The fourth Twittercamp took place recently in the Cotswolds and was the best attended so far. Here’s what we got up to…..
Knowing that there was likely to be a fair bit of ‘research’ carried out at our gathering it would have been sensible to give the liver a bit if a break in the days prior. But our school had just got top marks in a recent inspection and a party was laid on in a bar in central Brighton to thank the support staff for all their work. It would have been rude not to take advantage of the Bursar's rare largesse but it was probably just as well that the bar tab was closed at 9pm.
So, Saturday morning saw us heading over to the storage unit to retrieve Patsy, diverting as usual to fuel up both us AND the tug. Given that we opted for a McCholesterol & coffee Rosie our tug, definitely came off better….
Around 11:30am we pulled up at the Caravan Club site at Moreton-in-Marsh in the Cotswolds. Before the hallowed midday arrival time I know but it wasn’t an issue here. With plastic flashed, the barrier was soon open and we set off in search of a pitch, passing Helen & Rob’s van who were already on site
Just ahead of us was a motorhome and having perused Farcebook & Twitter on the way, we correctly deduced that it belonged David C. We accosted him whilst he was getting his hose out - to fill the water tank that is - and welcomed him and Brian, not least as a Twittercamp virgin(?) but also because of his cargo - lots and lots of cake.
Two more guys were already on site too - Neil & Dave - and their van was easy to spot thanks to the promised huge erections - awning and flag pole.
Pitches were limited thanks to it being bank holiday weekend AND half-term but we did come across one that looked to be suitable. Close to the facilities and a walk way to the exit and a hedgerow for privacy - which was to turn out more for our neighbours benefit than ours!
There were to be more arrivals before lunch - Sam & Andy S. now on their third Twittercamp and also bearing gifts - yep, more cake. Also to arrive was Iain & Zoe and their children Grace & Lulu who had the honour of being the first kids at a Twitercamp meet.
A brief excursion into town followed - to pick up some raffle prizes promised by various local shops and business and also to procure some lunch as my belly was beginning to think my throat had been cut. We returned to the site with the sandwich packet already half ripped open to find my cousin Andy B. and wife Janet had also arrived. Despite the protestations from the digestion department down below we were keen to say hello and take a look at their new ‘van picked up just two days prior.
The first get together was Saturday afternoon around our van - masquerading loosely as afternoon tea, although in reality there was little tea drunk. Sam and David bought the fruits of their labours to the gathering and they went down very well indeed. Later in the evening we gathered in Neil & Dave's awning for the delight that is the Eurovision Song Contest. Despite 13 adults (I use the term loosely) 2 children and 5 dogs it didn’t feel cramped. See, I told you they had a big one. Predictably the UK entry bombed but it was a very enjoyable night. We even got to hear some of the songs despite Trev vigorously exercising his jaw regularly throughout…
At Twittercamp we like to keep the days free for everyone to do what they want - and being in area as beautiful as the Cotswolds there is plenty to get out and about to see. The evenings activity was a quiz at a local pub who had kindly given us the use of their function room. Sam & Andy were the quizmasters for the evening dishing out some tough questions. The Four Stooges - namely Neil, Dave & David together with friend Karen who was visiting came out victorious scooping an Amazon voucher courtesy of Cover for Caravans. Myself & Trev came next with a voucher from Venture Caravans which Iain bought for a donation to the charity pot, followed by Iain, Zoe and the kids who picked up another voucher, this time from the lovely Doe Park caravan site in Teesdale. Andy B. & Janet picked up the much sought after ‘D’ trophy for last place. Grace & Lulu were pressed into service selling raffle tickets for the prize draw to take place later in the week.
Monday was of course a bank holiday and an extra excuse for a lie in – however the powers that be deemed that the grass needed cutting so soon after 9am the noisy ride on lawnmower could be heard whizzing across the site. We certainly never saw any long grass on our trundle around the site looking for a pitch on Saturday but there it is.
The next gathering was, again in the afternoon, this time for a communal bbq. We had four going in total and there was plenty of food to go around as everyone had noted Trev’s request the previous evening to bring their own er, meat. Hmm. Add in some salad and new potatoes after a brief foray to the Co-Op, yet more cake and soon everyone was stuffed, although plenty more room was found for beer and wine. Funny that.
With nothing planned for the evening, the games were brought out. First up was garden darts - in truth a kids game where plastic rings are laid on the ground and large - thankfully blunt ended darts - are thrown to try and score points. A closely fought contest saw my cousin Andy B. emerge as the winner adding more points to total from the quiz.
Next up was Smite, originating we were told from Cornwall. For the uninitiated, there are 10 wooden pegs each number and a wooden chucker or smite. The idea is to score 50 - exactly. Remember that. If you knock one peg down, you score the number on the peg. Two pegs means two points, three means three and so on. If you go over fifty your score is reduced to 25. Remember that too. Well, the Four Stooges scored the quickest followed by myself and Trev. We got to within 10 then Trev busted out much to the hilarity of everyone but particularly our nearest rivals. However soon they were to do the same and the barracking was returned. We got our score back up but Trev again busted out to yet more laughter. In amongst all this Andy B. was quietly increasing his score and emerged the winner. Well done Andy B.
Thanks to Sam and Andy S. for bringing the games and for looking after the scores. It was a great fun afternoon and we certainly earned some looks from passers by. Some it has to be said were a little disapproving, but whether that was because we were making too much noise - in their opinion - or simply having a much better time that they were it was hard to say.
Tuesday was market day in Moreton so a few of us ambled in for a mooch around. The afternoon gathering was a much quieter affair thanks to an impromptu game of Bingo. The only one rabbiting was, predictably Trev - but then he was calling the numbers so fair enough! With nothing planned for the evening a few of us went on a walk around the town. It was thirsty work and we had to keep stopping though…..
