5th August 2019

Week commencing 05.08.19

Part two of the summer is here, for those of us who measure our holidays by the educational term times. My family and I tend to go camping for a couple of weeks immediately after the end of the school/college term and that constitutes part 1 of the holiday. 

In part 2 we gather our thoughts after a lovely relaxing holiday and face up to some of the jobs we've been putting off all year, and thats where we are right now, ticking off jobs on a list. 

In part 3 of the holiday our thoughts usually turn to the end of the summer and the return to work looming and consequently we usually look for a bit more camping to round off the holiday period.

Whether you consider camping to be a canvas only ‘hair shirt’ experience, or have a broader, ‘sleeping inside a metal box of similar thickness to canvas’ type approach, there is something about the concept of camping that is definitely shared, despite the ‘form’ of accommodation.

Something that has definitely been occupying the thoughts of both ‘canvas’ and ‘sheet metal’ campers, has been rain, more importantly, wind and rain. If I could ever give advice to anyone intending to go camping in the UK in late July or August, it would begin with this - plan for at least one 12 - 48 hour ‘Hoolie’ . A ‘hoolie’ is a term that has emerged, in my mind, in the last twenty years that I have been going with my family to a campsite in West Cornwall. At least I had not heard of it before then, and I tend to think of it as a peculiarity confined to that area of West Cornwall, which maybe it is. That area certainly feels like somewhere separate from the rest of the UK and even the South West peninsula, which is one of the reasons I find it so fascinating and keep returning. A ‘hoolie’ lasts anything from 12 to 48 hrs and is characterised by a unique combination of driving rain and gale force winds simultaneously, while you are on holiday. Therein lies the unique quality. It is common to have rain for a day or two, or gales for a day or two. But it is actually something different to have both, sustained throughout day and night, whilst on holiday. The only other place you might enjoy this particular combination would probably be somewhere like the Caribbean, which might account for the consistently high visitor figures in the South West peninsula. Of course it might also be moors and the beaches, or the sense of history that engulfs one as you venture underground at the Telegraph Museum in Porthcurno, the nerve centre of modern telecommunications. But no, I like to think its the ‘hoolies’ and the way they make you feel that it is a real achievement to collect water, boil it up, find cups, then milk, simply to make a cup of tea or coffee and relax while the rain and wind batters down on your canvas or metal exoskeleton.

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