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Thursday, 1 August 2013

One Girl and Two Dogs on the Bummel: sweat, surprises and Old Sarum.

Missed the beginning? The bummel begins here

The hottest day so far. Seriously scorching. Definitely not a day for dismantling a tent and then pitching it again in the searing midday sun. But, nevertheless, that is what I did today.

I woke up early, ridiculously excited to be moving on, my itchy feet eager to hit a new place and press on with my journey. Therefore I had the luxury of time when packing up, which was appreciated, as the temperature kept climbing and I had to keep stopping for a drink and a rest. Even Harvey hid under the car for some shade, and he's the ultimate sun-worshipper!

It was an easy trip to Salisbury, my next destination, apart from Buttercup struggling slightly with the hills. She's not used to it, poor little car, living in Lincolnshire. It doesn't help that she's loaded to the limit with me, the boys and our various bits of kit. We passed signs for Stonehenge on the way, and I was tempted to pull off there and then, but I thought it would be more sensible to make sure I had a site to pitch on first. I didn't want to get caught out like I had at Oxford! Everyone makes mistakes, but only idiots fail to learn from them!

The site at Salisbury is gorgeous, even if I am pitched furthest away from the toilet and shower block again. If I had a caravan I could park up right next to it... the Club in their infinite wisdom again! It appears I have been exiled along with the foreigners who laugh in the face of electric hook-up. But at least I have my own toilet! I can see Old Sarum from my tent and we're right next to Hudson's Field, which the boys are itching to play on- but it's just too hot.

It took me a good two hours to pitch and set up camp; the heat was so oppressive that I got a headache and had to lie down for twenty minutes until it passed. It was only hunger that got me moving in the end, but first a shower and fresh clothes. The boys were zonked out in their beach shelter so I enjoyed a leisurely shower and deliberately left my hair wet in order to try and stay cooler for longer.

Sitting in the shade was all I could manage for a few hours, eating apples and drinking water, though there was precious little cover from the sun- I even resorted to curling up in the boys' shelter at one point! Abruptly, my tummy rumbled so loud that Alfie twitched his ears, so I knew I had to go in search of some proper food. There was a shop not too far away that I'd seen on the way here, so we headed in that direction, taking it slow because of the heat.

Laden with goodies, we returned triumphant and stuffed our faces on crusty rolls and cold chicken soup straight from the can. Fortified, and with the sun dipping lower and the temperature cooling at last, I took the boys to stretch their legs on Hudson's Field. It was a lovely wander- and led to an unexpected adventure.

We'd sat in the shade for a while to watch a chap with one of those flying-parachute things. He'd let the wind fill the parachute with air and then run down the hill until he ran out of ground and floated above it. I was entranced, and wondering how I would go about having a try, but as far as Alfie was concerned it was the mother of all plastic carrier bags (one of his phobias) and therefore he growled at it non-stop.

Standing up to move on, I spotted a gap in the hedge just behind where we'd been sitting, so we went to explore where it led. We found a lovely circular walk around the first ridge of Old Sarum. The views over Salisbury were spectacular and I was geekily chuffed that I could just make out my tent, far away across the fields.

On completing the circuit, we found a path to the next level and, aided and abetted by a nice German couple who wanted to take pictures, I climbed the steep, chalky path (in flip-flops) to get to the outer castle wall. There I found the ruins of the old Cathedral and spent a good twenty minutes playing in the stones. I was beside myself with joy at being able to go "underground" at one point! I'm such a saddo sometimes...

As the sun set, we strolled back to camp for a well-earned cup of tea and to enjoy the last of the sun's gentle rays, which were as pleasant now as they'd been overwhelming before. I did have a very surreal moment earlier, as I was negotiating my way through the maze of fluorescent yellow guy ropes keeping my tent, canopy and windbreak staying upright. I felt a little like Catherine Zeta-Jones in that film, Entrapment, except in stripy pink pyjamas instead of a slinky catsuit. A nice image to leave you on.

The bummel continues tomorrow...

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