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.
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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