Sunday, 11 December 2016

And then there were two...

Almost exactly 10 years ago, the idea for a British Naturism clothes-free event in the south-west of England was born from an idea to visit one its premier attractions, the Eden project without having to be dressed. Whatever you might think of such an idea, there are still plenty of folks who will jump at the chance. Both lifestyle naturists and adventurous bucket-listers love the idea of both the experience and the chance to say they've visited one of the top UK days out without clothes. There isn't a visitor to the tropical dome (below) who doesn't remark how hot it is and how they wish they could suddenly wear a lot less! Plus it's the 'Eden' project...and folks love irony.

Tropical Dome © Eden Project

To accompany the visit, there was an obvious issue of where people would stay, hence to begin with, 'Nudefest' was a means to an end. The visit to the Eden project was a great success and a feather in the cap for British Naturism. Nudefest went on to become an annual flagship event for the national organisation. I previously blogged about Nudefest at Newperran Holiday Park, near Newquay, Cornwall, here. Newperran continues to be a very fine (and still expanding) 5-star holiday park. My visits to Nudefest after it had been extended to a whole week are one of my favourite holidays and a top opportunity for social, happy, clothes-freedom. I even got to visit the Eden Project in 2011. In 2016, things however changed a bit, and for the benefit of everyone not 'in the BN know', here's how...

© Newperran Holiday Park

The naturist community in the UK can be a very close-knit one, whether it be online, at clothes-free venues, on holidays, or at events. This sense of togetherness is a wonderful thing but it does come at a small price. Events will tend to attract close friendship groups and after a fashion, the same groups to the same events. After 10 years this comes across when talking about Nudefest, and an increasingly common comment is one to the effect of 'been there done that'. Although still a fab event, it is difficult to maintain the same motivation once various local activities have been tried. The result was BN looking to move away from its Nudefest venue of 8 years.

In 2015 BN started to push the angle that it needed a larger venue, but I think underneath there was simply a feeling that something fresh was needed. This was a lot harder in practise to achieve! Despite the success of Nudefest at Newperran and the obvious power of the 'buff pound' there remains a lot of scepticism from regular holiday venues as to the worth of investing time and reputation to host a clothes-free event. Fortunately, in early 2016, a new holiday park took the risk and agreed to host Nudefest in a brand new county, and Nudefest at Thorney Lakes Park in Somerset was born. The contrast between Newperran Holiday Park in Cornwall, and Thorney Lakes in Somerset is quite stark. Newperran, with its bar, restaurant, indoor pool and new skate park feels family orientated and commercial, whereas Thorney Lakes, with fishing lake, wildlife and open countryside, feels more rustic and laid-back. Something appeals to me about both venues, and here's the thing, in 2017 BOTH venues will be holding week-long clothes-free events!

Thorney Lakes Camping and Caravanning Park, Langport Nr Taunton, Somerset
Monday 3 July → Monday 10 July
Supported by British Naturism 

Newperran Holiday Park, nr Newquay, Cornwall
Saturday 24 June → Saturday 1 July
Commercial event

© Thorney Lakes
At this point I reach the reason for this blog. In 2017 we now have not one but TWO week long holiday events and an opportunity to do both if desired. Having been to both locations I can honestly say that I would still be overjoyed to stay at either for a full week, and on top of that, both venues are still putting huge energies into providing great activities and clothes-free visits to local attractions for holiday-makers. Never before has the UK had such a choice for those who enjoy clothes-freedom or who want to give it a try. Both are still 24/7 clothes-optional at the venue for the entire week, and both are tremendously welcoming with excellent facilities. And I want to give both a big big plug!

If you are a BN member you might be blinded to the fact that both are taking place, and it's not difficult to see why. BN regards Nudefest as the week-long holiday for 'naturists' in the south of England and would obviously like to promote its own event. There is a bigger picture though. It's one of promoting ALL clothes-free opportunities and giving power to the arm of commercial venues that may be thinking of holding events in a clothes-optional environment. The 'buff pound' is strong and marketing via our culture of being facinated by any news involving the word 'naked' is easy. So although I see BN's point of view of wanting maximum return for its effort in promoting Nudefest in its lovely new location, I believe it should promoting both events...equally. Commercialism is vitally important, both in creating opportunities for those wanting that all-over tan, and to continue the push to normalise this perfectly natural and sometimes more sensible way to be.

