BC (before children) I would have sneered at anyone who mentioned their intention to spend a weekend camping in Britain. Why on earth would anyone CHOOSE to leave a perfectly good home in order to spend their days sheltering from the rain and their nights clothed from head to foot in winter gear, huddling around a gas light?! Despite my new-found ability to camp (I wouldn't quite call it 'love' just yet), there will probably always be a teensy part of me that does wonder when packing for said camping trip, why I put myself through it. This part of me I am determined to bury....for the sake of the kids.
Last weekend, we spent three days and three nights camping in Dorset. The weekend was full of many things to be thankful for, and because this is an R2BC post, I shall leave out the things which I am not quite so cheery about!
1) Kindred Spirits - This is the third year running that we have gone camping with the same family. They also have 3 children who are exactly the same age as ours and it just works. They too are what I like to call "new campers" - we take next to no food with us, rarely use a saucepan and intend only to cook barbecues or eat out. We spend most of the day away from the campsite, rather than suffering in crampt conditions under canvas dodging from rainclouds, and all forms of on-site entertainment is avoided! We have found some kindred spirits and for that I am thankful :)
2) Prepared - Amazingly, I think the only thing we forgot this year was a fish slice, thank you Lord! Last year it was pillows and the year before that it was the gas stove. We have always ended up scrounging off our friends but now that I have a special list saved onto my PC, there are no excuses. Ask me nicely and I will send you a copy!
3) Rain-free zone - Yes, we managed to escape
the dreaded bank-holiday rain! I cannot tell you what a blessing that was. Camping in the wet is certainly not a favourite of mine. We had a lovely long walk along the coastline - the little boys were doing roly-polys down the grassy bank whilst the older ones were looking for fossils and throwing
stones in the sea. Good old-fashioned fun :)
4) Sherborne Castle Country Fair - We came across this quite by accident, having intended to take a visit to Sherborne castle. What a find! There were dog shows, horse shows, hot food and no rain! Another bonus, I bumped into a very old friend of mine who the OH and I haven't seen for years.....she recognised us which is always something to be very thankful for these days!
5) Peace and Quiet - I have to say that this is often lacking on a camping trip. The kids are up early, stay up late and are generally full-on and over-excited from the moment they surface. There is usually a lull in the middle of the day when the parents are exhausted and quite frankly, need some space. Between us, we came up with the fab idea of sending the kids off on a Treasure Hunt, followed by an obstacle course. Genius! All the kids loved it (not easy to find something that 12 yr old girls and 7 yr old boys enjoy) and the adults got to enjoy 1 hour of peace coupled with wine and nibbles in the sunshine (yes, I did say sunshine) whilst watching the BBQ cook.
6) Homeward bound - We had been warned that heavy rain was forecast for Tuesday morning, the day of our return journey. Well, what do you know? We managed to pack up and leave the campsite, just as the first few spots of rain landed on the car windscreen! Memories of the terrible 4.5 hour journey on the way to Dorset (oops, I did promise not to include the not so cheery things!) were erased after we returned home to our lovely, warm, comfy, welcoming house, after just a 2 hour trip.
I am always so grateful to return from a camping trip to a warm bath, hot cup of tea and sink into my clean bedsheets.....bliss!
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