12 September 2009 (Saturday) - Sumners Ponds

This morning was my Saturday morning to work. So I got that over and done with as quickly as possible, and then home. A quick cheese roll, and then off to deepest Sussex.

For some time a group of friends have periodically been camping at Sumners Ponds, and for some time I’ve been meaning to go see the place. It took about an hour and a bit to get there, and it would be tricky to find without scrat-nav, but it was worth the journey. We arrived to find Colin flying a sea horse. An impressively huge sea horse. It turned out that he’d ordered a five metre kite, and the people who made it sent a 10 metre one by mistake. We then wandered over to exchange insults with Dave who hadn’t spotted us, and then we spent the afternoon just relaxing with friends, flying kites, strolling around, and generally slobbing about.

Having heard so much about Sumners Ponds over the last year, my mission for the day was to “case the joint” with a view to camping there in the future. With a field to ourselves (away from the normal people), a toilet on site, and a café and shower block just a short stroll down the lane, Sumners Ponds is the ideal camping venue. It’s also got all sorts of footpaths going here and there which would be ideal for walks, and the ponds would seem to be excellent for fishing – I saw some rather large carp being landed.

We arrived about 2.30pm, and the idea was to stay until 5-ish. At 6pm I went to Tescos with Dave for some beer. Having had three separate offers to join people for tea, we stayed for the communal barbecue, and seriously considered the offer of staying in the spare caravan overnight.

As we came home shortly after 9pm, I found myself reflecting on camping in general. Each year we have four camping trips. We go from Friday to Monday, because with so much luggage, it’s not worth the effort for one night. But the luggage is mostly the cooking tent and all that goes with it. With a café on site for brekky and the communal barby on a Saturday night, we don’t need a cooking tent. We’d need a tent to sleep in, sleeping bags, and a change of undercrackers. There’s an off-licence just down the road which sells local beers - going for one night would be easy.

Three of my annual camping trips are to kite festivals. And the bits I like most are the Fridays and the evenings - the times when the “normal people” aren’t there. And Bat-Camp is great because being on private land, there’s no “normal people” anyway. At Sumner’s Ponds we’d have a field where it’s just the kiting people. No normal people in the way.

I’ve asked Colin for the dates of the next weekend at Sumners Ponds. I shall be there….

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