The drive north, from Surrey to Yorkshire, took well over six hours. Two and a half hours longer than we’d expected, thanks to the mass Bank Holiday exodus we’d forgotten entirely would be happening this weekend when we planned our trip away. In those six plus hours, we between us worked our way through far too many jelly sweets, a couple of coffees (thank you service stations), popcorn by the messy handful, and a few rounds of ‘would you rather’. The landscape got greener and greener as we drove, the skies got wider, and eventually we turned down a tiny country lane marked with a tinier sign that said, simply, ‘JollyDays’. We even had to stop to let some hares pass as we drove down the lane, and realised there and then that the trip was set to be a magical one.
Our first night under canvas was lovelier even than we’d anticipated. The wood burning stove kept the tent toasty throughout the evening, and the charm of whistling stovetop kettles and reading by candlelight and being totally screen-free was a novelty to us both. We woke early the following morning, to soft bright light pouring in through the white canvas tent walls. Jason stoked the fire and set about lighting the barbecue outside, and I got to work on the coffee.
We’d arrived the previous day to a kitchen (a kitchen, in a tent! Complete with gas hob, a teeny tiny Welsh dresser, and hot running water!) stocked full of breakfast ingredients, all wrapped up in the sweetest (and most Instagrammable!) brown paper bags. The menu included a couple of eggs, sausages, a couple of rashers of bacon, tomatoes and a handful of mushrooms, not to mention the loaf of perfectly crusty bread and little pat of butter. In true man-make-fire style Jason took charge of all the cooking this weekend, and lived up to his reputation within our family as Barbecue King. It left me free to tinker about taking photos of milk swirling through black coffee and listening to the bird song and watching the deer bound through the fields out back from our tent, which, it turns out, is my very favourite way to spend a morning in the forest.
We settled down to eat at the little picnic table right outside our tent (just next to the barbecue, and under the cover of an awning), slicing and toasting bread right on the grill until our supply of butter ran out, and making endless pots of fresh coffee. I’m not sure if it was the smoke from the charcoal, the flavour imparted by a well-seasoned grill, or just the novelty of cooking and eating our breakfast in a little clearing of birch trees outside our tent, but it was easily the tastiest breakfast I’ve had in a long time.
And since I haven’t stopped daydreaming about the experience since, I think I’ve caught the camping (or rather, ‘glamping’) bug…
More from our adventures in Yorkshire to come…
* Thanks to JollyDays for having us to stay in one of their beautiful tents. A total dream weekend!