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Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Camping? In England?

Yes, folks, that's right: people in England camp. I know -- I was as shocked as you.

All jokes aside, we went to an area called Ashdown Forest, which is where the Winnie-the-Pooh shiznit was set -- tho, we didn't play Pooh sticks, because it rained.

While there were a few people driving to the site, Dan had the idea that we should walk from the train station at East Grinsfield (yeah, funny names they give their towns...) rather than call and have someone pick us up. He figured it'd be a few miles, maybe take an hour and a half. Not a bad idea at all, given the lovely weather and the beautiful surroundings -- so nice to get out of London and see the countryside!

Laden down with a tent, our food and beer -- the rest was vanned up by his sister -- we started walking.

Now, much like the streets here, the pathways aren't always well marked. We took the Forest Row way, but needed to turn off onto another path... but couldn't figure out which one it was. Had we passed it without noticing it? Was it still further ahead? Was this barely marked one that cut through a field with a bull in it the right one?

Even after asking for directions twice, after a few hours walking, we were still no closer to finding the right way. On the upside, it was a perfect day to be outside. On the downside, we were carrying a tent and beer -- and by "we", I mean "Dan".

It's starting to get dark when Dan spots a potential path to get us to the site. The muddy path takes us thru a dark forest, with overhanging branches blocking the little remaining natural light. Earlier in the day, I'd remarked how the path reminded me of the Headless Horseman movie, Sleepy Hollow, but this, with the ominous feel and surrounding darkness, was much more the right look.

I'm starting to get a bit nervous -- not least because we didn't have a bloody flashlight -- but then remember the largest land predator in England is... a badger.

Of course, this all still has the feel (and plot) of a horror movie. Anyway, Dan then found the road, and we made our way to the campsite, to set up our tent using the glow of the campfire and flashlights. And to eat the food everyone else had made. Awesome.

The next day, it was raining, so we didn't explore any of the Pooh sites. We did play frisbee, and managed to get my frisbee stuck several feet in some brambles before it was retrieved (Thanks Amir!), and then promptly managed to sink it in the lake/pond (Thanks Pier!).

Then we fed some gay ducks -- not that there's anything wrong with that, I know lots of gay ducks, I have friends who are gay ducks -- and packed up and went home. Good times (even without giant fireballs being launched into the forest by neighbouring campers...)


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