..... and what a time they had! We stayed on a Featherdown Farm, which was so much fun and a wonderful experience for the Beautiful Girl. The "tents" (to a seasoned camper, calling these luxurious structures, with their running water, flushing loo, wood burning stoves and comfy beds seems a tad ridiculous) were situated in a field with it's own chicken coop and little pen for a couple of goats, named Tom and Petal by the Beautiful Girl. I wish I'd taken more photos with the blog in mind, so I could show you some of the sights we saw but instead, in my inveterate list-lover's way, I'll have to make you a list of my highlights:-
* watching Beautiful Girl running through the field towards us, carefully cradling a just-laid, still-warm egg in her cupped hands, enormous, proud, look-what-I've-found smile on her face;
* fresh, locally-caught sardines with a Parmesan crust;
* a long, long walk (rather longer than we intended after we mis-interpreted the map!) through beautiful Dorset countryside, singing made-up nonsense songs to each other to keep the spirits up;
* a day at Weymouth beach (this resort was a real surprise to me, I'd snootily imagined tackiness galore but instead we found soft, clean sand, gently lapping sea, a traditional Punch & Judy show and donkey rides - Beautiful Girl fell in love with one of the donkeys, of course and spent the last of her holiday money on a rosette proudly proclaiming "I rode BeeJay";
* tucking up the Beautiful Girl each night in her adorable bed-in-a-little-cupboard, Heidi style;
* campfire stew, made using the farm's own beef, eaten from an enamelled tin cup;
* poking around the weekly flea market and shopping in "Girl's Own Store", stockists of many, many lovely things in the little town of Bridport;
* on a wet and windy day taking a long walk along a pebbly beach, followed by a warming lunch of local seafood soup and a hefty slice of Dorest apple cake;
* Beautiful Girl making instant friends with children from the other tents and experiencing the freedom to run around, inventing games and exploring without constant adult supervision;
* lunch at Wild Garlic restaurant (run by Masterchef 2009 winner, Mat Follas) - elderflower and champagne cocktail, onion tarte tatin, trout en papillote and mixed-berry Eton mess - yum;
* waking up in the night to the pitter-patter of rain falling on canvas;
*finding fossils on Chesil beach;
* sitting in the evening with the Lovely Husband, reading together by candlelight, no sounds except for the crackle of the stove, pages turning and the occasional soft murmur so as not to disturb our sleeping child.
Now we're back home with mountains of laundry, little collections of random pebbles and shells and the smell of woodsmoke in the Heirloom blanket. Best of all though, we've brought home with us just the sort of childhood memories that I want the Beautiful Girl to have.