poor old Ted. It's a hard life being you isn't it? First you get ravaged by the Bob the dog and left for dead in the garden. Next the kids don't care enough about you to miss you at all during the three difficult days that you were missing, then you get shoved unceremoniously in the washing machine with all the other smalls. And then you get left out to dry. Literally. Mind you, you're looking clean. And I am sure that it's better than being the Duchess of York right now. Thank heaven for small mercies. Who's your friend, Ted?