Wednesday brought with it the arrival of David B. A.K.A. ‘Boss’ closely followed by the most famous caravan on Twitter - Elvis the Elddis. David joined us in being the only other one on site too have attended all Twittercamps. Also to arrive was Alison who always gets a great welcome, not only because she comes on her own but also because she comes laden with a boot full of beer from her hometown brewery Shepherd Neame. Cheers!
With introductions completed at afternoon tea, the gang convened again that evening at the Swan for the evenings entertainment - Skittles. We played individually with the gang roughly divided into two to garner a more competitive spirit - not that that was needed. It was great noisy fun. Sweaty too too for those that took turns in diving into the pit to reset the skittles after each through. Iain emerged the winner overall and Janet got the highest single score.
There was another arrival Thursday afternoon in the shape of ‘Pop-Up’ Pete and that night was to be pool night - again at the pub. A few decided to sit this one out and I wish I had done too. I like a game of pool but played appallingly - myself and Andy B. can probably lay claim to the most boring game of the tournament.
In other games Rob looked a good bet for the title early but was overcame by Pete who went on to beat David B. in a thrilling game to get through to the final. However, Helen who was to emerge victorious and was presented with a bottle of wine courtesy of the landlady Sara.
Friday bought with it a fair bit of rain and the afternoon bbq was switched to Helen & Rob’s pitch thanks to their large awning. Pete joined them in sitting the quiz as they were unable to attend the previous Sunday and wanted to post a score to go along with those accrued from the games like the rest of us. Or not in some cases!
Friday night saw us back in the pub again (how unusual) for the 2nd quiz of the week and the raffle. David B. joined us whist Alison went with Andy B. and Janet.
Again there were some tough questions and the brain cells needed frequent lubrication. The Four Stooges triumphed again taking another Amazon voucher and the overall prize of a voucher from Pearman Briggs. We took second place again with David B. pocketing a voucher from Venture Caravans. Zac’s team - Helen, Rob and Pete took third place with a voucher from Warcombe Farm. Alison, Janet 7 Andy proudly picked up another ‘D’ for last place!
Last item on the agenda was the raffle. Everyone bought tickets and we raised over £170 for local dementia charity The Memory Club.
And that really was the last of the organised activities of Twittercamp 2015. Saturday morning after a coffee gathering we said goodbye to Iain, Zoe, Grace, Lulu and their lovely dog Delilah, shortly followed by my cousin Andy B and Janet. However we were joined by some new arrivals Richard & Diane who couldn’t book until the last minute and were Twittercamp newbies.
There was a late afternoon walk in to town for grog and grub for most of us. We were to leave early in the morning so it was soon time to say goodbye - always the hardest part, particularly when you’ve had such fun. Most left at some point on Sunday too but Alison stayed until Monday, no doubt savouring the peace and quiet - the site lawnmower obsessive notwithstanding.
You will have seen many mentions of prizes and donations through this blog and we would like to say a big thank you to all. Firstly, those that donated the prizes for our quizzes:
- Cover for Caravans - Amazon vouchers
- Venture Caravans - Gift vouchers
- Pearman Briggs - Gift voucher
- Warcombe Farm Touring Park - Voucher
- Doe Park Caravan Site - Voucher
Everyone at Twittercamp donated prizes for our raffle - thank you. Thank you too to the following companies for supporting us with prizes: :
- Isabella - thanks to Helen for getting these three on board
- Pearsons Cider, Moreton
- The Corn Exchange, Moreton
- The Greek Deli, Moreton
- The Garage, Moreton
More thanks - to Caravan Larry A.K.A Phil who was unable to attend Twittercamp but stopped by with a case of beer. He cooks up some tasty looking dishes in his caravan kitchen and everyone is eagerly awaiting his first Twittercamp! Check out his website - In my Caravan kitchen - for some great recipes.
To The Swan Inn for use of the function room and all the raffle prizes - thank you Sara.
To Nikki and the Caravan Club for all the T-shirts.
To Andy Everson at The Cotswold Engraver for the winners trophies.
Thanks Sam and Andy S. for bringing and organising the games and quiz and to Andy’s Dad Derek for making the trophies.
Thanks to Grace and Lulu for selling the raffle tickets.
A big thanks to my other half Trev for pretty much organising the whole thing. While I typed a few emails it was Trev who got most of our sponsors on board.
But of course, Twittercamp wouldn’t work if no-one turned up. But you did, and you all got stuck in and from where I was standing you looked like you enjoyed yourselves and made this the biggest and most successful ever. This is what Iain and Zoe, Twittercamp newbies said:
“……….. We met lots of lovely people and made new friends. Our girls Grace and Lulu being the only two children part of Twitter camp were made especially welcome with family games in the afternoon and evening that they could join in on……………..It would be great if more families came to see for themselves what a great relaxed friendly atmosphere awaits. Can't wait for TwitterCamp 2016.”
10 year old Grace said:
“I really liked the games we played, bingo and giants garden darts and I loved playing skittles. I'm looking forward to going again”
And Lulu - 7 3/4 added:
“I liked playing the games and helping Trevor with the raffle for charity. And eating all the lovely cakes”
Twittercamp is for everyone. There’s no membership fee, you just come and join us. Look out for announcements on Twitter & Facebook for the when and where the next one is. You will be made very welcome as you can see.
And yes, I did wear white! Sometimes.
One more thing. This will be the last blog on ‘A Load of Nonsense’. The site will be changing, coming more caravan (and camping) focused with a new name, design and logo. In amongst all this though my ramblings on our travels will remain. So in one way at least it will still be a load of nonsense!