Management had taken Friday off so that we had a good start to our first trip in our new tent, and our first proper camping adventure with the children (recent glamping trip to Devon notwithstanding). We had plenty of time to pack, we were only going for 2 nights, how hard could it be? Well, factor in 2 overexcited children, a Mummy getting over a nasty tummy bug, a super large and heavy tent that takes up most of the car, and the answer is that it takes all morning. But we learned a lot.
This was out first chance to get away this season and by some miracle, the weather was warm but not as super hot as it had been in the preceding days. (For my non-British dwelling readers, super hot means anything over 25 degrees.) The previous weeks and weeks of rain mean't that the ground was really boggy in places but not on our campsite, oh no. We had forgotten over the years, just how rocky some of the New Forest Forestry Commission sites are and so Management had a fun old time bashing in rock pegs and generally taking three times as long about everything as a result. Factor in also, 2 overexcited children, a Mummy getting over a nasty tummy bug and a heavy tent and the general mood can turn to hot and bothered and down right irritated in a jiffy. But we learned a lot.
You can just see our tent laid out through the trees there. I was still feeling positive when I took this photo.
I keep meaning to blog an update about my depression / PMT and let me tell you, the PMT was severe on Friday. I was not really best placed to deal with a child who couldn't seem to avoid the guide-ropes and repeatedly fell over screaming loudly, or a child who repeatedly asked us to play football despite us wielding a mallet and spikey tent pegs, or the female one of those children believing that she could pee in the bushes like her brother by dropping her shorts and pants and holding her girly bits while weeing in her socks.
With time cracking on and our nerves in tatters, we decided to head for the pub garden instead of trying to fathom the cooker. I very rarely drink but this was much needed.
I'm not sure what it is with children but on the way back to the tent we took them both to the loo for the last time. Nonetheless, they still both needed to go again by the time they had put on their pyjamas. We were regretting our out of the way pitch by this point, 5 minutes walk from the toilet block.
By the time they settled in their sleeping bags, it was 9.30pm and it was a good while after that they eventually fell quiet. My own sleeping bag was a LOT more snug fitting than I remember and I didn't sleep at all well. My unsettled belly gurgled all night despite me only having a salad for dinner and I was very aware of the children being okay in their sleeping bags. I checked on them during the night and found that they had both slipped off their airbeds and were sleeping almost on top of each other.
Despite their late night, they were both awake very loudly at 6am. I was feeling very unwell by that point so Management dealt with breakfast but it was lovely to be sitting in the cool bright sunshine watching the ponies wander around the tents.
Apart from my gurgly tummy, this is the moment that I thought about maybe going camping again. This is it for us, sitting outside and being together and eating yummy food (well they did, I just watched).
Shortly after I took this photo, my bug came back with a vengeance and I decided I had to go home. Management drove me back and then they all carried on without me - thank goodness we are only 25 mins from the campsite!
I would like to say that things improved but it turned VERY cold that evening and nobody could get warm, Louis managed to wet his sleeping bag twice inside and out meaning that Bella ended up in it too (the sleeping bags have both been washed and dried now) and then, just as the last upright was about to be removed from the tent, the heavens opened and the rain was so torrential that the tent filled up with buckets of water and the open boot of the car meant that the rain soaked the pillows and sleeping bags before they could close it up.
We haven't had a decent day's weather since then so the tent is being dried in our utility room / kids art room using a dehumidifier and we are having to keep moving it around to try and drain it because it is too big and heavy to hang up in one piece.
But we learned a lot :-)
Bye for now