16 September 2009

botswana

When I was a little girl, I used to turn the heavy pages of the old ledger that were laden with my dad's stamp collection and pore over the mini pieces of art that hung there on small squares of double-sided sticky tape.

Dad worked in a post room for a big engineering firm and as letters and parcels came in from all over the world he would tear off the corners of the discarded envelopes to bring new stamps home to add to his collection.

As a child of ten I couldn't really comprehend where all these different places were, but every so often a name or a picture would capture my imagination. My favourite stamps were from Botswana whose beautiful illustrations of wild animals jumped out from the page and film reels of savannahs teaming with exotic creatures would flicker in my minds eye. The name Botswana sounded magical in itself. It sounded like a place I would never go. Little did I know.

We are soon heading off on a wild camping safari through Botswana and Zambia. We will camp on an island in the Okavango Delta and then travel through the game reserves of Moremi, Savuti and Chobe, ending up at Livingstone to see the mighty Victoria Falls. Wild camping means no fences, no toilets or showers and just a two man tent between us and the great outdoors. Bring it on!

08 September 2009

jersey boys

My mum and dad came to stay with us over the August bank holiday weekend and we took them to see Jersey Boys at the Prince Edward Theatre. Great show!

Jersey Boys

05 September 2009

beaulieu

We popped in to Beaulieu (a village in the New Forest) before driving back to the big smoke. The Beaulieu Camera Group was holding a photographic competition so we had a look and registered our votes, then we had a wander around The Learning Garden - an allotment style garden where people can learn how to grow their own. It was abundant with fruit, vegetables and herbs - putting my meagre back garden crops to shame. I tried to cosy up to the gardener to see if he would tell me his secrets - but his lips were sealed.

The Learning Garden

04 September 2009

new forest times two

Two glorious weekends in a row were spent camping in the New Forest this summer. The first week I forgot my camera, but here are some pics from the second week.

Both times we stayed on a fantastic campsite called Long Meadow, between Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst. It is a temporary site that is put back to pasture after the season ends for minimum impact on the environment. The portacabin shower and toilet facilities were excellent. As an added bonus a herd of about 150 deer hang out in the field next to the site and regularly come into the site itself when everyone is asleep to munch on the grass. We saw them one night when we left the tent where we had been chatting to go to the toilet before bed - they were right in amongst everyone, and later they kept us awake with their mumching and breathing right outside!

From the site you can walk directly into the forest and it is so beautiful - an enchanted place, full of interesting flora and fauna - a world away from work. I came back each time feeling truly relaxed.

The second week we made a fire by collecting wood from the forest. I was always camp cook.

The enchanting New ForestA fairytale toadstoolHello campers!Camp chefMan make fire

03 September 2009

summer days driftin' away

And in the blink of an eye summer is gone... well, maybe we'll get a few more sunny days. Fingers crossed. We had such a busy one though, I am really craving some down time.

For Dom's birthday at the end of July I took him on a microlight flight over the Medway and arranged a picnic at Bewl Water. Late in the day we hired bikes and rode round the reservoir. It was fab. Next time we go we will arrange to do some water sports.

Dom with Microlight Cycling round Bewl Water