You may have noticed the cyclical nature of many events in my life (Brazil in the winter, Amsterdam in April, Madrid in September….) and July is no exception. Every year in July I go to a large private party of some friends and enjoy a weekend of camping, doing shiatsu, dancing under sunshine and stars, connecting with old friends and making lots of new ones.
The trip always begins at the Green Van Hire place in Brighton where I hire the same van every year (which runs on chip fat – very eco friendly). I only drive once a year – to this event – and this time went via London to pick up my oldest fiend Mitsutoshi and his flatmate Sarah. I share their flat on the weekends when I’m teaching inLondon so it was a real flat outing, one tent each set up in a circle with a communal area in the middle for cooking and relaxing. We were joined by friends Byron and his son Djuaan. Everything that we lacked in terms of equipment, Byron had brought with him (large umbrella for permanent shade, feather boas for decorating our camp and of course the highly necessary bag of wigs).
Every year a different colour is chosen as the theme for Saturday night and 2010 was Green.We all got our greenery on and then sat with everyone on the lawns of the house inside a giant heart shape where photos were then taken from the roof. This was followed by a lazer show, fireworks and then an amazing aerobatics display (making hearts in the sky).
I love camping and it reminds me of my childhood where I didn’t see a hotel till I was 13. Taking a van with me means I can bring everything but the sink and I was totally spoiled having my gorgeous futon mattress, and duvet, just like home. Why rough it when you can camp in style? I made my spectacular porridge every morning and I cooked at least one other large meal everyday. I love cooking outdoors. We did get feathers in everything though!
The weather was truly spectacular and we ran out of shade, sunscreen and room by the pool. We did manage to get the swinging sofa seat and spend several hours in the late afternoon watching the sun loose its heat and trying to keep tabs on our enormous water gun (which kept being borrowed and walking off). The site has lots of tipis which people hire to sleep in. I think tipis are the most beautiful structures and fit in with the landscape effortlessly. I always have a sense of deja-vouz when I see circles of tipis.
My days were spent relaxing at camp, cooking, giving shiatsu, going to yoga workshops, sitting by the pool, dancing and listening to music, talking to friends, napping and generally having ‘no plans’ at any time of the day or night. For me this is precious, phone off time where I can be myself and days feel endless (because they aren’t chopped up into hourly chunks).
The only tricky part was getting enough sleep. I woke every morning before 7am with the sensation of literally being roasted alive, the heat inside my tent was so intense. So each morning I felt rudely awakened and reminded that curtains keep us closed to nature and that our rhythms used to be so different. One morning I came out of my boiling tent to find Mitsutoshi and Sarah both lying in the entrances to their tents, heads out, gaining some shady, fresher spot to carry on sleeping. My tent entrance was in the sun but I found a camp chair and used it for shading my face and the bliss of returning to sleep was gorgeous. Only to be rudely awakened by sun in my eyes 10 mins later and the need to move slightly to stay in the shade. At that point making porridge is an obvious distraction.
Now I am refreshed for the rest of the summer!