Our ‘glamping’ trip in Dorset a few weeks ago was really the warm up act for the real deal – A’s first camping trip. We had ambitiously booked this weekend with friends for early September rather than at the height of summer, but with 29° and sunshine forecast in the run up, what could go wrong?
Having arrived early to try out our family-sized tent for the first time (complete success – I totally recommend the new ‘air beam’ inflatable tents, even if pumping it up reminds me of days when I was much cooler and did things like kite surfing), we sat and enjoyed a little drink in the last of the day’s sun and watched our friends arrive. Soon the campsite was a whirlwind of excited 2-year-olds exploring the canvas, high on the novelty of a house in a field with all of their friends, sinks outside, and a bathroom you had to wear wellies to find.
Unfortunately soon after they arrived, so did the rain. And the wind. Which persisted for a whole night and a whole day, turning into a home-from-home storm-avoidance exercise in nearby parks and a garden centre. Luckily toddlers care not a jot when it comes to trivial things like weather, or shoes and clothes. Parents huddled drinking tea (*cough* well it was in a mug) under awnings and swapped months of gossip whilst little feet danced and chased. Meal times were a day-long blur of crisps, fruit and crackers; and bed time was extended past the point of good sense.
A trip to the local with farmyard animals to spot along the way was welcome respite, even if tired little legs (ok, that was just A) couldn’t quite make the whole trip.
The clouds parted to make way for the clearest of nights and a very misty morning – autumn is truly underway (she writes, eyeing the 30ºc forecast for Wednesday!), and with little ones tucked up in over-sized sleeping bags, the grownups played with camp lights before calling it a night to hide from the creeping cold.
As the mist burnt off we returned home to a hot late-summer’s day. “What was your favourite thing about camping?” I asked A. “Friends” she answered without a pause. I quite agree.