I can’t belive no one told me about camping before! Well, obviously that’s unfair. People kept on telling me, and I just put my hands over my ears and sang a merry tune. What I can’t believe is that I didn’t listen when people told me about camping before. Yes, it can be a tad uncomfortable. Well, how was I to know that you had to blow into my super-duper self-inflating high tech US mattress? I thought it would self-inflate. That, after all, is the essence of self-inflating, surely? When it remained resolutely flat, I just folded it in half and slept on top. The slightly domed effect meant I had to remain in a starfish position all night, or wake up, cold and slightly drooly, on the floor. But apart from that. Oh, and the Olympic-sized spiders dancing round the ceiling lights in the campsite shower block. They were, yeeesh, well, I’m not even going to mention them.
But the rest of it was simply fab. The fire, the candles, the slightly grass-encrusted sausages which were brilliantly cooked by the children, the dash of Dunkirk spirit involved in borrowing sugar (yes, really) from our very organised neighbours. And for me, it was like a display of all the pages in catalogues I’ve been ignoring for ever. All those different tents, types of folding chair, barbecue buckets – it was a whole new world of accessories which finally now makes sense.
I loved the people-watching, too – the group near us who festooned their little plot with bunting, and who laid out breakfast at the crack of dawn, with a regiment of different types of cereal and ice-cold milk from their sensibly chilled cool bags. Our site was a slightly more relaxed affair, with the grown-ups agreeing from the start that you couldn’t catch salmonella in a day, and a staggered start to our day which involved all members of the party surfacing just in time for lunch. With the beach a few minutes away, and more countryside than you could shake a stick at just over yonder, I was a very happy camper indeed in my hideous fold-up chair. And yes, I admit, I’ve been checking out tents in catalogues ever since. But why do they do them in such yucky colours? Navy blue, military green, boring as hell grey. Why not make them a bit jollier? I’d like a purple one, please. Or at least a floral motif. Well, if you’re going to go for a life under canvas, I think you should make it as camp as a row of tents.