Monday, October 06, 2008

Camping disaster V's success

We went camping this weekend. It was a public holiday weekend so we booked into a local campsite for three nights with some other families we know. The weather forecast was looking bad as the week progressed and we were getting more and more concerned as to whether we may have to cancel.

On more than one occasion many of you have teased us about having a "perfect life" where our weeks are made up of home baked cookies and idyllic trips to the beach. I have often tried defending by saying that an edited life appears here on our blog. I have decided to write two blogs about this weekend. Both are 100% true. One is the moaning and miserable version that will cheer a few of you up, the other is the Gina's edited blog version!

Click on the comment button below and tell me which one you enjoyed most!

Version one:

I had a manic week trying to juggle the kids being on school holidays with working every evening in the hospital. Byron got in the door about 10minutes before I needed to leave and there were no relaxed family meals around the kitchen table. I accepted work on Friday evening having forgotten that we were due to start our camping weekend that afternoon.

As the week progressed the weather forecast was warning about a storm front approaching. It was due to hit on Friday. We decided to sit out the storm on Friday night in our house and start the camping on Saturday morning. Friday night passed without a drop of rain and we woke to a stinking hot day on Saturday morning.

We dripped with sweat as we packed the tents, mattresses, towels, food, clothes and camp chairs into the car. We eventually left the house and got to the campsite. Just as we hammered the last tent peg in place with a flip flop (we forgot our hammer) the heavens opened and we had to retreat to the only sheltered spot we could see: the veranda outside the men's toilets. We sat there for the next few hours as the rain continued to pour down.

As we watched our tent from the shelter we realised that we had chosen the end of a rain gully to put our two tents and they were now flooding. We ran down and got soaked to the skin as we unpegged the tents and carried them to higher ground and re-pegged them. All the kids rucksacks were soaking and their spare clothes and pj's were dripping with water. We slept in our damp clothes and tossed and turned at all the unfamiliar sounds.
Saturday passed without much incident, a few more showers but nothing major. We woke to thunder and lightning on Monday morning and torrential rain. We sat under a marquee and watched as the grass turned to mud and eventually admitted defeat and took the mud soaked tents down in the rain and bundled them into the boot of the car in black plastic bags.

When I went to start the car up so that I could deliver the wet stuff home and return for Byron and the kids it wouldn't start. The battery had died and no amount of turning the key was going to start it. What an end to our first (and bloody last) camping trip.

Version two:

I had a great week, spending time with the kids during the daytime and still being able to earn money by doing some short evening shifts when Byron got home from his work. Despite warnings of a major storm on Friday the sun shone and we packed excitedly for our weekend away.

We left on Saturday morning and miraculously managed to get the last tent peg firmly in place and mattresses pumped before the first drops of rain started. We got shelter on a veranda and set up a camping stove and made cups of tea and toasted marshmallows on sticks. We even got to oggle all the fine strapping young men coming out in their towels after their showers!

On Sunday morning we woke to a perfect still lake that we could see from the door of the tent. We set the kettle on the camping stove and a cup of tea in bed!

Despite a few rain showers we went for a brilliant walk with the kids down by the lakeside. We collected shells, starfish, sea urchins, exotic flowers and even a duck egg that had fallen from its nest (where do Ducks nest anyway?)

When we got back to camp some friends joined us and the kids spent the afternoon splashing about in a little boat in the lake while the grown ups sat around watching them and chatting.

We had a take away meal of fish and chips together by the light of a gas lantern and sat up drinking wine and laughing as the kids ran around playing.

We finished off the evening by toasting more marsh mallows over the camping stove.

After another (more reasonable!) nights sleep we awoke at 6am to a torrential downpour of rain complete with thunder and lightning. We put the kettle on and had another early morning tea in the shelter of the tent.

We finally admitted defeat to the weather we took the tents down in the rain and bundled them away in the car to be dried out at home.

When the car wouldn't start we had Mark jump to our rescue with some jump leads and we were on our way home for showers and were already planning the next group camping holiday in 2009!

So now it is over to you. Click on the little comments button below right and tell me which kind of version you want to see more of in future blogs!

7 comments - click here to leave your comment:

  1. I prefer to stick with the idyllic life where everything is rosey in a land down under. It gives us an incentive to save for another trip away from this cold, wet island of our own!

    ...maybe I have a mild sadistic streak and like to punish myself with jealousy!

  2. Always the Gina version. The smiles on everyone's faces tells the true story of an adventure that will be relivd over a fwglasses of wine for years to come

  3. How funny!
    You'd think it was 2 completely different vacations! I suppose I vote for the idealistic one, although a few of the real life ones do keep things in perspective :)

  4. Give me idyllic any time.

    I may take my rose-tinted glasses off one day, but I'm enjoying myself too much at the moment.

    Keep it up Mrs B.

  5. both sounded great fun anyway!!!

    give me a 5 star hotel anyday though !!!

    steve .. sunny swansea xxx

  6. The first version is competely as I remember camping in Ireland as a child...minus the gale force and 4 kids in a 2 man ridge tent!

    The second version makes me want to send you camping again and not allow you home till you surrender and admit it's pants! Sorry!

  7. Camping is great fun. I love it when I was a kid and still love it now!