Camping really isn’t everyone’s cup of tea! This summer I have seen several blog posts from high profile, mummy bloggers, which have literally had me crying with laughter. From the Unmumsy Mum’s ‘Out of the Frying Pan’ to Hurrah for Gin’s brutally hilarious and honest ‘18 Things I Have Learnt About Camping With Kids‘, my blogging heroines have certainly lived up to their ‘tell it like it is’ reputation on this topic. I have nothing but admiration for their determination to give their children a taste of the great outdoors and share their experiences.
We spent years of family camping with friends and sometimes it was good and sometimes it er… wasn’t! The whole experience and the unlimited opportunities for people watching fascinated me though, to the point where it became the basis for the novel I’m writing, with much ad lib, artistic license and input from my very over active imagination. ‘Bright Stars and Burnt Marshmallows’ is now about half way to completion and is a bit of a tribute to our camping years.
Our children all absolutely loved the whole camping experience, revelling in the sense of freedom and adventure that only a campsite can provide. They returned home dishevelled, grubby and tired but with precious treasures and great stories to tell their friends. In an increasingly online world which is ruled by technology, it can be so refreshing to get away from all the distractions and just well… be. Even if camping really isn’t your thing, don’t your children deserve to have the experience at least once? It certainly features prominently in the National Trust’s 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 3/4 list. Nobody ever said it was easy though…
My top 10 truths about camping
- It will rain… lots.
- It takes a strong marriage to withstand setting up and dismantling a tent, particularly in a howling gale. However, once you have set up camp, watching other people’s marital disharmony can be highly amusing!
- You will forget something… just hope it is not the tent pegs! Everyone will be more organised than you but pointing this out does not make them big or clever!
- ‘All that fresh air’ will NOT make your children sleep any better!
- On a campsite it is socially acceptable to drink at any given time of the day and wander around in your pyjamas / dressing gown.
- You can hear everything! So many people appear to believe that tent walls constructed of thin material, have the same conversation blocking abilities as the brick walls of their homes. See point 5 above.
- You will start the week lovingly creating one pan, nutritious, healthy meals, out of the camping cookbook you ordered online in a fit of misguided enthusiasm. The week will end with everyone eating crisps for breakfast.
- Your tales of camping experiences will become the family legends which are passed down through generations.
- Never will you appreciate your lovely bed or bath more, than when you return from a camping holiday.
- It will be your children’s favourite holiday ever… You may spend a fortune on subsequent holidays to luxury destinations but if you ask them which they prefer, bizarrely a muddy field wins hands down every time!