Batcombe Vale Campsite, Two Men, No Plans, Bit of Time - Day 2
Having no set agenda is very liberating and between the two of us, 'Silverback' and I decided on Day 2 to follow recommendations. What we liked about this was that this little adventure now had no boundaries we could literally end up anywhere.
Leaving the Stonehenge area we decided to punch in the postcode for the 'Batcombe Vale Campsite'. Uninterestingly to many (but I'll go on), two days previously having parked my Campervan to head up to see my monthly Acupuncturist, a retired chap sitting in the waiting room said to me "Is that a Motorhome? I used to have one similar but we had to sell it sadly". I explained it was merely a Campervan without many of the additional luxuries of a Motorhome but were about to head off somewhere that that evening and I enquired if with his years of motorhoming if he might care to suggest somewhere. Without hesitation he said "Batcombe Vale in Somerset". I thanked him for his suggestion and made a note.
So... with no particular place to go 'why not?' I thought and we were Somerset bound.
The only issue we had was that whilst we two men enjoy some travels there was the small issue of England playing Croatia later that evening in the football World Cup Semi Final. For us, a must see game.
We arrived at the entrance to Batcombe Vale with no idea as to what to expect. To the right were a herd of cows welcoming us in a rather unpleasant 'check out our bums' mooning kind of a way. In front of us was a track that lead down a hill into the great unknown. We followed the track and hoped that we'd not encounter anything coming the other ways reversing back up would have been no fun.
At the end of the track was a large barrel with 'Cider For Sale' written on it - nice start we thought and we continued on into the campsite itself.
To be honest on the back of a long drive we didn't immediately fully appreciate either the views or the tranquility. We drove the small site and kind of thought 'nice' but will we be able to get a signal to watch the football? Do we really fancy staying here the night?
Unsure to both questions we drove off and headed into the nearest village. We struck upon the Four Horseshoes, a pub in a really tiny village of just a few houses, went inside and were greeted by 'Summer' a lovely barmaid. We ordered a couple of pints (beer for Silverback and a more feminine orange & lemonade for myself the driver). The locals were friendly and the bar side local handmade Pork Pies were even more to our liking - gorgeous! Particularly with the accompanying pickles and chutneys.
The pub were bringing in a TV for that night for any locals to watch the football so we asked if it might be possible, if we were eating nd drinking that night to park up and sleep in the carpark. Summer was unsure but thought it would likely to be fine. Without a definite thumbs up, we headed off to see if there might be any local places to park up close enough to walk to/from the pub without causing an issue - sadly there was nowhere obvious.
At this point we had a little chat and kind of came to our senses. What was the point of being out on an adventure and going to the pub to have a few drinks and watch the football. We could have done that at home! So back to Batcombe Vale we headed.
Driving in for the the second time to the small Campsite we parked up on a grass verge near a hookup and took a moment to look around. The place was absolutely stunning. Fields, ponds, a stunning hill with cows graving. It really was perfectly quintessentially English and wonderfully picturesque.
We struck up a conversation with the couple in the caravan closest to us. Both 65..ish they had recently retired to Spain but were back in the UK visiting family for 6 weeks. Not wanting to stay in a hotel they had bought - without seeing it - a caravan and had driven over, collected it and had parked up here in Battle for 5 weeks! And they wee loving every minute of it.
The football was interesting! Firstly I fired up my iPad and watched it on there, then just as half time struck my data ran out and I was disconnected.. panic.... I switched on the phone and watched the second half on there - again just before extra time the data ran out...double panic..... and we were left without a screen..... we sauntered next door to the caravan and sat onto steps watching their TV and with our new neighbours spent some time cussing and cursing each missed opportunity until the inevitable end came and England had lost 2-1.
Silverback had warned me about the local home-brew cider "I can't drink that" he said "it gives me the shits"... undeterred I ploughed on a through a jug of the fine juice to myself.... for £10 you couldn't go wrong I figured.
After much merriment and childish alcohol fuelled belly laughs we crashed out for the night. Silverback spread out on the luxurious ground floor double bed and me upstairs in my ramshackled chicken coop of a parcel shelf.
It was around 7.30am the first gurgles hit me. I awoke sharply with an unpleasant movement in my stomach as things appeared to be shifting downwards inside. Another gurgle and I rolled over and realised that I was minutes, possibly seconds away from an internal evacuation the like the world had never seen. Quickly (and carefully) trying to keep things together and remain focussed I slipped off the parcel shelf almost landing on the great beast below. Another louder gurgle, a small seepage of the smallest amount of gas and needing to vacate the van immediately I very calmly and deliberately said "Where are the keys?".
Now sweating ever so slightly, I was, at this stage, well aware that whilst my travelling companion and I had been sharing an abnormal amount of laughter on this mini break there was more than a strong possibility that if we even so much as exchanged the slightest of humorous looks it would likely have had hideous and unspeakable consequences.
The keys were passed to me. I unlocked the door, bolted from the van half naked and ran arms a flailing as quickly as my legs would carry me to the onsite toilet block. I was also aware our neighbours - who did not know the relationship between myself and my co-pilot - were already sitting outside their caravan, likely looking on with concern and horror.
They likely came to a very quick (and 100% wrong) conclusion as to our relationship when the next moment Silverback stepped out of the van rubbing his eyes with more than a touch of the old Morning Glory! On noticing them he waved, uttered a cheery "Morning" and scuttled back inside.
Of course to our new neighbours it possibly looked as if Silverback had awoken early tried to bugger his companion who was left screaming running to the lavatory holding his rectum whilst he looked around rather dejetced.
Suffice to say the cider had had an effect alright. So much so that upon leaving I restricted an additional purchase to just another 3 litres.
Batcombe Vale Campsite 10/10. Splendid views, tranquil setting, great showers and a toilet block that used to be exceptionally clean.
Our lovely neighbours had given us a recommendation "Hive Beach Hut for a Crab sandwich lunch"... so we turned the key, packed the cider and off we headed...