Memories: The Original Glamping

9 June 2011

You may have read my recent post on Niton, my childhood holiday village. Writing that post took me back to the wonderful holidays I had there. The magic ingredient was a place called Hoyes Farm. Hoyes Farm was where we would stay. It was a working farm with ten caravans perched up high on a hill that boasted a wonderful view of patchwork fields. The caravan site was called 'Meadow View' which was frankly very apt. It is still there today, but in a very basic form. You see much of the magic was directly due to the family who owned and ran the farm and holiday accommodation; the wonderful Brian and Orion Lacey. I probably holidayed there on and off for a good twenty-five to thirty years and it never changed a bit. I took my first holiday there at just months old and my last holiday there as a married women, yet in all that time Brian and Orion never changed; they managed to remain ageless. That certainly says a lot for the country air round those parts. 
My dad used to stay at the same farm as a child in the 1950's when Brian's father ran it. Back then the accommodation consisted of a few old buses which had been converted to house guests for their annual summer vacations. So by the time I started holiday there we were very much old friends of the family. But Brian and Orion treated everyone who stayed with them like old friends of the family. As a child the best thing was being able to get involved in the farm. Brian was always happy to take willing children under his wing. He was a bit like the pied piper with a trail of children behind him. He had all the time in the world for you. I've milked cows, helped herd cows down from the top field, bottle feed lambs, gone on tractor rides and fed the rabbits. 
Down the bottom of the hill was a caravan of an older model that wasn't rented out and as kids we were allowed to go in there. It had a black and white portable television and I can remember watching Top of the Pops on it. As older kids we were allowed to take some of the tame rabbits from their hutches into this caravan with us - I used to just love it; in my own space surrounded by these cute bundles of fur. I loved being on the farm helping out and having that freedom. When told we were off to the beach for the day it was usually met in a rather bitter-sweet kind of way as I'd quite happily just hang out on the farm.

Sadly Brian has since passed on, but Orion still lives in the village with her family close by. It's always a treat to bump into her down the village when we are there visiting my parents. When I think about those holiday's now I know that my children would have loved them. But I wouldn't dream of ever staying there now as it would never ever have the romotest chance of living up to my Hoyes Farm days. I guess I just got very very lucky.

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