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THE GREAT BRITISH CAMPOUT

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AD – This post is a collaboration with Go Outdoors to support the Great British Campout in raising money for the NHS during the Corona Virus Pandemic.

Bangers and Burgers

THE GREAT BRITISH CAMPOUT

Uploading our photos from the Great British Campout, I sat here last night smiling to myself. The lockdown hair in these shots is phenomenal. Never before has there been so much hair in this house – since the huskies, that is – there’s SO much hair on my boys’ heads at the moment that when I look at past photos of them, they look practically hairless to me.

So lockdown hair is the new norm. The boys are like blond and mousey brown versions of Shaggy from Scooby Doo. After Hero’s initial Bruce Lee style self-haircut at the start of lockdown, it’s grown back fast. I watch him flatten his fringe across his forehead in contemplation of another quick snip nearly every day and chuckle to myself. Haircut day 2 is coming.

I realised this week after my mom posted a few photos of me and my sister on her Facebook that hair is an important factor in remembering what we did when in our lives, and so seeing these scruffy-haired little creatures of mine bopping about in the sunshine makes me smile. These times, we won’t forget – and when they show their families in the future, they’ll smile too.

LOCKDOWN FOR US

So as neither Gav or I are key workers, and because we want to protect those who are on the frontline during this pandemic, since March 16th [my birthday!], I’ve left the house and closed the door behind me for a total of 13 times. Six trips to the supermarket and one to the pharmacy in the car, and 6 walks around our local area when I’ve had PMT and desperately needed it. Since March 16th, my children have left the house 0 times. Not once. Not. At. All. Gav has left the house twice to deliver food to his parents, and the rest of the time we’ve been here, in our teeny little house, living on top of each other and trying our best to get along. It’s not a hardship compared to how others are sacrificing and risking their health to save people from this pandemic, and we wanted to find a way to say thank you, and help others to do the same. Then we had an invitation to the Great British Campout over May Bank Holiday.

WHAT WAS THE GREAT BRITISH CAMPOUT?

Basically, a way to have fun and raise money for the NHS at the same time. To join in, people simply camped in the comfort of their own homes and gardens, and money was raised by donating your “site fee” that you’d normally pay at campsite to the NHS fund raising efforts and towards supporting the amazing people of the NHS. We decided we’d better camp in our home as opposed to our garden which is on a slope which means we’d roll down the hill every time we tried [has happened before] but we stayed outside and played games and BBQed all day. To date, the event has raised ¬£171,000 for www.nhscharitiestogether.co.uk. That’s incredible. You can still donate to the event here:

www.justgiving.com/fundraising/greatbritishcampout or visit their Facebook page here: www.facebook.com/GBCONHS. We’re so proud and honoured to have been a part of this incredible show of support.

When Go Outdoors asked us if we’d like to be involved with the Great British Campout to raise money for the NHS, we were beside ourselves with gratitude that they sent us a gorgeously sturdy Weber kettle BBQ that was so impressive that my Dad, shielding 140 miles away, spotted it on our Instagram stories and even commented. He couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing as our usual BBQ is our trusty, rusty fire-pit that the boys use to learn how to start their own fires for scouting and make s’mores with their friends.

Strongman with huge marshmallow apparently.

WHAT HAS THE NHS DONE FOR US?

We all know how fortunate we are to have the NHS. Our American friends marvel over it and envy our ability to be taken care of without fear that we can’t afford it or that our lives will be ruined by debt due to needing treatment. It’s truly mind blowing and we take it for granted constantly. Over the course of our lives, the NHS has been there for us countless times. This year alone, my dad has been continually treated for his cancers as he has for the past few years, and Hero has been taken by ambulance to the hospital unable to breathe properly with croup at 1am. During my lifetime, I’ve witnesses doctors and nurses and surgeons working miracles to save my mom from a massive brain haemorrhage, take care of my granny through multiple strokes, investigate my own pregnancy blindness, facilitate the safe delivery of all three of my boys, and see us through Jensen’s terrifying bout of swine flu when he was just a baby. I mean, I could go on. They’re just amazing – and they deserve so much more than they get, every single one of them. My mom worked in the NHS for the last decade of her working life and it was thankless, exhausting and with huge sacrifice, but she never gave up.

BACKYARD BBQ

So the campout. I’ve grumbled for YEARS about my garden, but this summer I’ve smiled gratefully at it every time I’ve opened the back door. It feels like Narnia out there and I see it with the best, rosiest of tinted glasses. It’s blissful.

And whilst it goes without saying, it’s been a horribly cruel year so far – at least we have the sunshine – and nothing brings a smile to your face like sunbeans, as Hero calls them. So Gav assembled the Weber Barbeque as I admired its beauty and we solemnly acknowledged together that never again would it be as sparkly and precious. Jensen collected the BBQ tools ready for the big Great British Campout grilling session, and we got stuck in.

BBQ tools at dawn

He might have been encouraged to do a little posing too. Apparently this is his Deadpool BBQ pose.

Jense decided to take a load off from BBQing

So we got started and it was all lovely and tame, the burgers and sausages were being turned merrily and I was happy the smoke had dissipated so I didn’t feel bad for the neighbours.

On the menu for the GBCO
The King of the Grill
Jensen guards the BBQ

Then we got a bit too brave. Shrimp anyone? Yes, flames went up, and the boys were whooping with excitement at the clearly superior barbequing action. Prawns are a big hit here – even more so now they think that they can get flames like this every time….

Accidentally flame grilled prawns.

When the flames died down, we got back to grilling with less risk to our eyebrows and sat around the table as I disgusted the boys by making buns out of lettuce, which is apparently dis-gust-tang. Pffft.

Stay back, BBQ champion at work

It’s probably because we usually don’t get much of a heatwave here in the UK, but it’s also absolutely because when the sun comes out, so does our BBQ. Grilled food and al fresco dining. Dinner always tastes better sat at a table outdoors.

THE FIRST BBQ IS THE BEST

Burgers and Photobombs…

Not only was this meal special as we were raising money for the NHS, but it was our first BBQ of the year. As a family, the first BBQ of the year is always a huge deal.

Rainbow plates, a lockdown gift from our lovely friend Grace, Perfect for an NHS BBQ.

CAMPOUT ACTIVITIES

If you were taking part over the three days of the Great British Campout, there were activities being streamed to take part in [yoga, cooking burgers….all the good summery things] over the bank holiday and people all over Great Britain pledged money and tagged their photos as they had fun staying at home in their backyards and gardens. The weather was amazing, spirits were high and it was truly like being on holiday in our back garden.

A boys full of prawns is a happy boy at the Great British Campout

The boys LOVED it. We had chunky Aberdeen Angus burgers and apple-dotted sausages, and juicy tiger prawns [that were accidentally flame grilled], and we sat in the garden until late evening whilst the flames died to toast marshmallows and make s’mores. It was just brilliant and for a while it was possible to pretend that what was happening in the world just wasn’t happening in our backyard. It was a real summer memory to treasure, and all for the best of causes.

Thank you Go Outdoors for inviting us to take part – we’re still not the best at yoga, but we grill a very tasty hamburger ūüėČ For more photos from our Great British Campout, head over to our Facebook page!

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3 Comments

  1. This sounds like a great idea! I would be so happy to join your campout! It is going to be a wonderful adventure! Let’s do it!

  2. So far, the event has raised over ?96,700 which will go to NHS Charities Together, and another Great British Campout was being organised for the following weekend.

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