We came, we saw, we met, we chatted, we ate, we drank. We left with thicker waistlines, lighter wallets and sore heads. But most of all we left with new friendships forged, family ties strengthened and old friendships renewed. It was a cracking weekend and even the weather was reasonably kind to us. For us anyway, all this was part of a longer trip – our ‘Easter’ holiday excursion up north. At the time of typing we are in Cambridgeshire, with just one stop left before we return to sunny (hopefully) Saltdean at the weekend.
Anyway, without further ado, lets get caught up.
Thursday morning saw us on the road again – and the same road – the A1 – as we hitched up Patsy 2 again headed further south, leaving, a little reluctantly, the lovely city of York. We were both looking forward to Twittercamp of course but had had such a great 12 days up north and were well aware that we had missed out on so much too.
A smooth and uneventful journey, under an occasionally brightening sky until the sad news came via text that two of the ‘Twitterati’ – and attendees of the first Twittercamp last year, would not be able to make it.
We arrived early of course, but a phone call to reception confirmed that we we wouldn’t be turned away and were soon sited at the Rutland Caravan & Camping site neighbouring the village of Greetham.
First task, after the usual post set up cuppa was to give her ladyship a bit of a wash, although I could only summon the energy and enthusiasm to do three sides of her. It was probably just as well as I later read in the site leaflet that washing of cars & caravans was not allowed. Oops!
A short while later – and a day ahead of the official start of Twittercamp – my cousin Andy and his wife Janet arrived. This was their first ever outing with the van, having taken possession of it only a few weeks previously. Their first ever ‘siting’ went pretty well, with Andy making a credible job of reversing on to the pitch. An issue arose with the water – but with four of us scratching our heads, peering, pulling, poking and swearing it was eventually resolved. Having had friends on site to help us on our first ever outing – only just over two years ago – it was nice to be able to pass on some of of acquired knowledge.
Later in the afternoon, we put up the awning, then in the evening the four of us departed, via the back gate of the site, on the first of the weekends research expeditions to the nearby village of Greetham and one of it’s hostelries; The Plough. The food was superb and an excellent selection of real ales ensured that we were to return. More than once.
Friday morning saw a brief excursion to the supermarket and to prepare the hot dogs, then we awaiting the first of the days arrivals to Twittercamp 2014. The Caravan Club had provided t-shirts for everyone and Caravan Stickers had supplied us with car & caravan stickers to commemorate the occasion
The first we saw arrive, appropriately was one of the founder members of Twittercamp; David, better known as Boss, with his caravan called Elvis from Leeds. We discovered then that another unit had arrived just before; Annette & Emma in their motorhome all the way from Bristol. We rushed over to their pitch to say hello and present them with their T-shirts and stickers before heading back to our part of the site only to meet Alison who had just arrived too from Faversham in Kent. Although Alison had caravanned for years this was the first time she had travelled alone.
Almost immediately after, was Sam and her husband Andy from Dorset who we managed to pounce on just as they were checking in. There were still more to come but it was then time to go and fire up the BBQ for the first gathering of the weekend. Sharon & Dave arrived a little later, and we were tucking in to hot dogs when Andrew arrived with his ‘shiny one’. Pete was next then after a quick wash and brush up it was time to return to the village for another research expedition, greeting first Vicky and Leslie who had had a late departure from Leeds and had only just made the 8pm cut-off imposed by the site.
There were two more pubs to try in the village that we didn’t get any further than the first, such was atmosphere and friendly banter from the locals who had had their pub invaded by a bunch of ‘them caravanners’ and caught their first glimpse of the ‘Blogger in Black’ in all his erm, finery. It was great to finally put names and faces to Twitter monikers and conversation came easy.
A few came back to our van for some nibbles, but the liquid of choice was, almost universally water, which given the amount of research that had been carried our earlier, was probably just as well.
Saturday morning saw the first ever Twittercamp Quiz, a thinly disguised excuse to drink coffee and eat lots of cake, generously provided by Sam. At 10:30am we gathered on the grassed square in the middle of our particular paddock and battle commenced. At least until half way, when we all tucked in, before hostilities resumed. It was all very good natured and a short while later the winners emerged. Annette & Emma claiming first place chose a Kindle, generously donated by Richard from Cover4Caravans, whilst Andrew took second after a tie breaker with Sam & Andy and will soon be heading to north Devon thanks to the equally generous folk at Warcombe Farm who donated a two night stay on their lovely site in Mortehoe, near Woolacombe.
Arrangements were made to reconvene in the evening for more er, research and whilst some went out walking, some went exploring old haunts, others stayed on site making the most of the cracking weather.
The evening saw the majority of us in the village again, this time making the effort to reach the furthest pub away. It quickly became apparent that there was something else we all had in common apart from caravanning and Twitter – grog. We eventually prised ourselves out of the Wheatsheaf and on to the Black Horse. Karaoke was apparently on the cards and I was relieved to find that it hadn’t turned up. Sadly it appeared that the dray hadn’t either as there wasn’t a single real ale to be had. Having gulped back something fizzy and insipid we move on and returned to the Plough to complete the evenings research. The conversation and beer continued to flow and it was well in to the early hours when the last of us eventually emerged, a little unsteadily and staggered back to the site.
No sooner had Twittercamp began than it was over – for many anyway. A few of us were staying on until Monday but one by one the majority departed, to many hugs, kisses and waves from those remaining. I hate goodbyes but we had met some great people, had some really good fun and am sure we’ll get to meet many again at some point in the future. Sadly we weren't able to get everyone in the photo, but here is most of the gang of Twittercamp 2014:
The remaining Twitterati - David, Pete and Alison – joined us for a meal in our ‘van Sunday night. What was was supposed to be a quiet meal followed by an early night became anything but as Patsy’s wine cellar – largely untouched for the majority of our trip – believe it or not – took a particular hammering. Once again we had a fantastic time and talked a lot – caravanning hardly came up at all but the vaguely family friendly nature of the blog prevents me from going in to details! Oh, and Sam – thanks for the sausages – they were delicious.
The Monday morning blues were making themselves known with some force the following morning, not helped of course by the rather excessive ‘research’ of the previous few days. Twittercamp 2014 was over and we were all leaving. We were the first to go, gingerly knocking on ‘van doors to say our goodbyes. It had been a truly great weekend, and whilst I guess it was Trev and myself who done most of the organising – such as it was – it was everyone that turned up and pitched in with such great enthusiasm that made it such a success. So, Andy, Janet, Annette, Emma, David, Alison, Sam, Andy, Sharon, Dave, Andrew, Pete, Vicky and Leslie - thank you from me & Trev for making it such a great weekend. It was great to meet all of you.
Thanks too to those who kindly agreed to sponsor us – The Caravan Club, Caravan Stickers, Cover4Caravans and Warcombe Farm. It was really appreciated. We hope to arrange another Twittercamp later in the year. nothing is certain yet but we’ll keep you posted. So, here’s to the next Twittercamp. Cheers!