The weekend had been set aside for dull but essential pre-holiday jobs but, as my good friend Rachel said, no one ever goes “Hey, remember that great trip to Next….?”. So we slacked it all off and went away in Bernice instead.
Our last minute destination was The Sunnyfield in Stelling Minnis, not far from Canterbury. As you will be aware, the weather had been glorious for weeks but just as we arrived the sky took on that strange swirly orangey, grey look before the mother of all thunder storms. And boy, was there a thunderstorm. Massive big fat raindrops clattered into Bernice for hours, the wind howled and lightning fork after lightening fork split lit up the sky.
We offered up our usual thanks to the gods of camping that we did not have to put up a tent in the rain, put the kettle on and played a few games (more on that later). The weather was so bad we were forced to get ready for bed without setting foot outside which was a bit like human Tetris. “You sit in the roof and I’ll get the bed out. Then I’ll scrunch myself in this corner while you clean your teeth” etc.
The Sunnyfield is definitely in the new eco-friendly “cool camping” relaxed tribe of campsite. There’s composting toilets (the doors are difficult to lock which makes it a less relaxing experience), a shower in a horse box, a wood fired oven for pizzas on a Saturday night and campfires are allowed (yay!).
We weren’t actually in the eponymous sunny field due to our late booking but in the Orchard at the bottom of the substantial hill. Tents and campervans are allowed (obviously) on huge pitches and there’s glamping in bell tents available.
Saturday dawned gloomy and damp but the forecast was good for the afternoon so we headed to Wye for a few essentials then on to Perry Court Farm Shop about 5 miles away. They have a beautiful shop and great cakes in the cafe. They also have a little plant nursery and I saw fit to buy an unfeasibly tall mint plant which was a right pain to keep upright for the rest of the trip.
The afternoon was gorgeous in that bright, breezy way that you don’t realise you’re getting sunburned – see pizza picture below. For Scott’s birthday this month we bought the card game Exploding Kittens and we’re big fans. It’s kind of like a really surreal Uno where you have to avoid getting killed by an exploding kitten. It’s surprisingly addictive and we whiled away part of the afternoon with a few games in the sun.
SC picked up a couple of pals and they amused themselves riding around on the wheelbarrows in the car park (actually meant for people to take their stuff from their car up to their tent – it’s strictly car free on the site).
I went for a walk up the hill – spot the Bongo…
In the evening we sampled the wood fired pizza, cooked to order, and it was excellent. We had also made some pals so we spent the evening declaring mutual admiration of each other’s bell tent / Bongo sat around their campfire drinking the local beer which is available at the makeshift bar.
I liked the Sunnyfield and I liked it more as the weekend progressed. I’m sure it’s not in keeping with the vibe they are after but they could do with more signage. The boundaries are not at all clear on the site, what’s the owners’ private garden and out of bounds, whether you can visit the animals (chickens and pigs) or go in the veg garden etc.
The weather had turned rainy again this morning so we headed off early. Those jobs had not done themselves in our absence and my band were playing at Regents Park bandstand at 3pm (big shout out to City of London Brass band 🤘🏻!!).
It’s only FIVE days until our summer holiday to Stuttgart and the Black Forest. I need to confess that we are not taking Bernice, it’s a fair trek down to the south of Germany with a 7 year old. I’m sure others have done it but they are braver of heart than us. We’re booked onto a Eurocamp site in a static caravan, I won’t know what to do with all the headroom!
Any recommendations for the Black Forest I’d love to hear them in the comments.