Not Another Tale From Camp

A pink crab-shaped sign with orange writing saying 'The Seafood Shack'. Next to it are two gulls poised for oppportunity.
© The Lockwood Echo

Yes, actually. Another tale from camp. Not another poem. I’ll spare you that.

This one is more an observational post about camping and associated holiday behaviour. The things we love, the things we hate and things we can’t believe we pay to sit in a damp field miles from our perfectly good home for.

We obviously love it enough to keep going for more. And enough that although at home, I’m sat outside in the cold, near dusk, writing this.

I just need to interlude that I’m witnessing the most amazing pink sunset sky and a neighbour has set off one of those lovely crackly sparkly fireworks. I’m on the Vermouth. Rosso. But I don’t think I’ve had THAT much yet. I don’t know the reason for the firework. A dummy run for Bonfire Night? I’ll keep you posted.

Our latest adventure was a return visit to somewhere we love. There was seaside, chips and cribbage. There was also a sharp strong south-easterly. For nearly the whole time we were there. Undeterred, we made the best of it. That’s what we’ve come to expect (the unexpected) when wanting a cheap people-free holiday. Also wanting a cheap-people free holiday. That sounded judge-y. I’m in no position to be judge-y.

It was a sedate affair, apart from the south-easterly. We needed to recharge and take stock. It gave me much time to reflect on why we so enjoy trundling off to a stranger’s field, give them money and build a temporary home that we’ve stuffed into our medium-sized car.

In no particular order, I’ve made the following observations and discovered some embarrassing home-truths.

For so long, we’ve not had our own home. Although we were in our old rented home for a VERY long time, it always felt flighty. We could be asked to leave for no reason, at relatively short notice. We couldn’t do a thing without permission and someone came to inspect it on a regular basis. A situation I’m sure many are familiar with, so I hope this doesn’t come across as patronising or smug now that I’m no longer in that position. So camping was like ‘playing house’. It was all ours and no-one could take it away (though that south-easterly tried) or come in without permission. All that was missing was our cat. But we could imagine how that would go, so it was always best he stayed home and faced eviction without us.

More light-hearted observations;

8pm is a perfectly reasonable time to go to bed. Noon is a perfectly reasonable time to shower and get dressed for the day.

Talking of shower. Takes a couple of days back home to get use to not having to shower in 15 second bursts. Or however long the push button on the wall allows you. And not wanting to kill yourself because your towel touched the floor, or the wall or that questionably stained curtain.

Each time we pitch tent, I’m quietly reminded of my addiction for battery-operated fairy lights. If the tent isn’t lit up like a carousel, is it even worth camping? Our fellow campers may feel my addiction is not so quietly reminded, as their night sky is assaulted by a kaleidoscope of colour, worthy of Santa’s Grotto.

The Wee Hours. Camping reinforces why they’re called the Wee Hours. Regardless of how little you drink after 4pm, you are guaranteed at least one trip for a wee to an unlit building 400yds away in the middle of holy crap it’s dark out there. Because you’re on holiday, you try not to be governed by the clock. And in a field of 3 other units, miles from civilisation, it’s often hard to determine the time. It may be only 9pm, but it feels like 3am. If it was only 9pm, there wouldn’t be anything from the horror movies watching you from the hedgerows. So it must be 3am. Do I lock the toilet door, or is it best to leave it open so nothing can crawl under it? The return journey is a real test of your lung capacity. If you haven’t woken your partner up with all the zipping and unzipping, your wheezing and eyes so wide they glow in the dark should do the trick.

If you’re camping at a seaside town, chips on the beach is an absolute must. It’s illegal not to. However, the incoming tide is relative to how long you wait for your chips. No matter how quickly you’re served, that tide will have just covered the last rock to sit on.

A conversation that was particular to this recent trip;
‘Could I get 4 of your Rum Truffle Cakes please. And would it be possible to have them in a box as they need to travel.’
‘Certainly. Did you know that you can order these for delivery now? We’ve added them to our online shop.’
Shuffles feet awkwardly, not knowing whether to speak the next sentence or not…….
‘Err, actually, yes I did know. My email request made me responsible for you adding them to your online shop.’

No other situation in the world would see you merrily walking across a field in your pyjamas to clean your teeth, only to be met by an 80 year old woman in her bra and knickers. Neither one of you batting an eyelid.

Pose of the trip was executed by yours truly. I call it ‘Sexy Starfish’. The reality was;
‘As soon as I take this last pole out, THROW yourself onto the top of the tent like your life depends on it. This wind ain’t messing. Spread yourself out.’
I suspect the couple in the nearby campervan were filming us. Expect a video to appear sometime soon…….

Now that we’re home, what do we miss about camping?

The convenient bottle-shaped hole incorporated into the arm of the chair.

Eating straight from a pan.

