Our tent had its first airing in almost year this weekend, as we made the trip around the M25 into Buckinghamshire, for Diogenes Friends & Family day last Sunday. This turned out to be our second visit to the same event, having been invited to the very same event this time last year. This year it was even more of an honour as we’d been invited by two different people Emma and Andy. Friday eventually came around and after dropping Ginny off at work, I headed over to Greenglades to collect a few things and to sort out some club affairs. Once that was done, I picked her up in our camping van (please note its a camping van, with camping gear in it and not a camper van..lol) and we headed off for the weekend.
In previous years, we’ve managed to leave at around 3pm as Ginny was working shifts, but now as she’s got a new job, we have to leave at 5.Driving along the A127 Southend Arterial Road was slow moving, as a multi car shunt near Basildon on the other side had slowed the traffic to a trickle, as people slowed down to have a look. We then observed the traffic tail back, before making our way onto the M25. The weather was bright and sunny, despite the forecast which said otherwise, and apart from a broken down car just prior to the Bell Common tunnel, the journey was uneventful.
Arriving at the Maple Cross junction, I took the correct exit and tested my memory to see if I still knew the way to Diogenes. My memory was spot on and we arrived at the gates at around 6.30. Andy was at the other end of the phone when I picked it up at the gate and after the fine welcome, we were left to our own devices to put up our tent and get all the sundries out of the van. By around 9-15pm we were done, as we don’t do travelling light, we then paid our dues and headed out for some fish and chips. On our return everyone had gone and we were left on our own for the rest of the evening, which wasn’t long as it was already 10.30pm, time to eat our food and enjoy the odd bevy.
Then it was time to test the newest piece of equipment we have, our new Outwell Posadas Double foldaway bed. The days of sleeping on the floor or on airbeds seem to be over for us, as it was the most comfortable nights sleep we’ve had, that was apart from the noisy neighbours next door. Being fairly rural around Diogenes there was a Donkey and a Cockerel on the plot adjacent who did nothing but ‘eeyore’ and ‘cockle doodle doo’ for most of the night and early morning, meaning any real sleep was at a premium. Saturday dawned sunny and we were able to breakfast naked under the warm sun and enjoy bacon and sausages, with the accustomed mug of tea or coffee.
Once showered we headed back to the tent as the clouds built up and the weather changed. Its funny being naturists, because you plan your trips and presume that you won’t really need any clothes, as that’s the whole purpose of your trip. It’s only when you get there you realise what you’ve forgotten. Me, I’d left behind any reasonable naturist footwear i.e. flip flops or deck shoes, I’d only bought 2 vest tops and totally forgotten about anything long-sleeve like a sweatshirt or a jacket, if it got chilly. Ginny had only a scruffy pair of jogging bottoms and t-shirt and her work clothes, which she had to make do with, every time we ventured out.
From Saturday midday the weather turned showery as expected and as we’d not brought the things we needed, we had to head out to the shops. We’d been to Chalfont St.Peter last year and not really seen any major shopping centres, so we decided to head towards Gerrards Cross and then further on to Uxbridge. I’d only ever been to Uxbridge once before, when I’d seen the Boomtown Rats at Brunel University over 30 years ago and boy has it changed. After visiting The Chimes shopping centre and doing some shopping we returned to the van with footwear, some clothing and a umbrella.
Unfortunately I’d still not bought any clothing with long sleeves…stupid boy. We had planned to visit the Diogenes stall at the Chalfont St Peter Feast and maybe go to the Clothes Optional event at Butterfly world, but with time moving on and the weather closing in we decided to head back to the tent. There were very few people about when we got back, due to the inclement weather so we spent the next 3 hours relaxing with a bevy, as the rain fell down. Once it stopped we shook the rain off the tent and decided we’d spend the evening having a few drinks and a meal, while watching the football, at the pub called the Dumb Bell just along the lane.
We got in there to see Brazil beat Chile on Penalties and after the meal we returned to the tent for a good nights sleep. The pests of the previous night were a little quieter this time and when we awoke on Sunday, the sun was shining brightly. Breakfast was once again bacon and sausages, cooked by yours truly and for a few hours we lazed about in the sunshine. Around midday we showered and got set, in anticipation to meet the crowds, that would appear at the family and friends event.
Last year the lawn area by the pool, was full of people of all ages enjoying themselves under the hot summer sun. Last year too, it was the first day of hot weather that kicked off a six week heat wave. This year it was cloudy, blustery and it rained. This year everyone sheltered inside, such a shame after all the hard work and effort people had put in. There was a good crowd though and we managed to catch up again with people we’d met in 2013,the 3 Andy’s, Emma, Steve and also met some new people. Halfway through the afternoon everyone came along next to our tent to watch planned photo shoot by a artist/photographer involving some Diogenes members.
With that done we packed up our tent said our goodbyes and headed off home.