I love making tea outdoors (it always tastes better) and last week in Sweden I got to learn a new method.
Usually we use Adam’s pocket rocket and gas canister or we boil water on a campfire or suspended from a tripod. Adam has shown me a Finnish candle before but I hadn’t tried it myself…. until now.
To get us started he canoed over to the shoreline, leaving me marooned on our little island and felled a dead pine tree, bringing back a seasoned log and some small twigs and birch bark.
He split the wood in quarters lengthways and positioned the four pieces together with a small gap between each.
I placed little amounts of birch bark in the gaps at the base
and fine then slightly thicker twigs towards the top.
The whole point of this Finnish candle was for me to learn and it took me eight matches to light (because of lots of heavy winds and my general bushcraft inadequacies).
Once it was going though, there was no stopping it and we had hot tea in no time.
Sitting there chatting and eating lunch I noticed how long the candle continue to burn and give out heat with just one log.
It lasted long enough for us to enjoy our engagement chocolate which took……well, not very long at all actually!
Tonight I will board a flight to Stockholm Skavska Airport to meet Adam after three weeks apart. I’m sure he will be extra hairy.
Adam recently built a wood and canvas canoe – a lifelong dream for him – and he drove it out to Sweden to test.
In his car I packed a bag of clothes (3 jumpers, 1 fleece, 4 base layers, one summer playsuit and bikini just in case 😬, a pair of shorts, two pairs of leggings, waterproof trousers, 1 towel, underwear and my toiletries) so I wouldn’t need to take them on the flight.
The bonus for me is a cheap £31 flight with just a small bag.
When I say small bag I really mean it. My friends tease me for my small cases but I really can’t be bothered with carting tons of clothes and things around.
We don’t actually have any plan for our trip other than knowing what time and day our Eurotunnel crossing is. Everything else is yet to be decided 🤗
Adam already has our camping equipment so we have what we need wherever we end up;
– two person tent
– double sleeping bag
– camping stove and pots etc
– roll mats
That’s about all we need I reckon. Simple is best. Back packs and jumpers are also pillows don’t you know.
I stuck to the minimal theme when packing my teeny weeny case and day pack.
I loathe going on trips with tons of stuff – it’s just more to organise and more things to lose if you’re anything like me. Adam and I are trying to declutter our lives too so this is all good practice 😁
As I have warm clothes already out there, all I have packed is my favourite boots ever (which I’ll just wear to travel), my Rab Gillet which is so cosy, and my waterproof Mountain Equipment jacket which I got for a real bargain.
Food and drink is just the ‘essentials’ of course
-I love peppermint and liquorice tea and no milk is needed – just add water. Adam will probably also make pine needle tea or something wild.
– Jumbo marshmallows because it’s not camping unless you eat at least five of these toasted to perfection.
– Home made fruit leather made from apples and damsons and designed to satisfy our sweet cravings in the middle of nowhere
In terms of bits and bobs, I don’t need a lot.
– A hot water bottle is my treat item in case it gets chilly – for me the most important thing when camping is being warm.
– A head torch is a must for hands free light.
– Sunglasses. I haven’t checked the weather but I’d hope for a little glimmer of sunshine over the next week.
– Power adaptor. Shouldn’t need this as we have portable phone chargers out there but you never know and we might need to charge them when we stop at cafes etc.
– A selfie stick of course, there’s only the two of us so if we want any photos together it’s a must 🤓
– Vaseline because I hate having dry lips but it’s also a useful fire lighting item
– A metal straw cause I certainly won’t be using a plastic one and you never know when a straw may come in handy.
– A whistle because you should always be prepared 😇
– Playing cards for when we run out of things to talk about around the campfire😝
– A brand new 16GB memory card for our camera because I’m trying to learn photography and this trip should provide ample opportunities 🤓
And then the flight. This is actually my first time flying alone so I’ve got to make sure I’m entertained.
– The essentials of course are in my Travel wallet which my lovely friend Amy got me. My passport is hopefully tucked safely inside
– A huge tub of chewing gum cause I might be a little addicted
– Four Chunky Kitkats. I actually only packed one for my hand luggage but I’m sure no one will believe that
z- A book of puzzles and pen to keep my brain active and delay the onset of dementia 😎
– A book on wildlife photography (a birthday gift from Adam) so I can swot up on the plane
– A pair of earphones in case I’m seated next to someone who breathes or eats really loudly!! 😂
What would you pack for such a trip? I’d love to know 🙂
It’s my birthday soon – in a matter of weeks. I mentioned this to Adam yesterday, much to his surprise.
