Monday, 13 October 2008

Festival Fifteen

So what do you do when you feel like you're coming down with the dreaded lurgy? Take to your bed? Stockpile the old Lemsip and Vitamin C? What do you do when your head feels like lead and it's your oldest daughter's birthday - why you go camping of course!!!!

Big Sister is very much a creature of the countryside and has been harbouring dreams of a birthday party in the woods since we first went camping in August. Knowing that the weather might be against us (how wrong we were) we booked a yurt for the birthday girl and friends and hired a bell tent for us.

The only word I can use to describe the way we all felt this weekend was blessed (yes, in spite of the lurgy). On Friday night when ringing the campsite to check on our bedding situation the lovely owner told us that they had a surprise for us. Yes, the yurt was booked for Big Sister and the whole trail was deserted, furthermore they decided to let us, the poor parents, enjoy the yurt experience as well. They had erected not one, but two interconnecting yurts for Mr and Mrs Ragged Roses and little sister to enjoy with more comfort than I had ever imagined.

We arrived laden with enough food to feed an army, eiderdowns, the said tub of flying saucers, henna hand paint, face paint, tatoos, warm socks, feathers and the birthday girl.

She had seen the yurt before but wasn't prepared for the fresh prettiness that had been added for her arrival. If I could have bottled the look on her face as she walked into the yurt I would have - wonder, delight, sheer bliss and excitement.

Bunches of fresh flowers, double beds, tea lights, armchairs, heating, welsh dresser, stove,

gorgeous rugs, wall hangings, sheer curtains draping the "Windows" a teenager's dream.

On the other side of the campfire were our little yurts. Looking like two ....well I'll leave it to you to imagine what they looked like, nestled amongst the trees with two little wooden doors. We walked straight into what can only be described as Mr Tumnus" house! Little Sister being a huge Narnia fan looked just like Lucy when she was invited in for tea by Mr T for sardines on toast and a bit of the old panpipes!

Unfortunately the photos weren't that good, but imagine a world in miniature, our own little living room with sofa, shelves, rugs and tealights leading onto the second yurt with a bed, woodburning stove and more candles. It was just enchanting.

We just had time to put up some bunting before the friends arrived and the fun began. Not only did the sun choose to shine in a way reminiscent of midsummer (a proper midsummer that is), but the fields were empty. There followed a day and a half of pure outdoor fun. Fifteen year old girls running wild in the woods, bathing and washing in the stream, painting themselves with mud from the riverbank, swinging from the trees, making headdresses from feathers and foliage, eating for England, singing, laughing (oh what laughter), being free in a way that you can't be in a town.

As night approached and the moon shone down us we sat around the campfire and watched the mist rolling in across the valley.

Its long fingers creeping through the trees and completely engulfing us. We sat toasting marshmallows over the fire, playing wink murder and waiting, oh how long we waited, for Mr Darcy to appear from the mist on horseback. We heard a sound, not horses hooves but the sound of a quad bike - the campsite owner had arrived with a trailer on the back of his quadbike to take them off into the woods to gather some logs for our fire. I wish you could have heard their shrieks of delight as they were driven at breakneck speed across the field through the mist to the woods, we heard them shrieking all the way there and all the way back again.

And so to bed, the tealights were lit and the girls went to their yurt and we to ours. At 2.30am after three hours of Little Sister constantly asking me what the time was, my eyes and nose streaming and the sound coming from the girls yurt reached fever pitch as the flying saucers took their toll I had to ask Mr Roses to ring them up to keep the noise down. You could hear the noise drop immediately the phone rang. At the time it seemed the obvious thing to do, it was only later we realised how ridiculous it was to ring somebody in the middle of the woods who was only a few yards away - but mobile phones seem to be the only things teenagers will respond to!

A misty morning and a raging temperature and M brings me tea in bed, lights the woodstove and we're all feeling nice and toasty (I am perhaps feeling slightly toastier than most). The girls emerged slowly and bleary eyed from the hippy yurt and join us for hot chocolate chez Mr Tumnus. We spend a couple of hours chatting before I muster up the energy to go next door and rustle up their breakfast. They wander off for a morning walk in the mist.

And then the sun breaks through.

Another day of pure blue skies, brilliant bone warming sunshine, long gentle walks, more face painting (just how many times can the word "love" be written on a face?), jumping from hay bales, messing in the stream and friendship.

It was a festival that Big Sister wanted and a festival she got, one of fun, friendship and freedom. We sat and watched and listened to these beautiful girls enjoying themselves, free from the restraints of daily life, completely unselfconsciously enjoying the moment.

When we came home Big sister emailed the campsite owner to thank him. She told him that ever since she was little she had dreamt of finding a place like this and how lucky she was to have found it. How lucky we were to have been allowed to share it with her.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY my gorgeous girl. May your spirit always be free and able to shine as it did this weekend. We love you.


April said...

Oh Kim, what a beautiful post and what an amazing birthday for your daughter - I am sure she will remember that forever.

What an incredible experience.

Please pass on my birthday wishes!

