I recently enjoyed a much needed – and in my opinion well deserved – weeks holiday from work. We had a great time spending plenty of time as a family on daytrips, going out for lunch and even just lazing around the house. On a personal level, I also enjoyed being made a fuss of on my birthday, where I turned thirty-, well that’s not important.
We haven’t let the disappointing weather get us down, though the regular rainfall has, for the second year running, stopped us from following a new pursuit.
When we bought a tent last year, we expected camping trips to become a regular feature in our calendar. In would be an extra, inexpensive chance to get away for a few days, in addition to our regular holidays…or vacations for any American readers.
However, it seems that anytime I’m off work and we even think of packing up the tent, it brings out the worst in the weather.
When we do go for the first time, we are hoping the conditions will be perfect…or as close as you can get to perfect in the UK. We don’t expect warm temperatures and glorious sunshine, but we do need dry conditions: if we want the kids to be keen on going on regular camping trips then spending time in a muddy field first time around isn’t likely to sell it to them.
I’ve never been camping but like the idea of a couple of nights at a time in the fresh air, without home comforts. The chance to spend time together as a family is always welcome, as is the opportunity to visit new places.
With four kids, we had to buy a tent that was slightly larger than average. Our holds up to eight people and when assembled it looks like a small cottage. When booking to stay at a site, we will probably have to pay extra because of the amount of space it will take up.
Of course, getting there is only half the battle. On arrival, there is still that dreaded moment where we will have to put the tent up for the first time. We’ve had a practice run in my in-laws’ garden and we got the job done…eventually. However it’s different when you have to do it for real, in front of established campers. We’ve been told by more than one person that the ‘newbies’ stand out a mile – usually they have confused looks and bits of tent sticking out or collapsed inward where they shouldn’t.
When we do finally get away it will be a case of learning from our mistakes – what equipment could we do without and more importantly, what do we need for next time. We already have some extras but with four kids also making the trip, there’s only so much we can fit into (and on top of) the car.
I really hope we manage even a couple of nights camping before the summer turns to autumn. The idea of staying in a tent in a remote location without any luxuries really appeals to me – as long as there’s a decent takeaway or chip shop nearby.