Saturday, 29 August 2015

Glamping in Gower

Rhossili Beach, day.
We arrived early.  The sea had reached its high tide mark and had just begun its long slow slide towards the horizon.  The morning sun lit up a sweep of pale sand, stretching from headland to distant headland, bounded behind by grassy dunes.  Ahead, the calm blue water reflected the unclouded sky above it, as lines of white foam pushed unhurriedly towards the shore.



Walking, the immensity warped distance.  Even brisk steps, barefoot on the packed sand, seemed to bring the grey rocks no closer.  Finally I reached the goal and stood triumphant on the seaweed-coated mound.  As I retraced the wavering line of my own footprints, the stick-figure silhouettes ahead resolved themselves into colourful people, and then into my family, absorbed in tunnels, hills and holes.





And wave jumping.  And shell collecting.  And making new friends.  And so many ands that Theo fell asleep in my arms on the way back to the car.

Kennexstone Campsite, evening.
The pan of pasta bubbles on the tiny gas hob, misting the camper van windows.  Theo has turned into an octopus; endless inquisitive arms pressing switches, opening hatches, reaching for the stove (No, Theo!  Hot!)  I extract plates and cutlery from diminutive cupboards, then wave them around helplessly trying to find somewhere to put them.  Outside, Graham and Toby have discovered the games chest and are practising their tennis skills.


Soon the night-time procession will start - adults carrying clanking bowls of dirty dishes to the washing up area, children clutching toothbrushes and wearing fuzzy onesies and wellies.  Toby is excited to climb the ladder to his top bunk and soon snuggles up.  Theo doesn't recognise any of this as bed - not his fenced-in lower bunk, nor the comfortable double in the hut, nor even the fold-out bed/seat in the van.  Finally we strap him into his car seat and he relaxes into sleep as the sun drops over the horizon.  Stealthily we slide him into bed - success! - and open a bottle of wine.





Port Eynon, morning.
sea-splashing
sand-digging
up-hilling
breath-holding steep-dropping
ripple-glittering air-brightening soul-lifting heart-soaring
and back down to
kite-flying
rock-pooling
beach-running
sandwich-munching
bye-waving







Weobley Castle, afternoon.
It has been uninhabited since the 16th century - empty for longer than most houses have been lived in.  But there is still a lot of it left.  Stairs are climbed, windows peered through, fireplaces stood in.  Toby finds imaginary clues to treasure among the ruins, while Theo runs up the grassy bank outside.  Even on this sunny day, the salt marshes make a bleak view, contrasting with the warm green hills we stand on.  Once, this was border territory, fiercely contested between English and Welsh.  Today the only invaders are tourists, and the castle is open to welcome them.  And to sell us salt-marsh lamb for dinner.






And if you're still puzzled by the title: Glamping is short for glamorous camping - all the fun of camping but with a proper bed to sleep in!  And in our case, towels, cooking utensils and a small bottle of fizzy wine provided.  We stayed on the Gower peninsula in South Wales, home to reputedly some of the best beaches in Britain - and had two days of beautiful weather to enjoy them.

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