When an event or activity is planned I gain enjoyment from the anticipation, participation and reminiscence. These are just a few of the highlights from our recent camping trip that I will look back on with pleasure.
- Sunny days, balmy nights, and the gentle lullaby of light rain on the tent as we tried to sleep.
- A quiet and peaceful site, mercifully free of the large groups who chat and laugh into the night as others yearn for sleep.
- Elder son wandering the dry and dusty field around our tent barefoot until his feet resembled those of a hobbit.
- Cycling out to the neighbouring airfield to watch the model plane enthusiasts flying their crafts, then on through the forest to pick up the day’s groceries, buy cooling ice creams and watch the trains.
- The warmth of the sun as the rays slowly darkened our skin tone as the week progressed.
- Time to read books and magazines, practise circus skills, learn new card tricks.
- Shopping for teddy bears in a nearby town then setting up elaborate photo shoots to post on Edward Gainsborough – Teddy Bear‘s Facebook page when we returned home.
- Hot showers each morning, cold wine each evening.
- Shared time together without the distractions of the plethora of electronic media that entertain us whilst at home.
Of course, not everything went to plan. These are just a few of the misadventures that we survived.
- Our newly purchased mallet snapped as we tried to hammer tent pegs into the sun baked ground making putting up the tent securely a challenge.
- Unable to keep anything cold through the warm and sunny days, our butter turned to liquid covering everything in our not so cool box with grease and forcing us to manage without this tasty topping for the remainder of the holiday.
- A leaky air bed that partially deflated each night leaving the occupant tired and achy, although mercifully not grumpy.
- A herd of New Forest ponies stampeding through the campsite as we ate our breakfast one morning – scary!
- An attempt to brew a refreshing cup of tea became an exercise in quick reactions when our small stove caught fire (gas cylinder not correctly connected) within a couple of feet of our tent. This one could have been a disaster…
We cycled as a means of transport but had difficulty persuading younger son to walk in the beautiful countryside that surrounded our campsite and was a major reason for choosing this location. In an effort to spend a day that would please him we paid for entrance to the nearby National Motor Museum. He enjoyed the extensive collection of cars but became difficult once again when we insisted on exploring the abbey and house as well. His intransigence was all the harder to bear as normally we eschew expensive visitor attractions, making use instead of the beautiful locations that are available for free to those who will seek them out. We were not impressed by his attitude.
With the ups and downs of the trip, five days was probably just a little too long to be away. Too many requests were ignored by our teenagers, too many refusals to compromise and fit in with what others wanted from their time away.
There was, however, also a feeling of togetherness that is all but impossible to achieve at home where personal space is plentiful and distractions tailored to suit each individual. We took time out of our everyday lives to share a back to basics experience. As time passes we will remember the positives with pleasure and come to laugh ruefully at the negatives. My children are growing older; I will value all of the time that I can share with them before their inevitable moving away, that will be all too soon coming.
Last time, when we camped at the New Forest, a donkey went to our tent and stole our food.