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Now retired but busy still living..

Tuesday 24 April 2012


'Holy Man' John Yale
 The April weekend backpacking meet of the Dorset Group took place last weekend. 
We had planned to meet on the Friday at the Wolvercroft World of Plants at Aderholt which is a gardening nursery that has a C&CC listed site in it's grounds. 

I cycled over to the site on the Friday afternoon and despite the threat of rain I managed to get there before the rain started. 
Just as I cycled up their drive the heavens opened...I abandoned my bike against a large wooden plant container and headed for the 'Sticky Bun Cafe' that was situated on the site. 
Whilst I was drinking a large coffee, Brian and Jill Toalster also arrived and like me were seeking refuge from the rain in the cafe. 

Within the hour the rain had stopped and we were able to erect our tents. 
Shortly after, John Yale arrived and not long after that Graham Faithfull also appeared. 
Graham had walked the entire way from his home in Bournemouth but was still smiling as he greeted the rest of us. 

By now the rain had started again and was set in for the rest of the evening. 
At 1900hrs Peter Calcutt had still not arrived and I must admit that I was a little worried as I had expected  him to get to the site by 1700hrs. 

It was now tipping it down and Peter finally arrived at about 2015hrs soaked to the skin. He had left home much later than he had expected to and then he had a slight problem finding the site with the bad weather not helping. Nothing worse than riding a bike along country roads in the pouring rain when it's dark but at least he had arrived safely.

The next morning the sun was out and it was a rather nice start to the day. 
Before  dropping the tents, we went for a full English breakfast at the on site cafe....very good it was to. 
Unlike our last meet when we had over twenty members attend, our numbers on this weekend were well down with only the six of us attending the first night. 
I think the threat of bad weather had put most people off which was a great pity. 

When we got back from breakfast John took up his usual position in his tent with the doors held open with his walking poles. 
Whenever I see John in his tent like this (see top picture) it always reminds me of some of the Holy men I have seen  up in the hills in Northern Nepal and Tibet. 
They sit under a canopy that looks very similar to John's tent and people visit them for words of wisdom and advice. 
The local people bring them food and do simple tasks for them and John seems to have adopted a similar kind of lifestyle when he's away on his walking trips. 
He even got Jill to wipe the rain water from his tent.....

I was just about to take a picture of him in the tent with Jill acting as one of his followers and wiping his tent when he saw the camera. Not wanting to be seen in his tent with Jill doing all his chores, he jumped out of his tent pretty sharpish. Look at the top shot and then at the second image....yes the second image shows Jill doing John's chores and the shadows give it all away....one of the shadows is mine and the other belongs to John hoping to avoid being seen.
Peter not wanting to be left out of all the religious goings on decided to hang up all his wet clothes in an attempt to emulate Tibetan Prayer flags. 

By 10.00hrs the walkers had set off for the next site at Coombe Bissett near Salisbury. 
Peter and I stayed at the site for a couple more hours as we were not under any time pressure to get away. 
Because more heavy showers were forecast for the afternoon we had decided that we would cycle straight to the Coombe Bissett site.....normally we would have taken a long route and made a day ride of it, but with more rain on the horizon the quick and direct route seemed to be the favoured choice. 

Peter and I arrived at the Summerlands Caravan Park at Coombe Bissett within 45 minutes of leaving the Alderholt site.....the walkers of course took a good few hours longer. 
Just after we arrived and erected the tents the showers started again. 

When we had arrived at the site we saw a dark green Subaru Forester parked up and we realized that Bill Williams had come down from Gloucester to spend a night camping with us. 
The walkers finally arrived at about 16.30hrs and the rest of the evening was spent with lots of friendly banter and conversation that is so typical at a BPC camping weekend.
The next morning we woke up again to bright sunny weather but with the threat of heavy rain later. 

Brian and Jill were first away as they wanted to visit somewhere near Salisbury before heading the rest of the way home. 
Bill Williams was next and he was planning on visiting Old Sarum before heading back to Gloucester. 
Graham and John broke camp next with John actually wiping his tent down himself this time. 

That just left Peter and I to drop our tents and head off to the Southern part of the New Forest where we planned to meet JD on the Monday morning.........but I will tell you about that in my next post.


Jason said...

Sounds really great, even with all the rain. Fun photos! I have to say though, your mention of the Sticky Bun Cafe and English Breakfast sure got me hungry. :-)

Steve A said...

Sticky Bun Cafe - translate please! Is that like an American donut shop?

Dorset Backpacker said...

Is this turning in to my blog? :)

I can manage the words of wisdom, but no-one ever brings me any food :-(

We got to within a mile of the car before the hail storm arrived, but at least it stopped before we got to the car.

limom said...

Those are some well kept camp grounds.

TrevorW�� said...

Always good to have a full English breakfast cooked for you when away on a cycle camping trip......

*Steve A*
No Steve, a sticky bun is not a doughnut(Donut). A sticky bun is also called a belgian bun and is a currant bun covered in a very sticky white icing. It keeps the Dentists in permanent work so I'm told.

*Dorset Backpacker*
Well as you don't even feature on your own blog John I thought that it was about time that I featured your 'holiness' on mine. Ha Ha
By words of wisdom do you mean "Anyway I'm packing".??
Good thing that the hailstones stopped before you got back to the car....you wouldn't want any of those icy things getting in the car would you...?

Marsha said...

Trevor, I think most Americans, at least of my age, would call a sticky bun a "sweet roll". It's a category of pastries that originated in a whole bunch of European countries. They are so-o-o-o-o-o yummy! :)

TrevorW�� said...

They certainly are well manicured....Next month we hope to be wild camping on Dartmoor so you will see images of the wilder side of British camping.

Thanks for that Marsha...I think that I will post a picture of a sticky bun just so we can be sure of what we are all talking about..... LOL

Six weeks off.

 The visit to see the Consultant went quite well really ...   My ' numbers' have started to creep up again so I am going to be given...