As you’ll have seen from what I can only vaguely remember as a slightly tipsy Facebook Live on Saturday afternoon, I’ve survived my second camping trip – go me! As an aside, I do actually believe I should be rewarded with some type of medal, but I’ll let that go for now.
I explained in my first camping post that Blacks have kindly given me a tent and sleeping bags, which are fabulous, and I can’t rate the Vango tent enough, but I did happen to mention that I can still feel every damn stone and blade of grass (haha, dramatic much?) when I try, and fail to, sleep. So they suggested I try out some self-inflating mats. I had no idea what they were, although some may say the clue is in the title … so I agreed to give them a go.
Of course, the camping trip wasn’t without drama. This is me we’re talking about after all.
After being woken up last time by Tarquin and Sebastian next door screaming that their iPad wasn’t working, we decided it would be a good idea to never, ever camp again near children and find an adult-only site. As I’ve said before, not to be confused with a naturist site, at least not yet, never say never! So we went to Idle Hours Owlsbury Park Campsite in Crowborough. It’s quite near to where my man-friend lives, except ohmygodSaturdaytrafficARGHHHH. But we rocked up, eventually, at lunchtime, with a very sweaty back.
(THIS IS THE TOILET!)
It’s a beautiful site, but the best pitch (under a beautiful oak tree overlooking the field) was already taken by Supertent and his wife. I kid you not, this tent would have slept 15 at the very least. They had an electric fridge plugged into their 4×4, all the BBQs, chairs, everything you’d want … for just two of them. Jealous? Me? So we decided, after driving around the site, and then going back to exactly where we started, to pitch next to the pond.
A big mistake. HUGE.
Our thinking was that no-one could park to the right of us, we had a lot of shade which, if you remember the weather on Saturday, was a ruddy good idea, and every pitch was pretty, so what could go wrong?
After my man-friend put up the tent, I can’t even lie and pretend I helped, I drove us down to the nearest pub where we had a lovely pub lunch. We both decided to go for a Ploughman’s lunch, thinking, stupidly, cheese would come with it. Except I had a hot sausage plonked on my salad (story of my life), and we had to go back to the bar and pay extra for cheese … which ended up being, no lie, a pound of Cheddar, cut into two massive triangles, plonked on a plate. I mean we ate it, but it was a very strange lunch! #CheeseChat
The rest of the afternoon was spent making the bedroom comfy – which consisted of opening the valve on the self-inflating mats and leaving them to do their thing – and throwing a few duvets and blankets in. And here’s the thing I love about camping. Doing pretty much nothing. My life can be quite stressful as a lone working parent at home, it’s a lot of responsibility, and so come Saturday afternoon, I feel like the weight of the world isn’t on my shoulders anymore. I sit. I relax. I drink beer. And Aperol. And chat. And kiss. And walk. And sunbathe. And it’s wonderfully simple, but I love it.
There’s a bigger pond a little further into the campsite, so we walked down there mid-afternoon and just sat on a bench for an hour, the dappled sunlight shining on us through the trees, holding hands and talking nonsense. I got the giggles about something, I think he had tried to make a hat out of his vest and looked ridiculous, and I remember thinking I haven’t been this happy in a very long time. (The weight of the world soon went back onto my shoulders the minute I got home mind you.)
We haven’t been brave enough to cook yet, but we’re going to try that next time, so at around 9.30pm, we decided it would be a great idea to order a takeaway to be delivered to the campsite. And it was a BRILLIANT idea! It took ten minutes to arrive, there are picnic tables and benches dotted around the site so we had somewhere to sit. They even brought plastic cutlery for us. So as the sun set, we ate sweet and sour chicken and drank Prosecco and put the world to rights.
We, OK, he, built the fire and after an hour or so we went to bed. You can’t play music or be noisy after 11pm so we didn’t mind. As usual, I was comatose until 2am, which is when I normally wake up in a blind panic that I’m trapped and I can’t get out. Suffice to say, that’s just one of my neuroses that I’m dealing with, but what then kept me awake until 7am were a number of things. I’ll list them.
- Two ducks that live in the pond next door, either having a fight, or making up after one.
- A water rat. Yes. A water rat, bowling about thinking he owns the place.
- A squirrel trying to get into our tent.
- Two cows by the entrance just generally mooing all morning.
- We’re on the Gatwick path, so the occasional low-flying 747.
Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t enough to spoil our time there, but it wasn’t ideal.
As for our bedroom, the mats were good, but I think I’d have preferred to have had both, one on top of each other, but not sure man-friend would agree. So even though it was a massive improvement, and would be enough, I’m sure, for most people, I still think I’m looking for a level of comfort that perhaps camping doesn’t offer! I just want to take my double bed with me don’t I?
The thing is, I just come home and have a nap, it’s no big deal, and the pros outweigh the cons by a mile, so it’s all good. I came home happy. (“I bet she did!” I can hear you all say! Well, it is a new relationship after all haha!)
Will we camp again? We’re already planning our next trip!