I Don’t Do Camping

Seriously??

I don’t do camping.

I have camped – Girl Guides (once, in Wales, in the rain, for a week), in France with the kids (at least it was dry), on Jersey (have you ever tried to get ready for a wedding in a tent??) – but I’ve never enjoyed it. I genuinely just don’t get it.

Things I hate about camping –

  • Everything is so public – I don’t want to see you cleaning your teeth, or walking around in just a towel.
  • Going to the loo in PJs and hiking boots is normal
  • You have to wear flip flops in the shower so your feet don’t get dirty. Say WHAT???
  • Getting dressed lying down
  • Getting dressed (or doing anything) without touching the fabric of the tent
  • If my house was as wet on the inside as the fabric of my tent I WOULD MOVE OUT
  • Going to the loo
  • Sleeping. No-one sleeps, and they seem proud of it (‘Oh, I only managed a couple of hours…’)
  • Dampness. Everything is just damp.
  • Afterwards, everything needs to be dried off/washed/thrown away
  • And don’t even ask about cooking

Things I love about camping

But it’s FUN I hear people say.

No.

It isn’t.

But needs must – I couldn’t find any accommodation within striking distance of CountryFile Live at Castle Howard, but camping was provided. So I decided to give it a go.

I bought a tent (Halford’s £15), found my old sleeping bag, bought a yoga mat (at least I can use if for yoga after I’ve finished using it for not sleeping on).

I realised I might need a mallet, realised I didn’t possess a mallet, and bought a mallet. It turned out the ground was so soft after all the rain that no mallet was required.

I packed some food in my cool box (I suspected that I wouldn’t become a camping convert overnight, so I decided not to spend money on any sort of cooking malarkey) – I made a big pasta salad and ate that for my evening meal.

I packed a change of clothes, my wash bag, a torch for those late night trips to the loo in PJs and hiking boots, and my PJs and hiking boots.

And off I set. We couldn’t get on to the campsite first thing, so I was pitching (is that the right word?) my tent at the end of a full day at CFL. At least it wasn’t raining – but the mud was everywhere after all the rain the day before. The challenge was to get the mat and the sleeping bag laid out without getting the inside of the tent covered in mud. Kneeling in the doorway, with my knees inside and my feet outside seemed to do the trick. Then laying things out so that I would know where they were in the dark if I needed them – torch, hayfever tablets, loo roll. Such faffage. I have a house – if I need to find something in the dark I just put the light on…

I paid a brief visit to the loos and the showers – long enough to decide that I was never going to be so grubby that I would need to use those showers. Time to find out if that 48 hour anti-perspirant really lives up to its name.

There was a bar on the campsite, so a couple of us ended up there. A glass of red wine after a full day getting 200 people in and out of 3 shows in the National Trust Theatre and I was ready for bed. It was only 9:30!!

No, I didn’t sleep. I stopped not sleeping at about 5 in the morning, knowing I had a full day ahead of me and then a long drive home. I ate my breakfast cereal bars. At what point does this start being fun??

I got dressed, lying down. As you do. Everything felt everso slightly damp. I consoled myself by remembering that someone had told me it was going to be a lovely warm day – positively hot by about 10am. So at least I would dry out eventually.

I started to pack up my stuff, to take it back to the car (hadn’t been able to get the car into the campsite, on account of the muddiness). How is it possible to need this much stuff for one night not sleeping in a tent?? Three trips. Tent was damp both inside and out so there was no point in trying to get it back into its bag – I just rolled it up and stuffed it on top of everything else. Car all packed up, then off to the Volunteers’ Hub and a free coffee.

Another full day at the Theatre, another three shows, another selection of celebrities… Over the two days I was there, we hosted John Craven, Charlotte Smith, Lindsey Russel, Anita Rani, Lizzie Daly and Hannah Cockroft.

And now I’m home – the tent needs to go outside to dry out (which is ironic, really), everything has been washed and is now on the line, the inside of the car needs a good clean out. Also the outside – did I mention the mud? It’s going to take longer to get everything sorted out than I actually spent in the tent.

I had a fab weekend – but it was inspite of the camping, not because of it. Deary me no.

I won’t be camping again.

I don’t do camping.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. gosforthgirl says:

    I so agree!

    To admit to not liking camping is always greeted with such incredulity and derision. I have always been in the ‘hate camping’ camp ( sorry!)

    Love my creature comforts tooo much to forfeit them for the questionable pleasures of camping !

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Couldn’t agree more. All I ask is for a proper bed and a shower to call my own!

      Like

  2. anglosvizzera says:

    As mentioned last time (previous blog), my first camping experience was with the Girl Guides and we had a thunderstorm to welcome us on the first night – but I loved it! (Weird, I know…) I went to all the camping opportunities that the group provided (camping in our Guide Captain’s orchard in our village was a treat and could be arranged any time) and earned my ‘Camp Permit’. This enabled me to be in charge of the younger Guides in my tent and teach them all about putting tents up and taking them down (“pitching” and “striking”), making the obligatory shoe rack, washing stand and towel airer out of hazel sticks and string, whittled with our trusty penknives. I do vaguely remember some girls who didn’t seem as enamoured as I did about the whole thing (and I already mentioned the loo facilities in my previous comment, last blog post…although didn’t mention the flies…)

    Cooking was fun using wet wood too – but we managed it!