Last year we went to Scotland and with it being such a long drive we broke up the journey by camping halfway up at a quiet little spot. On the morning of my birthday Adam made me a tasty breakfast and even let Tilly have a little bit ❤️
When we finally reached Scotland many hours later we had a few drinks
and stayed at the stunning Glengarry Castle which allowed dogs 🙂 and Tilly slept in a proper hotel room!
The place was beautiful, just on the water and we enjoyed taking Tilly for walks and to drink some proper West Highland water!
It was great except it hammered with rain the entire time! Now I’m ok(ish) about it raining when in a hotel but we’d planned to camp for the rest of our trip. I really didn’t fancy camping in the rain especially with it being my 30th birthday. I was pretty annoyed anyway because we were meant to have spent it in Norway hiking and climbing but my broken arm meant we couldn’t go.
A broken arm won’t stop me camping though and a bit of birthday champagne helps!
That said, showering in campsite facilities with an arm in full plaster and nowhere to hang your clothes or put your toiletries is particularly difficult. Especially when there are no seats to sit on and the lights go out automatically if you take too long. It was an experience!
Anyway, I digress. We checked the weather forecast and headed away from the west coast for a night at Loch Lomond and some afternoon tea overlooking the loch and a beautiful rainbow.
The following day we continued our road trip on to Banburgh Castle in Northumberland where the sun was shining! We hadn’t booked ahead but we had a tent with us and figured we’d find something – which we did 🙂
A great little campsite had a spare pitch for something ridiculous like £7 per night so we booked straight in. Budle Bay – what a cute name!
When we arrived we got some funny comments from a couple of older guys who were staying there, saying that we obviously wanted the ‘posh’ end. We nearly choked on our laughter and then noticed that we were both wearing Hunter wellies and Rab Jackets and probably looked like city kids camping for the first time. What they didn’t know was that these items had all been gifts from family over the years and neither of us ever buy kit or expensive clothing – in fact most of Adam’s clothes he’s made himself!
Our ‘lack of posh’ soon became obvious once we started unpacking the car and putting up our donkey’s years old tiny little two person tent that has been with us all over the place in the last six years. Adam even had to sew the lining together in Sweden after a hole ripped in the mosquito net and ants started crawling in!
We set off to the beach with a bucket and a spade (but not the kind you might be imagining).
Adam fancied a bit of long line fishing so at around 8pm we walked by moonlight down to the mud flats so he could collect some big fat worms for bait.
Tilly and I sat in our little fisherman’s shelter out of the wind and watched!
That night, after we wandered back to camp, Adam put together a ten metre long fishing line which he could carry in his bucket down to the shore in the morning.
Because he was line fishing it was important that we watched the tide go out and come back in so he could scope out where to lay the line and safely make his way back.
It was a sunny day and I had Pringles so I was happy – Tilly had her biscuits and we sat there for hours watching Adam digging for bait and laying his line.
I had his binoculars and watched the kite surfers with awe while Tilly shuffled about in the sand.
It occurred to me that the tide was suddenly coming in pretty quickly and Adam was still out there. The water started coming in between him and us but it was a very shallow and narrow stream and I could see he had spotted it.
Then the stream of water started getting wider and deeper and I wasn’t sure if Adam had noticed and he didn’t have his phone on him for me to call. Eventually he started making his way back towards us and managed to get across with water up to his thighs!
The really funny thing was that the area where Adam laid his line was the last part of the sea bed to cover with water so we named it ‘no fish island’!!!
Later that evening, after the tide went back out, Adam wandered back out to retrieve his line. We didn’t hold out a lot of hope for ‘no fish island’ so I was pleasantly surprised when he arrived back with two big plaice.
Back at our little campsite Adam set about making the most incredible birthday feast.
Tilly and I were instructed to sit by the campfire on a chair with a cosy throw over it and drink our chilled (in the river) prosecco.
Adam went about prepping chips and filleting the fish. He’d bought all the ingredients with him and made lemonade batter for the fish which I was very impressed by. We sat there in the dark with the light from the stove, lamps and head torches while devouring what I can honestly say was the best fish and chips of my life and the best birthday present I could have ever ask for 🙂
The upcoming honeymoon will be our first compromise as husband and wife and we have quite different ideas of what it should look like!
I used to find it really tough when Adam spent long periods of time away from home, be that in the UK or abroad. Initially when he was working overseas I would just stay at home worrying and looking forward to intermittent phone calls and texts to know he was ok.
In September 2013, however, I decided to join him and go along on a trip. The plan was to go to Morocco, initially stay in Marakesh, and then travel on to the Sahara Desert.