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A Gypsy Caravan Weekend - Something Completely Different!
The Roaming Spirit Of The Gypsy
I’ve always considered myself a bit of a ‘free spirit’ I love the outdoors, am passionate about nature and although I have settled down in later years, my roaming ways always raised the question did my veins carry gypsy blood?
When my sister, Jackie and brother in law, Dik told us they had booked a gypsy caravan weekend and did we want to join them, I jumped at the chance - this was an opportunity for the gypsy in me to be set free!
Life seems so hectic these days, we seem to be rushing from one activity to the next, where do all the hours go in a day? I am sure as you get older the days get shorter!
A relaxing and get away from it all weekend in the beautiful surroundings of the Pewsey Vale in Wiltshire sounded so idyllic and inviting.
On The Road!
A Gypsy Caravan Weekend
The gypsy caravan weekend was booked through White Horse Gypsy Caravans run by Polly Carson and based in Pewsey Vale. Polly's love for her horses is reciprocated by their love for her which was so evident by their immediate excitement every time she appeared.
The three night break is well organised and Polly so friendly, helpful, fun and welcoming that you immediately realise, this is where you belong and three nights is nowhere near long enough to live a dream!
Meeting Jack and Tom - A Couple of Characters!
A Well Organised Route
The gypsy caravan is perfect for two people with a bed that opens out, storage space and even a small stove. Although I pleaded with Jackie and Dik there was no way they could squeeze Nick and I in for the night too! So we booked our overnight accommodation at Weir Cottage in Patney Weir. This was perfectly situated for our route and we even drove the caravan past the cottage on the Saturday!
The three day break is well organised, with a daily route set out to encompass the beautiful secluded quiet villages along the country lanes, that conveniently incorporate the local pubs for lunch and evening!
Polly reassuringly checks in on us at our stops to ensure we are where we are meant to be and still sober!
Grooming The Horses
Meeting Jack And Tom
Although Jackie and I were both brought up with horses in our lives, we knew nothing about harnessing a horse to a caravan. So firstly we were trained by Polly on how to harness the horse, generally look after him and given our route for each day.
We were introduced to ‘Jack’ our horse and ‘Tom’ who pulled the other caravan, Polly has two caravans that work the same route over the three days within about half an hour of each other.
We groomed Jack first thing in the morning and after our lunchtime break. There was something reassuring about having a curry comb and dandy brush in hand and Jackie and I soon began reminiscing about our childhood days of when we had our own pony ‘Bandit’
We brushed Jack’s coat until it was ‘gleaming’ and then harnessed him up ready to set off.
Polly arrived to check everything was done correctly and after discussing our route for the day, excitement mounted as we climbed aboard our caravan and were on our way.
It's The Gypsy Life For Me!
The picturesque surroundings of the Pewsey Vale, with the thatched cottages and small villages is the ideal location to enjoy at the leisurely pace of the gypsy caravan.
It certainly felt a leisurely pace while sitting on the caravan, but I was surprised when I got off to take photos, Jack set a brisk pace and it proved to be quite challenging to get a decent photo!
Polly bought both Tom and Jack from gypsies and although they were used to pulling a caravan, still needed to be trained to their new environment, work and route.
Not only did Jack react to the rein, he also responded immediately to vocal commands.
Although there was little traffic on the country lanes, there were occasions when we had to pass parked vehicles or cars needed to overtake us. We would tell Jack “Come in Jack” or “Come out Jack” and his response would be immediate.
One of us would be the ‘front walker’ if we were approaching a blind corner or junction, they were responsible to alert and direct traffic.
Enjoying The CountrysideClick thumbnail to view full-size
Thatched PropertiesClick thumbnail to view full-size
Our Lunchtime Break
At lunchtime we arrived at our allocated route stop, a beautiful quiet and peaceful meadow. We detached the caravan and stripped Jack of the harness, rewarded him with loads of pats and hugs and off he trotted to enjoy the meadow.
We trotted off to the pub next door and had a fabulous lunch! After a couple of hours break enjoyed by us and Jack, we returned to the meadow. Jack was happily grazing and looked up at our approach, he knew the procedure and made his way over.
Having Fun!Click thumbnail to view full-size
Our Gypsy Campfire
Our Gypsy Campfire
Our afternoon route took us through more idyllic and peaceful villages, everyone waved as we passed by. The stunning countryside and views seems to stretch for miles, it was a very relaxing and enjoyable experience.
Sunny weather in England is always a bonus, especially this year! Although we had some sunny intervals, there were plenty of showers too.
We arrived late afternoon at the overnight stop, a very pretty meadow, as the clouds were building and the sky darkening.
Although our meadow was next to the Seven Stars Inn, we had already planned on keeping to the ‘gypsy’ theme and would build a campfire to cook our evening meal.
It started raining as Dik collected the firewood, Jackie started preparing the food and Nick and I went to the pub to get drinks.
The Landlord knew we were with the caravan in the meadow and we received a very friendly welcome. The pub was busy and the food smelt delicious, how tempting it was to stay there!
Instead Nick and I carried the four drinks out of the pub into the now pouring rain, balancing glasses and umbrellas as we climbed over two gates and manoeuvred our way past a curious Tom and Jack into the meadow. We looked up and could see smoke, this was promising as we were getting pretty hungry by now!
Although Dik had done a fantastic job of collecting firewood, the wood was very wet after all the rain, so it took some time to get the fire going…..
We tried not to think about how warm and cosy it was in the pub, as we shivered in the now torrential rain - we were gypsies after all!
Three hours later, our spirits lifted as dinner was served, still balancing our umbrellas we tucked into our delicious sausage but somewhat waterlogged lettuce and knocked back our watered down beer and drank to the gypsy life!