There is no finer place to be on a hot summer's afternoon than at Barrington Court near Ilminster. I was really looking forward to my two days wandering round the old pile again - it was just a shame my old mate Matthew Applegate wasn't around as he was off enjoying a well deserved holiday in France. I was left in the very capable hands of his new "apprentice" Kate Churchill who did a wonderful job. I was there for the Saturday and the Sunday, however on the Sunday I also had another pressing engagement - my own holiday! Many years back I would regularly go camping with some friends from Essex and we would venture off into the wild West Country and have a good time. We had all decided we should do this again and, even though I now live in the West Country myself, it was to be the way out west we'd head again. So on my first day of holiday I was also to be doing a 4-hour stint at Barrington Court. We were to be camped at Freshwater Holiday Park in Burton Bradstock in Dorset. Therefore on the Sunday I dropped my wife, son and about three tons of camping equipment at Burton Bradstock and then skedaddled back to Barrington. The walkabout at Barrington went well on the Sunday, particularly with three lovely, but insane ladies from the West Midlands who had come down especially to see me. One of the ladies in particular kept hugging me and telling me what a "darling man" I was. Should have gone to Spec Savers, bless her.
Now back to the Holiday Park... When I had first arrived in the morning my impression had been "Oh My God..." It was a heaving mass of humanity perched on a beach. Caravans were EVERYWHERE. The actual area for tents was not bad, but you were crammed in tight, in a sort of cheek-by-jowl arrangement. Added to which the rest of the people camped on the site seemed to only have football shirts, tattoos, cigarettes and swearing to keep them entertained. We therefore quickly christened the site Chav-on-Sea, but if you say that quick enough it sounds like an exotic French seaside town - Chavoncy! We were soon all singing along to the tune of "La Mer" with our made up words of - "Chavoncy, sur-la-Mer, La merde de chien sur la plage" etc etc. Now on the plus side there was a great swimming pool which my six year old son thought was the best thing since sliced bread, and the toilet and showering facilities were excellent and kept almost pathologically clean by an army of Lady MacBeths, scrubbing away at any "damn spot" they came across. It could be quite noisy at night as well, when the chavs got a bit too much "Yob gas" or "tart fuel" inside them, and it was quite pricey as well, so I don't think we'll bother with that campsite again. It was nice to see all my friends despite that and we had some lovely days out at places like Maiden Castle, Bovington Camp and a brilliant curry house in Bridport on the last night! (The Taj Mahal if you were wondering).
On heading for home briefly, I stopped to say a fond farewell to my old Peugeot 406 which I had part exchanged for a Mazda 323, which despite being five years old only had 12,000 genuine miles on the clock. Lovely!
Barely pausing to wipe the grin off my face, Amanda, James and I were then leaping into the said Mazda and roaring off to Welsh Wales and a visit to my parents at their new home in Newcastle Emlyn. We have just got back from that, Amanda and James have vanished off back to Essex and I am sitting here gasping for breath while the dust settles around me. I need a holiday after all that. But not in Burton Bradstock. Hell, no!