We’ve just been home for a few days, still buzzing from seeing so many of our friends and family as well as the stunning scenery of England and Scotland. But also it was great to be back in our Devon community. And it still is, delighted to say, community here. Most of the people in our street have known each other for many years. We’re still quite new to Devon but the welcome and friendliness has been second to none (and I include my travels around the world when I was in my 20s). Most of Devon is still like that. We think it’s why, as well as the stunning scenery and beaches, so many people head here on holidays every year. 🙂
A few of our new neighbours mentioned – with smiles – they’d seen us on ITV’s Good Morning Britain, then we were in the Plymouth Herald as well as on BBC Radio Devon, but really no one was that fussed and we were pleased with that. We love that most Devon people are still humble people, who live by spirit rather than ego. We hope our two boys – born in Devon – keep that quality and are just as lovely as those around us!
While we were back home for those days, we were also asked to do TV that was interesting and bizarre – sat in the BBC studio one dark and wet Plymouth evening the day before Guy Fawkes Night, we went out live to a million Aussies on the country’s most viewed breakfast TV show!
It didn’t stop there as we had to usher Daniel and Darley away from running outside a studio where they were filming that evening’s local BBC TV news reports. We still wonder if viewers think the screeches in the background were from fireworks, but we know the truth of this particular plot…
While we were entertaining the Aussies like they’ve not been entertained since Shane Warne retired from Test cricket, our beloved Swift Escape motorhome was receiving some beauty treatment and a thorough check from the team at Marquis Devon (UK’s biggest motorhome dealers) following our bump with a loose lorry tyre at 60mph. In fact the teams at four Marquis places around the country have helped us stay on the road so far (the others are Sussex, Northants and South Yorkshire) in our four weeks on the road.
Then it was back on the road! We went to stay at the excellently peaceful campsite in the beautiful Chiltern Hills at Radnage where you can meet its friendly and helpful owner Simon. Here I duly drove onto a soft bit of newly grassed area that Simon had mentioned not to drive on to, and we got stuck. He got his Landrover and together we worked to get our motorhome out and ready for the road.
We also made a trip to Coventry to visit the excellent bunch at The Camping And Caravanning Club HQ there. There we met the people who’ve helped make our trip and project happen – from those that organised our travel insurance for Europe to others who’d booked all our campsites after we’d called them with our long list of places where we wanted to stay.
We also met our new friends Kim and Matt who’ve been helping us spread the word on our Project as well as the Club’s Director General, Robert – and throughout we have been struck by the team ethic of the Club (as well as the fact that everyone we’ve spoken with there is great fun, reflecting the fact that they’re in the fun business of holidays!).
We started to think about teamwork and how our trip has enhanced the strong Hurst family team, how camping does this as everyone pitches in with the various jobs such as filling up with water (expect to get wet if doing this with a five-year-old boy!), cleaning up, cooking, washing up and so on (and yesterday evening while washing up the man next to us who was washing his pots up even took our frying pan from us and gave it a scrub with his much better scrubbing brush!).
When camping – although very relaxing – there’s no room for slackers! Everyone pitches in and that’s all part of the fun. There’s a sense of community on campsites that much of the modern world has lost now.
On our trip so far we’ve met many close families, including Debs’ uncle David and auntie Carol. When we met them at a forest in Bedfordshire their four grown-up children also came along, with their own children. It was obvious how close they all are. We chatted about this, and how many families hardly stay in touch these days. David put it down to the fact that they always helped each other – not least when they went on their regular camping holidays in their caravan.
Camping is the ideal team-building exercise. We’ve heard of big companies taking their employees on camping trips – and why not! If you work for a company and want to enhance the team ethic we can strongly recommend hiring some motorhomes and taking off for a long weekend. Your group will be as unbeatable as Arsenal’s Invincible team that went the entire 2003/4 season with out losing!
Our Facebook community is growing in strength and that makes us all stronger. Make your family and friendships a great community, go camping together – be invincible! Hope to see you on the road then…