Crisps for breakfast. Every day.

The stars going all the way to the edge of the sky.

I could go on for another 1000 words but it’s now pitch black out here, the firework display peaked at that one sparkly crackle and I need to pour myself another Vermouth. Rosso.

Thankyou for reading, you lovely people you!

UPDATE: Just a glimpse inside our fairy-lit tent. Lights blurry and in full swing on account of the 50mph winds battering our temporary home. Luckily the weight of snacks we’d taken helped keep the tent pinned to the ground.

 

You can find me on Twitter. Sometimes I have stuff to say. Sometimes I just heart what others have said.

More travel related tales of woe can be found in The Lockwood Echo’s Travel Section.

29 comments

  1. In all my life I have still never been camping, well except this one time, but I really remember nothing about it (there was that much alcohol). I have thought to attempt it, but since I have become so injury prone…. though you do make it sound like an adventure

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I did a lot of camping with my family when I was a kid, but I haven’t in ages now. This makes me want to.

    (Also, I feel you on renting. I *hated* the inspections and the unsettled-ness and that someone else had the power to refuse to fix things and tell you you’re imagining that they’re broken, but then just show up and tell you the floors are getting redone while you’re organizing a wedding, and like, new floors sound great but we won’t be home to let the tradesmen in then because we’ll be on our honeymoon? Maybe wait a month or two? And fix the air con first maybe?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh what a nightmare. I always hated and resented tradesmen. It may not be my house, but it is my HOME. They never seemed to respect that, as you clearly experienced too. Holidays as a kid was always camping. DO IT! Check the weather forecast first 😉.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Okay, this bit was a complete hoot. (Not that the others haven’t been, mind you.) So many brilliant images (“Sexy Starfish!”) that I could pontificate for ages, but I must focus on this: the battery-operated fairy lights. What I gorgeous idea. (Why haven’t I ever done this myself?) I want to go camping with you so much right now that I could squeal. Seriously. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Pack your batteries Brian, let’s go! We take a whole extra bag just for the lights and batteries. We also, rather dangerously, do candle bags too. Camping at Halloween gets quite special 😉. I may update this post with some extra photos including the Illuminations.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. This was such a great post, one of my favourites of recent times from all WP and I read a lot. I love camping so much too, I love being outside, I love the anytime eating, I love slacking off on hygiene and home making and satorial standards. And the stars!!! And I liked you writing it outside at home. Really evocative. So good. Well done you. By the way camping and the associated ability to be adaptable and flexible is good prep for backpacking in India xxxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! See what you did there 😉 I did go backpacking once – Australia. But that was fairly easy and comfortable given the country, no language barrier, home from home hostels etc. I also had a big bag of bravado with me which I seemed to have since lost 😦 Our camping is far from basic, we like our creature comforts 😉 We love that it’s just grown-up ‘playing forts’. Being outside is the best. Thankyou so much for your amazing comment, that’s made me proper puff my chest feathers out. And blush 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, let me tell you … it’s fun not renting anymore! (See my latest post, from this morning, on that ;))

    My family is camping this week. I used to go camping with them sometimes, but I gotta be honest: not my favorite thing. Oh, I like the IDEA of it, and the stories you tell about it, but for me? I like camping in a bed with room service now. 😁

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve created a whole new artform around showering and towelling at camp! Fairy lights are a great way to light up the tent. Not only are they pretty, they make it feel warmer and are much more practical than a torch or single lamp. A string of lights gives an even glow throughout the tent rather than just a spotlight. Fairylights aren’t just for Christmas ;).

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Fabulous! There’s always a spontaneity about camping isn’t there. Takes me right back to when I was a kid and when my parents were in the caravan club! I always remember walking home from school and seeing our caravan door open and Mum packing the orange tupperware.

    I’m sure I’ve been to that camp or something similar!

    Enjoy your Rosso, very Lorraine Chase. Whatever happened to her?
    xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • What a fab image of you coming home to the caravan being packed. Tupperware was made for camping! Lorraine Chase! ‘Nice ‘ere innit?’ That is EXACTLY how I see myself, I have the accent, less the ‘tall skinny perfect make-up’ looks 😉 The Vermouth drinking is a whole thing. I’ve even bought a silver mirrored cocktail tray.

      Like

  7. I love that you put twinkly lights up in your tent! I love even more that you call them fairy lights. Sometimes twinkly lights in trees is my sole reason for picking certain restaurants. So by default, if I was camping, I’d pick your tent. Haha! Next time I try to go I will definitely bring some lights of my own.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fairylights is what I call Christmas lights. Maybe it’s a British thing. But we give any Santa’s Grotto a run for their money! Makes the tent feel really cosy. Anywhere with twinkly lights gets my vote, so I think that’s perfectly valid criteria 🤗.

      Liked by 1 person

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