Now I understand to readers not on The Island (and visiting friends were very taken by the fact that everyone here including us calls it “the island”) that Parkhurst means, if anything at all, the prison. But if you live here and say you’re going to Parkhurst you probably mean that you are going to the forest. Now some of you who live here may be surprised by the fact that we were camping at Parkhurst as there isn’t a camp site. There is however an education field with a standpipe!
For as long as I can remember the Learning Zone have been camping at Parkhurst. I have always put it off. No toilets, hay-fever and a younger child who might go wondering off in the woods with no limits on his activities. But by this year I had really lost one of the excuses (at 8 he has probably been big enough to be responsible for at least a couple of years), my hay-fever has calmed down a bit by this time of year and I decided that as Rebekah was desperate to go I would brave the open air pit toilet.
We started on Wednesday with setting up our tent and then helping to put up some of the marquees. Then like cowards we scuttled off home again. Rebekah had an ECDL exam to go to and then a revision session on the Thursday so we were not going back until Friday.
In the mean time we made huge vats of veggie chilli for Friday’s dinner.
Lots and lots of veggies, it was only at this point that I realises I didn’t have a big enough pan to cook it all in! Cooked all the veggies first then mixed in tomato sauce in lots of different pans.
So back to Parkhurst on Friday and no escape to toilets and showers until the next Wednesday – was I going to cope. Yes I was – it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be but sitting on the toilet in the rain holding onto an umbrella is a truly unusual experience!
So some of the experiences in Parkhurst camp.
We had a fire every night I was there, sharing, wine (only the grown ups and I was so impressed with Shane’s apple, sloe and blackberry wine that I might even give making it a go myself), chocolates, crumpets, songs, games, warmth, conversation etc.
Teenagers looking particularly intelligent:
Levi reading Rebekah a bed time story (before the broken jaw incident!):
The Dungeon. The small marquee given over to playing D&D, Pokemon and magic cards and to small boys who practically worship the ground Alex walks on – it’s only incredible that Jonathan ventured out at all:
I was quite impressed that when Jonathan had the chance to go to the Holiday Bible club at Shanklin URC he was keen to go. I thought he wouldn’t be able to tear himself away from The Dungeon.
One of the things I love about home education and the Learning Zone is that there is such mixing of ages and sexes. The younger kids particularly loved the big boys:
This shows some of the typical camp activities knitting, reading and eating:
More typical activities – circus skills and bike repairs – we think Caleb should charge – he did a good job on Ruth’s flat tyre:
The little kids enjoyed themselves too, putting on shows and washing babies:
There was lots of wildlife too, here is Harry and the Frog:
We had a great time at Parkhurst, it was really relaxing and I enjoyed spending time with lovely people who I feel privileged to know. But I did enjoy getting back home to a flushing toilet.