The sun shone, the children played, the birds sang. We spotted horses cantering past the hut, buzzards soaring in the sky, rabbits frolicking, songbirds tweeting, pheasants calling, a mass of daffodils and hidden primroses. We ate outside, danced round the fire, swung from the trees, hunted bugs with torches and fell in to our cosy beds. We woke to a pink sunrise, birds singing and absolute calm. We had cups of tea in bed looking over the fields and read ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’. Breakfast was in pyjamas and welly boots. On our way home we found a ploughing match in a nearby field; a field of vintage tractors which sent our daughters into a final frenzy of excitement. A wonderful, memorable night under the clear Sussex skies and bright stars.
We are featured in Red magazine this month as one of the 15 new ways to escape!
A moment of contemplation!
Brett’s been busy building our new shepherds hut with two full size bunk beds and a locally sourced wood burning stove built by Martin from ‘Iron Art’ near Polegate.
There are peg rails and little shelves at the end of the beds made by a friend and joiner Dave Lucas, there is also a lovely ladder up to the top bunk. It is about to be painted throughout in ‘salisbury stone’ ready for our guests arrival.
It has been a little makeshift with a work bench on the back of a sawn off landrover in the field at Bentley! I cannot wait to get in there with the new blinds and bedding, should be finished in the next couple of weeks.
Iron Art's wood burning stove built especially for The Rolling Downs' new shepherds hut
Brett's best workbench yet. Thanks to Landrover.
1960s camp cooking
While Brett has been busy building our new shepherd hut, I’ve been clearing out the garage. I found this fantastic 1967 camping book full of recipes for “those who periodically escape to the simple life as an antidote to our everyday prepackaged world”.
Cooking for Campers has some ingenious camping tips. Ideas like cooking sausages in banana skins in the embers of an open fire. Though it does admit that the sausage may come out a bit soggy. Hmm. Or how about cooking eggs in the skin of an orange on embers? Some of the recipes are most definitely from a long gone culinary era. Anyone for canned frankfurters in curry sauce? Orange rice? Ragout of pig’s kidneys?
But it’s also hard not to warm to the genuine love of camping you can sense reading the recipes with titles like, “Cheerful camp chilli”. It makes me think of Joyce Grenfell, grown-ups in knee length socks and sensible walking shoes.
I found this great film from 1964 called “Camping Without Utensils” on the British Pathe archive. And there is an egg being cooked in an orange. It looks totally inedible! But the 60s knitwear is fantastic.
Cooking Without Utensils 1964 - Taken from www.britishpathe.com
Luckily our kitchen inside our main shepherd hut here at The Rolling Downs is fully equipped with a sink and gas hob. But there is a fire pit outside the huts if you do want to have a go at cooking on the open fire. We can even arrange for a hamper of delicious local Sussex food to be delivered for you. We’ll have more news on that soon…