April xx

Mary Poppins said...

Oh what are you like young lady You know I cry easily and you have brought tears to my eyes, I am lost for words and your daughter shall remember her special birthday for ever, and I am sure so shall you
Mary X

Amanda and Tim said...

I wow - now *I* want a birthday party in a yurt in the middle of the woods. What a wonderful weekend you all had - how lovely. Thanks for sharing.

Greentwinsmummy said...

Goodness what an AMAZING time! I loved reading that it was like being there :o) What a perfect way to spend a birthday,she must adore her mummy & daddy so much for arranging such a delight.I have no wish to wsh years away but part of me is SO looking forward to times like this with the smalls :o)
Happy happy Birthday to your dd & I hope your cold is n the mend,I have had a grotter all week grrrpa

MelMel said...

What a super Birthday...amazing!
Wonderful inside....i'm staggered!
Lovely memories.....of a special time....i wish i was young again...such an adventure!xxx

Anonymous said...

You know the old saying..
Starve a fever .. feed a cold.. well you found a much better remedy.. lashings of fresh air.. oodles of happiness and a big pinch of magic.. the best medicine which can't be bottled!
I wish I could have been the Cheshire cat sitting in a tree top above your heads watching the whole wonderful weekend.
Dottie xx

Ali said...

What truly wonderful memories. And a beautiful post too. Happy Birthday to her and health to you!

Thimbleanna said...

Wait! I thought you said you were going camping LOL!

Holy Cow -- what a perfect birthday!!! I'm so pleased for you that everything was so fabulous -- especially the weather. The downside is that is was so perfect, you know you'll be going camping again!!!

Hope you're feeling better today!

Sea Angels said...

How utterly fantastic, I am amazed at the Yurts, how magical is that, yes Narnia indeed. Our young people on the cusp of adulthood, full of the best of lifes energy, their futures spread out before them, enjoying the safe days of youth, it just fills me with joy for you, for them, these days will lodge within them like warm glows of remembered love forever. What a beautiful post Kim.
Hugs Lynn xx

aromatic said...

Your are the BEST Mum and Dad in the whole world!!
Your big girl will never ever forget that special birthday.. those wonderful memories will be with her for the rest of her life!
The post was beautiful, the pictures out of this world and thank you for sharing it with us!!
And now I need a tissue because you have brought tears to my eyes!!
Hope you feel better very soon!!

Jane xxx

Janette said...

wow!! what a lovely post, I really hope when my son is older we enjoy brithdays and the like so happily. It's really heartwarming to read of families spending such fantastic quality time together.

thanks for sharing.


Willow said...

My daughter (14yrs on Weds!) and I have just read your post, and been totally captivated from beginning to end! The story of your weekend and the photos are just magical ... something to treasure, always. Hope you're feeling better from the lurgy!
Willow x

Anonymous said...

That is a birthday to remember, absolutely wonderful. And now I want to go book me a yurt! In fact I want to go live in a yurt!

Pretty Practicals said...

It looks like you all had a wonderful weekend despite the on-coming cold.
I hope you feel better soon,

meggie said...

What a wonderful post. A fantastic gift for the birthday Girl. Happy Birthday to her.
I always wanted to live in a Yurt when I was younger.
What beautiful surroundings you had.

Sal said...

What a fab post and a fab time you all had.It was lovely to read it all. You will surely all remember that birthday forever!!

Hen said...

Wow, that sounds like heaven. What a lucky girl and a wonderful thing for you to have arranged.

Hen x

Country Bliss said...

Oh wow, what a wonderful way to celebrate her birthday, it looked glorious.
Yvonne x

Attic24 said...

Awwwwwwwwww I am actually crying reading this, how totally, utterly wonderful for you all.
Beautiful post kim, now please pass me the tissues, I've gone all snotty

LinenandRoses said...

What an absolutley gorgeous post. I have tears in my eyes. Happy Birthday Big Sister. It sounds like the most enchanting weekend and gives me hope to know that there are still teenagers out there who enjoy the countryside and doing the kinds of things I used to when I was that age. Glad you all had a lovely time. Hope your cold is feeling much better. x

Lesley (Notesfrommydays) said...

WOW i want to live in one of those never mind holiday in one!! what a beautiful post you have done and what fantastic birthday memories for "big sister"
Lesley x

Simone said...

I wish I could have had an experience like that when I was 15 years old! She is very lucky to have a mum like you that makes magical things 'happen'.

This Vintage Life... said...

Well, you've cetainly educated me there Kim. Lucky girl! What a wonderful birthday treat. x

Louise said...

Ooooh how lovely!! I also feel all teary - such a beautiful post Kim. What a totally perfect experience and what a romantic your daughter is. That is the best post I have read in ages!

MelMel said...

Hello Kim!
I'm so pleased with it!
Looks so cute with my posh Boden coat(bought in the sale) i'm having a mini meet up with Lesley and Mary P this Thurs night, will take Stanley with!


Tracy said...

Camping deluxe--love that!! What dreamy photos...Looks like this was a birthday to remember...Happiest wishes to your sweet girl! ((HUGS))

Gone to Earth said...

