Yesterday we had a bit of an emergency on the site. Faeran came to tell me that her Dad, Martin, had had an accident. Martin, him mum and dad and kids Faeran and Caleb have a seasonal pitch on the site and are up here quite a bit, especially during school holidays. Martin also used to come here when he was a kid and remembers my grandma and grandad.
Anyway, I digress …. I found Martin lying on the ground behind his camper van in a lot of pain. He had tripped while getting out and fallen badly. I called the ambulance. Despite not being able to give me an estimated time of arrival, they got here really quickly (which is very reassuring). The two ambulance drivers/paramedics were lovely, funny, kind, competent people. They assessed the situation, calmed everyone down and set about putting a splint on Martin’s leg. Quick as anything they had him on a stretcher and were popping him into the ambulance.
They were fascinated to hear we had alpacas here so we invited them to come for a visit. I really hope they do come as it would be lovely to see them again and if you have alpacas it is best to share them. I think they thought it a little strange that we would blog about the event, but as Martin said – if you get carried off in an ambulance it really should make the front page of the campsite daily newspaper Smallholding Dreams!
Martin got whizzed off and Mary (Sam’s mum, another regular) looked after the kids and we said we would be on duty for taxi service to bring Martin back here, or take things to the hospital etc. It turned out that Martin had broken his ankle. They plastered it up and back he came. Given he broke his ankle he was exceedingly brave – I would not have been so composed or cheerful.
While the campsite is physically made up of a couple of fields, a rather haphazard (but iconic) toilet block and some water points, its soul is made up of all the lovely people who come here. Some people just pass by for a night or two, others stay for a couple of weeks and some come back year after year. Groups of friends and generations of the same families return time and time again – people remember when my grandparents and parents ran the site, when there was a chalk board showing the pitches, when there were only two fields and when there were no animals. Some people we just say hello to, others we get to know better – the patterns of our lives are knitted together sometimes loosely and sometimes more closely. We peek into each others’ lives, we tell each other about jobs, interests, dreams and worries.
Every year children come back full of the memories of the last time they stayed here, eager to tell me everything they remember about the chickens, the cats, the dogs, the peacock and ‘egg collection’, but also keen to see what has changed. They help collect eggs, train the dogs, pick apples, plant trees and look out for injured chickens. We watch them grow up and hope that like their parents they will bring friends or family back to the site in the future. It is the lovely people who stay here who are the heart of our campsite. This is why if you break your ankle people will sit with you and try and make you laugh with inappropriate comments, will take care of your kids, will ask if it is possible to get an alpaca into the ambulance, and will make sure that news of the event is on the front page of Smallholding Dreams!
Get better soon Martin, you are part of the heart of our campsite and we are sending you our love xx