Another year comes to an end. And what a year! What do they say about quitting while you’re ahead…? But more of that later. First for a catch up on 2019
Steve & I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary at Glastonbury Festival – so that was TWO big ticks on the Bucket List…. A marriage that not only lasts but thrives and continues to make us both happier every day; and the World’s Greatest Music Festival (with the added thrill of being there before all the public arrived and camping in the Craft Field with our new friends The Stone Masons).
We were mostly too messed up or in the moment to take pics but here’s a few. Click to see full size.
Our volunteers came from far & wide and, as usual, contributed SO much – from keeping the veg & flowers watered, to keeping the facilities spotlessly clean and cooking up a storm. Thank you to all of you for helping us have another successful & enjoyable year again.
Watermarked images courtesy of one of our awesome volunteers and talented photographer – Claudia Silva. Follow her on Instagram @_cspho @_claudiasilva or browse her portfolio website.
Business at the campsite got off to a shaky start as it poured down almost non-stop in May and June and then just as we got going, we ‘paused’ for Glastonbury. However, it did give us an opportunity to invite friends & volunteers to care-take the place and enjoy a free clothing optional holiday on us.
July & August were awesome months. Steve and his team of volunteers did a brilliant job of keeping our guests happy: the usual welcome of comfy hire tent with mattress, bedding & towels (or a shady spot for their own tent); the tour of our eco facilities and the offer of a cool glass of spring water.
Plus the chance to join us for a healthy, tasty home cooked meal and wash it down with a beer or glass of wine from our bar. But, as usual, our guests told us that it was SO much more than that…
Stimulating conversations on comfy sofas in a serene setting, sound tracked by cicadas & crickets during the day and studded with stars and/ or fairy lights at nights…
Swinging in a hammock, free of clothes & worries…. Bathing in the sun and in the peacefulness of it all, with only Daisy’s occasional woof or the strum of a guitar to break the silence… Exploring the Boka, armed with Camp Full Monte’s best advice, and returning ‘home’ to play a game of Tac Tic with guests & volunteers….
At the end of August we hosted a 10th Anniversary Party – a decade since Camp Full Monte opened its doors to paying guests, this was too good an excuse for a party to miss. It was chance to let down our hair (oops, sorry Steve!) and celebrate; and to honour the contributions of all our dear ex-pat & local friends. Whether it was turning up to a working weekend and getting stuck in with us to paint, plant trees, create tent pitches, do woodwork or whatever; or passing on contacts, advice & hard-earned Montenegrin wisdom; or lending us tools & equipment; or simply listening to our woes, celebrating success & generally being on the journey with us through thick & thin – our Monte mates have been invaluable.
The party weekend was quite a shindig. The usual yummy food & plenty of booze, plus live music, limericks and dancing. We had put together a slideshow of all our photos from the past few years so even those dear friends that couldn’t be present in person, still featured highly. Steve got an award for the best Compost Toilet. And our friends commissioned the MOST amazing cake which captured ALL the details of our little piece of paradise.
The weather held fine & dry for most of September & into October so Steve managed multiple improvement projects and I achieved my second years’ service with my employer to fund the development. My ‘proper’ job continues to challenge me as I travel across Europe trying to impart some wisdom about developing people.
Even December has been unforgettable so far, though for all the wrong reasons, as the UK experienced their very own nightmare on Friday 13th. Time for some reflection and taking stock methinks…
One of the nicest things about 2019 was that many people chose to return – dear friends came to stay, a former volunteer visited with his new family, and many guests booked again, which always touches us… When the world is so big & there’s so much to see, it’s remarkable & lovely when people choose to use their precious holidays by staying with us again.
And now we get to the point of this post. We hope to see many of you again in 2020 because it may be your last chance to enjoy our piece of paradise for a while… and our last chance to enjoy your company.
At the risk of going on about Glastonbury (it was amazing! KT Tunstall was the BEST! The Stonemason’s ROCK!) we were inspired by their concept of a ‘fallow year’ every four to let the site recover and regenerate.
It feels like the right time to do this at Camp Full Monte. Most guests don’t notice but we know every square centimeter of our site and we are beginning to see the year on year impact of us using the space as we do. It’s time to let nature back in again for a while. It will also give us time to expand our experience & seek inspiration from new sources. Time for us to take a break from all the hard physical work – digging, lifting, gardening.
We are exploring options of the campsite being a refuge for native tortoises disrupted by building works elsewhere in the country. Whilst we’d be open to serious proposals across a wide spectrum, we’re not actively seeking them at the moment.
Don’t let that deter you if you have a vision for the future of Camp Full Monte. Add a comment or contact us directly.
In 2020, we’ll be open to guests from May 11th to August 24th (the final week of August we are winding down and preparing for a final party with close friends from near & far).
We won’t be replacing our oldest tents for next season as they’ll be one more thing to store at the end of the season. So, book early if you want to hire a tent as numbers will be more limited than usual. We’d love to welcome you back.
Much is the same – the flowers in the tyre wall are still gorgeous and continue to attract butterflies; the veg garden is prolific (we had literally 100’s of chillies this year!) & a joy to potter about in; Daisy still greets everyone noisily and is everyone’s favourite hound.
But much has changed too – the outside covered area has been a big improvement, providing shade from the sun and shelter from the rain; the boundary fence looks different. We have not been able to recycle palm leaves since the Palm Weevil that’s killing palms throughout the Mediterranean, devastated Herceg Novi too. The basement has a posh new floor and walls and a much more efficient storage system (more space for guests to store their food in the cool since we all know how crowded the little fridges get)…
And 2020 WILL be different for me & Steve because it’s our last chance (for at least a year or two, never say never) to pour our love & care into this amazing project that has transformed us personally & professionally and touched many other lives also. We will be enjoying the HECK out of this coming season people, so make sure you join us at some point to share the experience with us.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas & a Happy New Year!
Denise, Steve & Daisy Marmite the dog