    Later on I went on a camping trip with my first proper boyfriend to the Peak District and then on to Norfolk. We had a little book of recommended campsites and found one up on a big hill somewhere near Chapel-en-le-Frith, from memory. We arrived in the rain, pitched our tent in the clouds that were at ground level; somehow we must have eaten, I guess. But after our damp and cold night (my jeans were a size bigger by the morning!) the sun came out – glorious views – we fired up our camping stove and cooked a ‘Full English’ (well, maybe half a FE) for breakfast! The loo was a bucket in an outbuilding and there was a standpipe to supply cold water…but we were young and in love. We worked our way towards Norfolk where we’d pre-arranged to meet another couple.

    Being before mobile phones and t’internet, we had all looked at a map together, picked a likely-looking spot somewhere in Norfolk and agreed to meet at ‘The Pub’ at 12 noon on a particular day. We decided that if there was more than one pub, we’d probably wait a few minutes and then try the other one!

    Anyway, on our way there, we had to stop again overnight but couldn’t find a campsite. So we picked a ‘triangle’ between some roads which had lots of trees on, and camped there instead. Probably illegal but we didn’t care. I can’t recall any detail other than a vague memory of our orange tent among the trees…certainly not where we went to the loo!

    The next day we went on to the aforementioned meeting place and, lo and behold, there were our friends! From there we went to a small campsite in Reedham, Norfolk, which was the field next to a pub (the Reedham Ferry Inn) – the pub having proper showers etc for our use. That was great – have a few bevvies at the pub, stagger back to the tent (taking care not to fall into the Broad that ran alongside) and have a good sleep (by then we were accustomed to tent life). Incidentally, my current husband and I were in Norfolk a couple of years ago and went for a drink at said pub. The camping facility has grown into a proper campsite and seems very popular and the pub is still a lovely place, seemingly unspoilt despite its location by the little ferry.

    I camped with my first husband on our way to Switzerland in the early 80s with friends, travelling in a VW camper van. The friends used the van and we used a tent. I have to say that on one campsite near Paris there were a number of Germans who took pride in wandering around stark-naked on their way to and from the shower block …not a pretty sight before breakfast!

    The same husband and I went camping again in Switzerland with my best friend and her 6-year-old daughter. We stayed overnight with my sister who lived there (in a house) and then went for a weekend to a lovely spot by a lake, on her husband’s recommendation. We were surrounded by fog for the whole weekend, but it was warm and dry so we didn’t complain. However, when we left and drove up the winding roads to get out of that valley, we found a cable car station. Once up in the air, we could see that the whole of Switzerland was completely clear and that the valley we’d camped in was still full of ‘cloud’! If only we’d chosen any other spot…

    When I met my second husband-to-be, we were impoverished students. We palled up with a guy on our course who hailed from Limerick, Ireland, who invited us to come and stay in the summer holidays. I don’t recall how we got there as we didn’t have a car at the time, but somehow we did…and his parents made us both very welcome, talking and drinking Jameson’s whiskey until the early hours (and they had to go to work later that day!) It turned out we were going to go with our friend, his girlfriend and a bunch of his mates down to the south-westerly tip of Ireland for the weekend. We had a small tent and were able to borrow a fly-sheet (as rain was forecast) and were given a lift down with one of his maddest friends and girlfriend. How we arrived in one piece was a miracle…but we did. The ‘camp site’ was really just a large bit of grass near a pub, with a standpipe again for water. It seemed that the whole point was just to spend all day and most of the night in the pub and then sleep a bit before the next session. The pub was very popular and there was a lot of entertainment going on, singing, music etc which is fine if you aren’t sleep-deprived (and being Irish probably would have helped). I had contact lenses at the time and remember trying to go to the ladies to remove them at night, but there were Irish lasses sitting on all the basins and no room for me to achieve my plan. My bf and I decided after that night, which was incredibly windy and noisy, that we weren’t going to stay a minute longer and would make our way to his cousin in Dublin. As it was a Bank Holiday, there were no buses, so we carried all our stuff along the road, intending to hitch a lift from a passing motorist. As luck would have it, a lovely lady stopped and took us to Cork where we were able to catch a train. I really should’ve learned my lesson…but no! I went camping again…

    So on to my final camping memory, when my second husband (the boyfriend from the Irish trip) and our children eventually had enough money to be able to ‘go on holiday’. Prior to that we’d either descended on family in various parts of the country or gone away on a ‘family’ holiday that my parents paid for, together with them and sometimes one of my sisters and her youngest son.

    So, not being able to afford passports for everyone, but to make it seem like we were going abroad, we booked a camping holiday in Guernsey. We were a bit of a way from the loo block so, with young children, we had to find a suitable spot near the tent for emergency night-time ‘wees’. Carting the bowl of washing up after meals to the washing block was also a pain, but the tent was already there, a big frame tent with ‘rooms’ and cooking facilities in the front canopy and, mercifully, the weather was dry and warm.

    Now I’m well past that age, I have no further desire to camp at all! At least not in a tent…a static caravan is fine if push comes to shove…

    Like

    1. Nope, still not convinced…

      Liked by 2 people

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