Oh! What a beautiful, beautiful post and what a memory for you all to share. You obviously struck gold with the campsite owner, not everyone is so caring. I hope you're feeling better too.

I want to go now..... quiet, woods, laughter, streams, friends, blue skies ummm! ...... wins every time.

Heart in the country said...

What a wonderful weekend, its something your daughter will always remember I'm sure. Saying that it's something I would just love to do as well!


Carol said...

Hi Kim, I am back at last. It seems such a long time ago that I last blogged and I have really enjoyed seeing what you have been up to. Your weekend away looks heavenly...perfect...something else on my wish list! I too love camping, it brings you so close to nature and how simple life should be. The best evenings are campfire evenings!
HaPPy BirthDay to your lovely girl.
Carol x

tess said...

what a truly fantastic birthday celebration, it sounds just magical.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why but your post brought tears to my eyes (in a good way!)what fabulous memories your daughter will have, it sounds like the perfect way to celebrate a birthday - whatever your age! Thanks for sharing it with us.X

Elizabethd said...

What a brilliant thing to do! So original, and what fun, all home comforts too. Your girls will remember this, it must have been an amzing treat!

Clover Yard said...

Oh gosh! I'm bawling at this one! What a wonderful mother you are and what a completely fabulous way to spend a birthday.

Heidi said...

Well Kim, I have said it before but it bears are the greatest mum!!! What a wonderful memory you have created for your daughter. I wish I could be your daughter. I have never heard of a yurt but it looks like something an Indian Prince would use for his harem. Just amazing and very magical. I hope you are feeling better too now? There must be something out there in blogland as I am coming down with tonsillitis I think and have no voice.

I hope the magic of this birthday will always stay with your daughter.

Hugs ~

Twiggy said...

That sounds wonderful. I'm glad you had a lovely time in spite of your cold, the yurts look so cosy.
Twiggy x

Anonymous said...

What a magical time. Sorry to hear that you were feeling under the weather, but you certainly made your daughter's birthday special.

That yurt looked so comfortable ~ great photos Kim.

Marie x

kristina said...

That is simply THE most amazing birthday party ever! What a wonderful idea and what a brave mum for organizing it all and soldiering through despite being under the weather. I hope you're feeling much better :) K x

Emma Herian said...

Kim, kim, kim, you are a FANTASTIC and truely wonderful mum! Oh my god, how perfect. I want to be fifteen again and can you be my mum!
Give Big sis a HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me and a Huge X from you know who!
XX Emx

dottycookie said...

Could it be more perfect? How I wish I could have such a celebration, and make one for my children - your girls are very lucky to have you and M for their parents!

Suzie Sews At DOTTY RED said...

Oh my word...what an amazing experience, I think you are a lucky bunch of people and the memories of that birthday will linger for many years...

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim. Amazing! I've never seen a yurt like that before. Trouble is..what do you do next year to better it? Persian Princess maybe! Eli.

Fancy Elastic said...

This looks like a great place. The sort of thing we want to do for our honeymoon.


ps. I've tagged you on my blog. I hope you don't mind!

Country Cottage Chic said...

What an amazing birthday - bet they'll be talking about it for years - one to remember!


Anonymous said...

wow, what an amazing place and such a lucky lucky birthday girl. Can I come to her next birthday pleeeease? If you don't mind me asking where were these yurts? It's my birthday in a few months :-)
lisa x

Garden Girl said...

Oh Kim, how marvellous. Big Sister will always remember such a fabulous experience. You and Mr Roses are VERY cool parents, I hope you know!
Thanks for last week

Berber said...

Happy birthday, big sister! It seems that you've had the best birthday celebration ever!!

ShabbyInTheCity said...

Oh wow! I have seen those yurts on t.v.! How beautiful and what a great birthday. I love the photo with the wellies. Teenaged girls here wouldn't usually even own a pair. I hope you are feeling better Kim.

Kim said...

I know what I want for my next birthday now - what a lovely post and an amazing adventure. I really hope you are feeling better now and treating yourself to some TLC.
Kim xx

Kim said...

What a truly fabulous story. I felt like I'd stepped into a fairy tale for a while there. Thank you :)

Kim x

Betty said...

What a wonderful, magical birthday party! Oh, how I would love to do something like that! I had to giggle at the cell phone conversation. I've been known to call my son in his bedroom to turn down the television because I'm too lazy to get out of my bed and knock at his door.
Wish your daughter a very Happy Belated Birthday from me and my family in California!!

mollycupcakes said...

Wow big sis what a fabulous birthday, may it stay with you forever an dmake you smile each and everytime you think of it.
Belated birthday wishes sweet girl.
Many hugs,
Catherine x

Anonymous said...

My first visit to your site. Sounds like a wonderful time you all had. What a great idea for a get away

Wayfaring Wanderer said...


I stayed in one once, and I hope to live in one made entirely out of wood one of these days.

Here is the one I stayed in by the ocean:
...:::Domed Dwellings:::...