So we are back home and feeling chilly in Nairobi (#common UK misconception is that Kenya/’Africa’ is always hot. Sadly, Nairobi just isn’t!! It has been freezing for 3 months now!). Once again we had some comedy and not so comedy moments in our base range hire-car, a VW Golf, built for 30 something professionals cruising from A to B and not for a family of 5 with almost fully grown kids and 8-10 good sized suitcases. Suffice to say quite a few journeys were spent with at least 4 of us buried under bags and zero rear view visibility. My eldest, who is very accustomed to the scenario, generously commented that there was ample airspace in front of her that was not yet filled.
Wetsuits also add a little extra drama to our packing every summer back in the UK. In recent years, wetsuits have featured fairly heavily. When they are needed, they are needed urgently, as most sea based activities are impossible without them. But how bulky are they (again, car space is at a premium)? And how is it that when you really need a long legged, long sleeved one, you only seem to have a ‘shorty’ or vice versa. Hiring is a bit of a rip off, but definitely a good idea for us itinerant, space in the car challenged expats. My husband swerved a long way off the ‘approved purchases’ list by investing in a Quicksilver long wetsuit for himself (the new kind where the neck kind of pulls over your head), which, along with the holiday beard, made him look a lot like Enzo from Le Grand Bleu. Meanwhile, my mum’s house plays host to this array of impulsive holiday purchase wetsuits for the remaining 11 months of the year (including the ones that the kids have grown out of) and she is seriously under whelmed.
We didn’t go to a festival (see Youtube clip below), which apparently is the new big family thing to do this year in the UK (would my teenagers really want me at a music festival with them? Don’t think so) but we were lucky enough to experience ‘glamping’ in Devon, i.e. sleeping in yurts. To be honest, it’s not unlike staying in a smart safari tent but without the ensuite flushing loos. Which is a problem. I love the idea of glamping, but the English should definitely take a leaf out of the Kenya safari book and rethink those loos. As it worked out, we were blessed by some really pretty good weather. Instead of being ‘yurt bound’ we spent the two days almost exclusively outside, right down to the midnight roasting of marshmallows on a camp fire. We did have access to very smart bathrooms with power showers, the only drawback was that they were located one field away. Which was absolutely fine as it wasn’t raining; fine apart from the expected dishevelled walk of shame to the shower block each morning. Fortunately we had hired the place out, so were only at risk of bumping into family members.
The yurts are fully kitted out with a fitted carpet (shoes off at the door), kitchen/food preparation area, even a small dining table. There was a small incident when my 5 year old niece switched on the gas burner in the yurt while my brother-in-law was sleeping. My sister then exacerbated the situation when she tried turning it off but instead turned it up onto full then left the yurt for another 20 minutes before discovering her error. Fortunately the log burner was not lit at that point so no one blew sky high. There was also a kitchen located next to the bathrooms where we did some minimal food prep. I think that cooking in a yurt would have been a step too far for me. There was also a games room (with wifi – phew!) and a couple of self catering stone cottages for the fainter of heart. The owner told us that they sometimes get a knock on the door at midnight when yurt residents complain of the sound of rain on the roof, however, we absolutely loved our stay at The Orchard Retreat and would go back in a heartbeat – as long as good weather is guaranteed.
And finally, for your entertainment….