29 years ago, after suffering a rather horrendous kidney infection I made a vow to myself never, ever, never go camping again. Then I married a man who was brought up holidaying in the outdoors – camping, hiking, climbing, walking, cycling – all of which were an anathema to me as my idea of a fun holiday was a beach, a few good books and a nice restaurant preferably within stepping distance of the apartment (even from an early age!).
Our boys however love camping with their dad and so when the subject of family holidays came up I had little chance of fighting my corner. That plus the fact that only 2 of us had valid passports meant that we would be chasing the UK sun with a car so tightly packed that one pothole too many would create its own landfill site.
We travelled to a campsite in Dorset we have previously stayed in the slightly more salubrious surroundings of a yurt. This time we were in a 4 man tent (now there’s an oxymoron for you!). The boys ran off to make new friends while I gingerly looked on to the proceedings unfolding before my eyes. As ground sheets were unrolled and put in place, tent poles flexed and fed through the tent and airbeds blown up I realised this was the work of an expert and it was best to watch and learn rather than interfere.
So watch and learn I did whilst I attended to things I could do easily – brew a cup of tea, pour the wine, fetch water from the standalone tap. Over the 7 days I also learned that:
- No matter how sunny the days are everything will remain damp
- You will always have a slowly deflating lilo despite all efforts to patch it up
- The showers are the ones that switch themselves off automatically just as the water reaches a decent temperature
- You will always need an early morning wee and by the time you get back to your tent you will be wide awake and unable to sleep again (probably just as well as the lilo is flat by that stage!)
On the plus side:
- You can point out shooting stars to your children (and husband)
- Camp fires are great for toasting marshmallows
- Fellow campers are friendly and chat to you like you are a long lost friend
- Boys + fresh air = falling asleep quickly – giving you some quality time
Will I do it again? Well, I have few complaints – well only that we need a table, a bigger tent, more extensive cooking facilities and a better lilo (for starters) – so, yes, probably, so long as I can book the glorious weather too.
Until next month, Hi-de-Hi Campers!