Sunday 12 August 2012

Week 49- family camping, disposable BBQs and boxes of wine

So, our first trip camping with Nancy.

Ben and I are quite hardy campers. By that I mean it's always been the cheap holiday option. Not that we know what we're doing.

Our style was more a case of pitch your tent up anywhere as quickly as you can, so you can crack open the beers. Don't bother with a sleeping bag, just take your duvet off the bed, and use your coat rolled up as a pillow.

Get too drunk to care that it's not pegged in properly and the canvas is only about four inches above your head.

Wake up in the baking heat, totally dehydrated, in the clothes from the previous night, smelling a bit of stale booze, fags and bonfires, and see if a shower can make you feel normal again.

Before realising that you haven't brought any food and the disposable BBQ was used the previous night.

Family camping is a whole new planning experience.

Firstly, we had to buy about two hundred quids worth of stuff before we'd even left Brighton. A stove. Sleeping bags. A cool box. Those canvas chairs you can put your drinks it the arm of. And a tent. Cos a travel cot won't fit into a self erecting two man dome tent it turns out.

And you have to think about what to eat. Plan meals. Buy boxes of wine instead of bottles as they last longer. Put the ice packs in the freezer for the cool box. The kind of practical stuff that I have vague recollections of my own parents doing before the annual two week camping holidays in France.

The car looked like we were moving house instead of going away for two nights, with Nancy packed in with stuff piled high around her.

We were camping with family, who have children a couple of years older than Nancy, so it meant we could see how the experts do it. And work out how we make the transition from piss head campers to family camping.

Turns out that the principles are still the same, except you wash up everything you've used that night, and brush your teeth before bed.

I wish I hadn't shown off that I only now breastfeed Nancy a bit in the morning, as experience has proved that I'm asking for it to go tits up. And at 2am, as Nancy screamed the campsite down, the only thing I could think it do was feed her to sleep.

As she nodded off on my arm, I couldn't do the sleeping bag up again without waking her. So, half frozen, dead armed, bursting for a wee, with Ben contentedly snoring beside me, the thought did cross my mind that we had a perfectly good flat with a roof and a comfy bed.

But, seeing Nancy playing with her three year old twin cousins in a field, made it all worth it. Her cousins call her 'babycousinNancy,' (one word) and dote on her. And in return she laughs with them and let's them try to pick her up.

They also kindly fed her their M and M's, but I managed to retrieve most of them from her mouth, sans the colouring.

I realise now that the reason I was brought up on a strict diet of thrice yearly camping trips during school holidays, is not because my parents necessarily enjoyed being in such close proximity to me and my sister. Squatting down and cooking from a calor gas stove every evening.

But because at a tenner a night for a family of four, you can't afford not to.

So now it's going to be camptastic from now on.

And Nancy will grow to love it, as I did. Because. Let's face it, we're not going to be able to afford a holiday abroad for the next eighteen years any other way.


  1. Lol, as I tell my kids, camping is character building!

  2. That's exactly what my parents told me. Oh, and apparently going to bed at 7 when all our mates have an 8.30 bedtime is also character building. As is washing the car for your pocket money!

  3. If you have been thinking about taking your family camping, but weren’t sure about investing in a tent and sleeping bags, here’s your chance!