Today had gone quite well. It started better than expected by being sunnier than had originally been forecast. There was just the odd cloud dimming life momentarily. Having been out on a variety of distractions all day, life then collapsed completely when we returned to Guillaume to find him quite literally surrounded by a convoy of three rental motorhomes, all packed to the gunwales with a mixture of Rugrats and Satan’s Little Disciples. It looked like an organized outing of the London Breeding Club. One van alone contained four of the little horrors. The combined junior platoon was running, scooting and yellng around our pitch so frenetically that I honestly couldn’t manage a reliable headcount. Our section of the forest campsite was now more like a school playground than a leisure venue.
Before realizing the situation, I had nattered to two of the adults at the water point as they replenished their van’s water tank. and they seemed personable enough. Apparently this was their first such trip and the vans had been “rented for the weekend”. Once this van had re-joined its fellows, however, and since our pitch was between the three motorvans’ pitches, the breeding adults added to our discomfort by hanging around outside the front of Guillaume chatting, bottles of beer in one arm and babes in the other. These were not experienced campers, most of whom – there are always exceptions – show some respect for other campers and their personal space. In one fell swoop, and I do mean fell, the peace and serenity of the great outdoors had been obliterated. Our only remaining contact with sanity is the hope that they really did mean the weekend and will leave tomorrow. If I believed in any kind of god, I’d pray that this would, indeed, be their last night. As it is, hope will have to suffice.
On a lighter note and prior to rational life heading south, we started the day with a slightly less muddy morning walk – our day of sun had dried some patches noticeably – from Guillaume down to Tiptoe where we still found nothing stirring. Our return route produced a highlight, though, when a Roe Deer wandered across the track in front of us. These are the smaller members of the forest’s deer population, the others being Fallow an Sika. We’d seen them wander through the campsite but had yet to be presented with a decent photo opportunity.
After lunch we boarded our bikes for Francine to do a three garden tour of Sway. This was a yearly private garden open day organized by the NGS (National Garden Scheme) to raise money for a collection of laudable charities, many of them associated with cancer relief.
Later in the afternoon we changed transport modes again to drive back to Pony Poo Pond (a.k.a. Burbush Pond) to see who might be around, following our successes yesterday with Paul. The place wasn’t exactly swarming but we did see a handful of Large Red Damselflies (Pyrrhosoma nymphula) together with three fresh Broad-bodied Chasers (Libellula depressa) and a couple of Four-spotted Chasers (Libellula quadrimaculata), the latter bringing our 2-day species count to 10 – quite a surprise for 4th May.
We really have to stop doing this, coming away over Bank Holidays. Our only chance of a mostly acceptable world lies with sticking to weekdays and avoiding such times. It would have been worth an extra tank of diesel to go home then hit the road again after the insanity had passed. Sadly, had we done so, we’d have missed the only really good weather we’ve had, as well as the rugrat-infested crowds.