Return to Eden

Return to Eden

DIARY: The Naturist Foundation


The New Eden
The Club that became my Family 

I have found my place in the sun, my nirvana, after years of rejection by local sun clubs, ostensibly as a single male, although I was aware of many single males fast-tracked past me.

The Naturist Foundation, a 50-acre site at Brocken Hurst in northwest Kent, 50 minutes out of Victoria, door-to-door, has not so much as welcomed and accepted me, as adopted me. It was effortless, second-nature to be all accepting. It was no more contrived than neglecting to dress in the morning!

This close to being, if not actually the oldest naturist club in the UK. It is a larged heavily-wooded tent and caravan camping site with a clubhouse, including cafe, bar and entertainments room. There is a covered, heated swiming pool with a retractable roof, a sauna, several outdoor sports courts and dozens of wonderful welcoming members aged 1 to 101.

It is true nudism, woman and child-friendly, where the slightest misbehaviour sees you out the gate followed closely by your clothes. It is a safe haven for women and children, so universally threatened outside the special protection of naturism.

This is the life!



The first day of the rest of my life

The first weekend was a carnival! A party ensued that lasted till 3am. The gentleman whose birthday party it was is certainly a much loved and valued member of the club, because his birthday was actually 8 months before. I mean, any excuse for a knees-up!

Generally the diligence of Marsha, Mike and the team of many volunteers in keeping the facility running smoothly and in such a high degree of cleanliness was impressive. Its ambience proclaims the welcome Eden-libertarian view of naturism with which I am so, well, almost obsessed. Personally, I really needed a retreat like this to convalesce out of my health basement earlier in the year, but a blanket local club rebuff that I had been met with. In effect that rebuff may have been a long-term blessing that sent me further afield, given that their facilities would barely have trimmed the hedgerows at the Naturist Foundation. Mike seemed to be creating a little small-holding of campervans there, which only serves to show how liberating and challenging the club is to the people who soak up its atmosphere.

The extravagance of the events made it easier for me to slip in altogether more inconspicuously than I in the early stages feared. As through my experience single males in naturism tend to be less body-elitist, I found it safer at first socialising with guys like Ian (SOC) and Chris, both of whom were welcoming, intelligent and interesting company. The woman's touch is so important to me, so just walking in on Thelma in the table tennis hangar was releasing. Barman John took me back into the relaxing warmth of Highland Scotch. Stu was the most easy-going of the "family" members and I must say I am impressed with how much is crammed into his VW campervan. But in the end it was Doc Steve and Lisa who broke open the barriers for me. I was so grateful to meet them and their varied circle of friends. They rendered the BN-coloured towel I carried in front of me in fear a foolish, unnecessary adornment! By midday, Sunday, there was an endless conveyer of new people to talk to, so much that I could not force myself to leave. I finally relieved them of my excitable presence two hours late. That says it all!

It was a little bit of a dream debut for the club scene for me and I had the opportunity of meeting them all again with a more mellow mindset long before the trees themselves lapsed into autumn nudity. Considering the ease of access from my office 10 minutes from Victoria, I now see the resort best visited as an almost weekly Friday evensong after a week at work, which invariably sees me out with my head in a sling. Now the stabilisers have been taken off my bike, I promised myself to behave less like a spoiled kid!

The following weekend I went there for a rest. Adjourned!

Summer went out with a bang! Oh, and a scream or two and a general falling-over! It was a shame the hog couldn't stay till the end! I have never had a big family; does it get expensive at Christmas, lol? My good friend Steve Allott rang me in the week to say he would be there on Saturday for the hexathlon.

I managed to escape that but, yes it was like a school sports day, except with big kids as well as little ones.... oh and no clothes lol! But I never escaped the hog-roast. Another party into the early hours of the morning.

In all, despite Buddy Rich knocking out a drum-solo in my head on Sunday morning, the first two weekends had been a highlight of my naturist life. I suppose it was such a turnaround from the treatment I had fielded over the previous 17 months. Hopefully in time xenophobia will go out of fashion. An example of TNF code of practice? Young Daniel, Stu's 8-year-old lad, asked the straight question, "Are you a man?", to which, "Yes, Daniel" was all the answer he needed. From then on he often came up to me to chat about stuff. No agenda! Oskar Matzerath got it right! Oh, for a world of 8-year-olds. Of course this is because the kids there are brought up by true naturists. This is the world capital of total acceptance.

We were blessed with amazing weather throughout September and October. Altogether I visited 5 times. It was 45 too few!

The club was even the first opportunity I had ever had to watch Last Night of the Proms, naked! Another singsong and another late night!

The last weekend was a Hallowe'en day, with another early morning party. The day after was one of the saddest days of my short summer. The caravans had too be shifted into storage, a sign of the end of the season. Winter brought an end to my real-life dream. But I will be back!

The Naturist Foundation is certainly more important and more definitive than any other in the country. Its work has certainly in the past extended far beyond its bordering treeline. It may be that it is my playing-field, traditionally doing exactly what I ask from "naturism, the lifestyle".

I would be proud to be a member of such an organisation and it seems the membership is awaitingf me in March 2010, with the blessing of Marsha.

Whenever I am there I have to cast out of my mind the thought that I have to go home.

It seemed like a lifetime, yet I only first visited the Naturist Foundation on the fourth week-end of August 2009.

My only regret is that I have no photos there with my friends. Of course, through pure respect, and club etiquette, I will not post photos of the members in their private nirvana without their, and the club's, express permission. I would not be so disrespectful.

The last photo is the caravan storage on Hallowe'en Day, 31st October. Two months of absolute bliss.

2010 Acceptance

Towards the end of March 2010 I received my membership card.

Actually you cannot be a member of a charity so I am a "contributor", like all the other regulars and residents there. But you know what I mean! It was my final acceptance as member of society! Not a club member but a member of the crowd. That is what is really important. The NatFound may be a charity, but that begins at home and this is indeed my new home.

What better way to celebrate it than my favourite country walk, the single mile around the skirts of the grounds. In the early photos it was not yet properly Spring so the trees were still in L S Lowry mode, sticks cast against the sky. It was not particularly cold at all, but it was beautiful.

This time I was not visiting, I was walking my own territory.

Please join me through 2010 by clicking on the following thumbnails

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