I’ve never been quite so glad to get back from a camping trip 🙂 Although, i was EXTREMELY lucky, because my tent stayed dry, my grass stayed dry and my equilibrium stayed mostly intact. It wobbled a bit at one point, when Max left to come back, but mostly we stayed okay, buoyed up considerably by the company of Michelle and Chloe who were great to have around, even if my gas did run out leaving me with no Michelle-tea-making facilities which was a source of some anxiety! 😉 That’s the trouble with having no car while camping, you are pretty much powerless to solve anything if a problem emerges and those gas cannisters are a) hard to guess if there is much left and b) apparently very hard to get 🙁 Still. Thanks to Lucy for the eventual donation of theirs (make sure you send me your bank details so i can pay you.)
Been trying to tot up in my head exactly how much of it all was nightmarish and have come to the conclusion that i have nothing to moan about, but then, like i say, i didn’t get drowned. I have this slight horror of being the one who doesn’t have tribulations; i think it comes from a heart-sinking moment in Germany, when i went abroad on my own for the first time. We did a 2 week drama exchange, me (the much sneered at private school girl) and some local comprehensive school kids who had been friends since we were 11. Mostly it was a really positive friendship and experience over those 3 years, but right at the end it changed; my best firend left and the 2 boys got harried by an older sister into having no time for the little pampered high school girl. Most people on the exchange had a fairly rough time in odd families, but me and one other girl got put with a family who had a flat for us. The “older sister” was very put out by this and one day she was relating her horrid family tales in the coach, making everyone laugh, when she caught me laughing too; she was funny 🙄 She utterly laid into me for thinking her misfortunes were funny and made out like i was smirking about it – which i wasn’t, but it didn’t help my experience much!
So we arrived Saturday in nice weather and pitched up on one of the last remaining biggish spots on the first side of the field (which turned out to be the wettest side, apart from about 4 pitches!) All sorted nice and quickly, enjoyed chatting and being friendly and then the 6 of us went off to Sparkys in the evening, where we stayed very late to watch their second show, which was above average for Park Resorts. I’m convinced at least 2 of my daughter will end up doing park entertainment; in fact Max and i now have a bet on it. If any daughter has a job like that before they are 21, i get the holiday of my choice, if none do, he does.
Saturday Evening/Night it started raining and Sunday it rained all day. We were all a bit miserable, thoguh lunch in ASDA helped a bit (mainly to top up the shopping as Max’s grocery shop was a bit random; 3 different packs of cous couse, juice no one drinks and a watermelon! 🙄 ) I think we all howled when Max left, i know he drove away from me, Fran and Josie all sobbing 🙁 Sunday night was wet, but i had one of the nicest evenings of the week with a few friends in the Beans tent (the Beans being one of the centres of the universe for the week 😉 ) Alison and i dismantled the fast collapsing marquee on the way to bed and unlike Chris, i didn’t tip water down her back 😉 I had a set of refugees in my tent, late arriving Deep Enders all dressed in Tudor costume, having come straight from Kentwell. Bob, Nic and i did an attmept at Pup tent erection before abandoning that and taking them to the (inaptly on this occasion) Puddle tent. Must admit i was quite impressed by how it absorbed 6 extra people, though i’ds have like to have seen Fran’s double take when she woke up to see Kate, A and L in her pod, still dressed in Tudor shifts!
Monday was VERY wet in the morning and lots of people got moved and a few sat in my tent and recovered their sense of erm.. .adventure (that would be the requirement to charter a ship to get back to their tent). The kids did Sparky and by afternoon it was sunny and blue sky. Lovely afternoon of playing, fixing people and stuff and eventually a really nice late night evening outside the second pitching of Nic-tent, cut short only by a sudden flurry of rain about midnight.
Tuesday started EARLY – at about 2.30am. The flurry of rain had manifested itself into what felt like gale force winds and with in a minute of waking up, i was REALLY scared, in that only just awake and consequntly befuddled fashion. Within 2 minutes i’d convinced myself that the roaring of the sea was probably the start of a Tsunami and was trying to work out how one managed that while in a tent. Despite clearly knowing it WASN’T one, i was shaking with fright so decided to get up. The tent was really sucking in and out and the longest, straightest side was flat to the wind, so the door panel was coming undone. Got up, pegged a few bits and set off on a walk around the field to see if everyone else was okay. (It was already surprisingly light.) Chatted to various windswept and rattled people but decided no one was blowing away (or drowning) and concluded this probably meant i wouldn’t either. Got back to my tent to see Em and co looking a bit flattened and unpegged, so invited them all in to the Puddle (extra weight to hold it down 😉 ) It was impossible to sleep really and i had to get up a few times to try and peg the door panel down which was a bit of a week spot due to being flat to the wind. Think we all dozed off about 5.30 for a little while. ALL the kids slept through!
Consequently the day was blearly, weary and nasty and the weather never cleared particularly well, though the wind dropped eventually. There had been a lot more rain and i had a puddle right up to the side of the tent but it went. Several of us went and ranted at the campsite, in a polite way and i think they could have redeemed themselves a lot at that point, instead of being grumpy and defensive about it. The suggestion that we’d camped in the wrong field was a bit irritating, as was the fact we had to ask twice to get them to make the path to the toilets safe to walk over. Still we took over the back bar room and that gave us a warm, dry refuge for crafty stuff, which cheered us all up for the rest of the week.
Michelle and Chloe arrived and the gas ran out but we still managed a dry evening for gossip till late and wine drinking. In fact, all the evenings were great.
Oh, that was the night of the Karaoke; Maddy was desperate to do it, which ended up with Violet, Abbie and Anna doing it too . Maddy’s voice was terribly croaky and she got horribly thrown by the words screen and the microphone, so it was erm… a learning experience for her, but to give her her dues, she struck to it right to the end, despite knowing it wasn’t gonig too well. Very proud of her. Adored seeing Violet and co doing it too. Anna definitely inspired Maddy.
Wednesday was Africa ALIVE!!!!!! My sole bit of sorting for the week, counting the money, still seemed to manage to go wrong, mainly due to me being too sleepy to listen to the instructions properly. Still, we muddled through, but i didn’t seem to see many animals this year 🙁 Kids all had a lovely time as usual. Always like going there, in fact i shall really miss it, given i have no plans to rebook Kessingland Beach EVER again. Fran and i got talking about possible animal project options and maybe having a zoo-keeper day for her 10th (argh) birthday.
Thursday was, i think, really nice weather and a good day. Can’t remember much else about it. Think i coveted Michelle’s Thermarest a lot. Oh yes, we did the cabaret, ably hosted by Monster and lots of the kids joined in. Maddy sung “Second Star to the Right” still croaky but with more success than earlier in the week, Amelie sung “Start of Something New” from beginning to end and Fran did some cartwheels. Very proud of them all.
Friday was similar, though lots of people left but no before we’d done godseyes and craftyness. Pizza for tea, Max arrived and we went and played on the beach at Lowestoft, had a walk and played in the fountains before dashing to ASDA for snacks and coming back for a last night in the tent.
The forecasts that were twittered to us the next morning convinced us to leave and the rain started just as we left Suffolk. Shattered when we got back but 2 Doctor Who’s and much lying about just about fixed us.
So really, from my point of view, it was fine. Not relaxing, not easy, but fine. VERY cross with the campsite, who could have changed things so much by a bit of courtesy and just coming down to see if we were okay, but the kids had a lovely time and had it not been for the underlying organisation that was put in by everyone who did that, it would have been much harder indeed.
Thanks all. New venue next year, but definitely still a camp. Kids loved it i think, and that’s what counts the most.