Above me the branches of an ancient oak tree were gently swaying in the wind. The leaves of the canopy were just beginning to turn, with edges of amber catching in the morning sun.
I was lying admiring this beautiful tree and its gnarled mossy tentacles while completely naked in an outdoor roll-top bath, enjoying a moment of being utterly present and completely alone with the sky and land.
The bath itself was huge and standing in the middle of an ostentatiously tiled outdoor bathroom with just three walls, and no roof. The garish pink decor pops against the green of the surrounding field. I had brought a bluetooth speaker with me and I was playing Kate Bush’s Aerial album as I soaked.
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I am aware I must have painted an almost obscenely decadent picture, but considering I spend most weekends covered in miscellaneous toddler gunge, I decided to just enjoy it. The uptight Londoner in me had filled the bath as high as possible, just in case one of my friends staying in one of the other huts at the Aller Dorset retreat decided to pop around.
But other than that trifling niggle, it felt like a moment of pure relaxation.
Having a 20-month-old toddler meant it had been some time since I had been able to do anything at all without rushing around caring for a small person. This trip to the luxurious yet suitably earthy Aller Dorset was the exact escape my jangled brain and stress-addled body so badly needed.
Aller Dorset offers four luxury shepherd’s huts as accommodation, scattered around a natural spring lake on the owner’s family farmland. Each hut has been thoughtfully designed to an impeccably high standard, giving them the feel of a boutique hotel than a glamping experience. I am not a fan of glamping. I think it’s better to call a spade a spade and just say what it is: camping, in other words. Dress it up however you like, you’ll usually be inconvenienced in some way and less comfortable than you’d like.
For a precious and long-awaited weekend with my friends away from our beloved but noisy families, we simply were not prepared to suffer the horrors of a communal shower.
But we did want to be outdoors and away from it all. Aller solved this for us; it is the great outdoors for…