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Now retired but busy still living..

Monday, 12 May 2008

A weekend with the Sisters Grimm. 9th-11th May 08

'Have you booked'? one of the sisters asked me as I stood in the reception caravan. I told her that I hadn't as I cast a furtive glance over the huge empty field that was the location for the weekend static meet of the Dorset Group of the Backpackers Club. 'Is it a problem I asked'? Well it might have been ,we could have been busy I was told. 'But your not are you' ? I replied regretting the words as she gave me a look that could have turned me to stone. How many of you will be coming? she asked in the tone of the Spanish Inquisition. 'I don't know' was my answer knowing that she would not be happy. She tutted loudly as she informed me that 'it's not good enough'. 'No' I replied feeling like a naughty schoolboy who had just been caught smoking behind the bike sheds.
And so the scene was set for our spring static meet. I asked myself why do we continue to come to this location and go through this interrogation each time.I looked again at the large flat grassy field with lots of rabbits running free in the bright sunshine and no other campers in sight and I had answered my own question. I was then told not to put any tents in front of the water tap followed by a further list of minor rules and then I was asked if I needed any tokens for the shower. Now last time I had stayed at the site I had purchased a number of tokens that I had not used. I knew that if I told her this I would suffer a telling off for taking the tokens away with me I also knew that if I told her that I didn't want any tokens she would turn her nose up and look at me as if I was the local tramp. I decided on the latter and true to form she took a step backwards as she said 'so you won't be having a shower then'? What could I say but no without giving away my secret hoard of 'stolen' tokens.
Nine members turned up for this weekend and most of us suffered to some degree along the lines that I have described above.
Before the two sisters acquired their reception caravan none of us ever knew where they were. You could arrive at the site and it would be completely empty. You would choose your pitch, look around you-still no one in sight-and start putting up your tent and then as if by magic one of 'the girls' would be standing behind you with her hand outstretched requesting payment and asking'have you booked'etc etc.. Some say that beneath the camping field is a system of tunnels with various trapdoors hidden by the grass and that the sisters would use this labyrinth to creep up on unsuspecting campers as they started to erect their tents. Hence the name that we have given them -'The Sisters Grimm'. In view of all the above we in the Dorset Group of the Backpackers Club feel that we must keep the name and location of this site a secret as we would not want any other campers to suffer at the hands of THE SISTERS GRIMM.
The weekend itself seemed to be enjoyed by all who attended. Friday night spent in the local pub catching up with what everyone has been up to and where they have all been on their recent backpacking trips and then back to the tents for a good nights sleep.
Saturday started with breakfast and a good day in prospect. One member took a bus to Charmouth and walked back from there. Two other members went in the other direction with fully loaded backpacks. These were new Golight Pinnacle sacs and as a trip to the lakes is to take place in a few weeks time these two members wanted to be certain that the sacs were fit for purpose. The rest of us took a saunter down to the 'fifties cafe' at West Bexington where we had coffee and cakes etc and then we walked along the coast to Burton Bradstock and then round in a circle and back to 'the Sisters Grimm'.
Saturday night found us all back in the local pub where a major discussion took place regarding the recent articles by the TGO ultralight specialist writer. Or is that Barmylight. Apparently we will all be out in the hills with masks on our faces, plastic bags on our hands and feet, coloured lights on our heads and a water pistol in our hands. I can't wait for the next issue of TGO to see how barmy we are all expected to be next month.
On Sunday after a breakfast in the glorious weather ,it was time to take the tents down before one of the Sisters Grimm came round to charge us for an extra day. One minute over the time laid down in the site rules and each one of us would have to dig into our pockets for a further six pounds for the outstretched hand of one of the sisters.
Before heading home a short walk around Maiden castle was enjoyed ,with lunch taken in the centre of the castle. And then the weekend meet was over and we all headed off in our various directions.
Although this sort of meet is not Backpacking, it is a good way for us all to get together and exchange ideas and share tales of our own individual treks and backpacking trips. It's also another opportunity for us to enjoy a weekend with the Sisters Grimm.

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