I want to use this blog as a starting point for anyone who might be interested in attending either or both of these events and will happily answer any questions about either venue or what you can expect once there. I'm already looking forward to attending both.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

October (or Preparing for the 'off-season')

For me October for the past few years always means the same things and I’m surprised now at much day-to-day life changes this month. Since clothes-free living is now such a fundamental to my lifestyle, the change in temperature and clocks leads to a startling switch in behaviour. My habits over the course of a year can now be almost precisely divided into two regimens. One set for the clothes-free ‘season’ between approximately April and September, and one for what I’ve come to call the ‘off season’ continuing until March and starting about…well…now as it happens.

So what’s changed? The blog made me chuckle as finding warmth when you’d also prefer to be without clothing is not so much annoying as frustrating! The temperature in the UK has now dipped below my comfortable clothes-free threshold and living in a relatively old house with limited funds, heating would be too expensive to have the house at a nice enough temperature to keep the clothes in a drawer. So my solution is a onesie. What’s a onesie? See here I don’t like ‘gowns’. They’re good for warmth but a pet peeve of mine is restriction around my middle. I don’t like belts, elastic, buttons, drawstrings, or any other variant. It’s one of my gazillion reasons I like not wearing anything, as anything around my middle feels yuck. So a fleece onesie is my solution. No restriction, no drafts, covers my whole body, toasty and warm. It’s my ‘winter naturism’. It’s so baggy that i’m essentially still clothes-free inside.

October is the month the onesie comes out and I get lots of laughs from visitors to my front wondering what on earth I’m wearing. Funny, but I wonder which would get the more comment….nude or onesie….since they are my only two states of dress in my house through the entire year! I don’t go as far as answering the door nude though….yet.

So the heating’s been tested and scheduled and the onesie’s come out of the cupboard. What else? Exercise. I get bitten by the same bug every year; for the last 5 at any rate. October is the month my body starts to tell me it needs exercise and suddenly my brain gets flooded by motivation. I can’t explain it. It must be weather related. My lazy, sunny, clothes-free existance during the summer is suddenly replaced by an urge to don lycra and tear around my neighbour or do laps in the pool. The thing is I need it, not for fitness or weight loss, but for keeping the black dog away. Exercise is the single best thing I can do to steer away depression which used to affect me a great deal more than it does now but can still strike me down without warning. The off-season is a critical time for me because i know I can get low very quickly. This year I’ve joined a gym so that I can cycle and swim as well as run on the roads. If there’s any other clothes-free advocates who feel the same as me then please say hello. I’d love to feed and receive motivation.

But that’s not all! October also means….US football. My favourite sport is back and the Cowboys will once again drive me crazy and result in nails bitten to the very roots. Back to Wembley Stadium in London in 3 weeks for game 9 (in my lifetime). The time when London gets its own franchise can’t come soon enough. US football means my Sundays and Mondays take on a completely different hue (metallic blue and silver). Until I can’t stand Cowboys performances any more that is, which last year was pretty swift!

Lastly, October means social media. I’ve had a brilliant clothes-free season this year with a huge number of great friends and of course my family. I’ve been to five different naturist clubs for events, been with 7 friends on holiday to Vera Playa in Spain, finally found a nice UK clothes-free beach, walked on the moors and tonnes of other stuff, but October is the month everyone packs up and goes back home and puts the heating on! I bid farewell to friends living at the far reaches of the country and head indoors….to my PC. Here I now sit, and the final thing that changes in October kicks in. I start blogging and chatting online! I’ve got loads to say and will probably have plenty of time to say it. Hibernation is an option….but I think I’ll cope enough to see winter through.

Keep warm everyone. Stay happy. Enjoy your off-season.