Close encounters of the herd kind

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close encountersLast weekend we headed down to Shropshire for a change of scenery and a spot of camping.  We’ve been camping every year for nearly 15 years and every year I’m filled with excitement at the ‘idea’ of communing with nature, cooking over an open stove and exploring my surroundings.  Somehow, the reality never quite lives up to the ‘idea’.  But, in a masochistic sort of way, I enjoy the uncomfortable sleeping, the 5am dawn chorus, the rain showers and leaky tents, the midges, the toilets located 5 minutes from your pitch and the cold nights etc.

This year was particularly cold after we forgot to bring some vital equipment, namely the sleeping bags (amongst other things).  Before you judge, I recently spoke to a friend who forgot the family tent on one trip, so my incompetency levels haven’t quite hit rock bottom.

This year our destination was The Buzzards a delightful little campsite (listed in Tiny Campsites, by Dixie Wills) on an organic smallholding.  Elaine, the owner, is full of beans and more than happy to help you with anything you may need (including sleeping bags!).  She handily sits on the tourism board for the area so can supply you with a leaflet or map for every nook and cranny worth visiting in the area.   If you fancy exploring some quintessentially English villages, taste testing cider, tromping around medieval ruins and beautiful countryside, then Shropshire is a good choice.

Now to the cartoon.  Yes this did happen.  We did get chased by a large herd of cows (approximately 22 of them) across two fields and over a fence.  I have video footage though it is mainly of the ground whizzing past as I run for safety – accompanied by a soundtrack of “wait for me” and “oh my God!” and lots of heavy breathing.  On reflection, I think the cows were more intent on getting a closer look at us, but having read numerous stories of people being trampled to death, I didn’t want to take any chances by facing up to them.  Except of course to film it!

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Public Toilets

Toilet CHATThis genuinely happened to me yesterday… I was minding my own business in the ladies toilet when out of the blue (err…cubicle) a little old lady started to talk to me.  Or should I say talk at me.  I’ve been pondering the statement – what problem(s) was she referring to? Was she suggesting I take heed, book a flight to Switzerland and check in to Dignitas in the morning? Or, was she simply commenting on her own gastro-dilemmas?  I shall never know.