Thursday, 19 August 2010

Camp Wales

As we drove through the mountains in a torrential downpour on the way to our camping destination, Tom solemnly said 'suddenly camping in Wales doesn't seem like such a great idea'. Betty sang: 'We're going camping, we're going camping, way up high, pitter patter raindrops, pitter patter raindrops, we're wet through, so are you' pretty much all the way. I was fully prepared for us to arrive, then turn around and come straight home.

Tom and I had the obligatory 'how to pitch a tent' argument as we battled with the giant thing flapping furiously in the wind and rain. Meanwhile the girls were locked in the car, out of our way, yelling and fighting over the bag of crisps I had thrown at them to shut them up. In fact the stationary car became a prominent feature during our trip and the kids would insist on spending much of their time in there - I suspect because it was warm and dry, and they could listen to Lily Allen, and eat stale chocolate buttons and crisps found between the seats.

Having survived the first evening, by going to the pub up the road for supper, drinking lots of cider, and getting Betty and Dolly togged up in their waterproofs and making them play football til 10pm on the campsite, we all passed out til morning. The next day the rain continued so we jumped in the car and headed for the cinema in Swansea. While Tom roamed the city's art galleries with a sleeping Dolly on his back, I took Betty to see Toy Story 3 (her first cinema experience). Unfortunately, despite a wonderful time playing in the foyer, the 'scary baby on the big telly' was all too much for Betty, and half an hour before the end (much to my disappointment, as I was pretty hooked by the film) we had to vacate in a furore of tears and sobs and her saying 'I just want to build sandcastles mummy'.

Later that afternoon the rain stopped, the clouds and haze lifted and sunshine and blue skies came through. We were ecstatic. We dashed to Tesco to buy some sausages and charcoal and alcohol (which is pretty much a must when camping with small children). Tom took the girls for a walk along the beach, whilst I lit the bbq, put the sausages on and then sat back with a large glass of wine and a tube of Pringles and gazed at the sand-dunes. I was in camping heaven.

We ended up staying for nine days, and while it certainly wasn't always plain sailing (mainly because our darling sweet children seem to like brawling and making each other cry), I think it was the best holiday I have ever had. We played in the sand-dunes, swam in the sea, had bbqs on the beach with new-found friends, and old friends joined us for the weekend. We collected snails and shells, had lazy pub lunches, made life-size sand boats, went on long beach walks, found hidden rock pools, and sometimes Tom and I actually managed to read or have a proper conversation.

The camping trip had the added bonus of expunging the final traces of neurosis and Gina Ford-ness out of my approach to parenting. Normally the queen of clean and routine, I really let things slide. The girls didn't get a proper wash for days, and when they did wash I even let them into the campsite showers, and didn't go too mental when they sat down on the cubicle floor with all the dirty hairbands and other people's matted hair and dirt. I resigned myself to letting them eat fruit and veg that had perhaps seen better days, and I let Dolly eat sand on the beach, and encouraged Betty to do a wee on a sandcastle she had made. And I am not sure Dolly's bedtime bottle ever got a proper wash. Speaking of bedtime, what's that? Get me.

http://www.tots100.co.uk/2011/05/16/tots100-blog-hop-become-a-worlds-apart-toy-reviewer/

13 comments:

glummymummy said...

Glad you had a great time! I must say, I'd never be able to spend nine whole days stuck in a tent with the kids and the hubby - I'd probably escape for freedom on the first night! Well done for your bravery! x

Iota said...

When I first read this post
I was wanting more...
You were locking those girls in the car
What'd you do that for?

But it made me smile
Yeah, it made me smile

Elsie Button said...

hi glummy mummy, yes i was rather pleased with myself for lasting 9 days - we are heading off with our tent again on monday...

hi iota, is that a song? and if so, what tune should i sing it to? (tom told me to say that)

TheMadHouse said...

We too have locked the boys in the car, however, they had the key and then lost the key and we spent 3 days stuck on a camp site looking for it. Your trip sounds divine

Elsie Button said...

hi the madhouse, OH NO! what a nightmare - did you ever find it? (have taken note!)

Marianne said...

You made me smile this morning Elsie - glad you enjoyed your camping holiday and got into the relaxed ambiance. Kids just love that sort of freedom and sounds like you and Tom had a great time too.

I find living on the boat (which is basically camping on the water with episodes of pure terror) squeaky clean me goes out of the window - especially as clean water is tightly rationed.

sadie said...

I salute you lady. A brave thing to do! My foolish hubby suggested camping to me earlier this year. I gave him my coldest started and informed him 'I don't DO camping, no'. I've also told him that if I hear the dreaded C word again, it's divorce time! So hats off to you for your adventure, you managed to give it a bit of an Enid Blyton air at the end of your post :o) I must admit, I did wonder how it was going. It's been a chilly and rainy week here in East Anglia, and I was curious if you were camping in mud or not. Glad it was a good time for all :O)

Elsie Button said...

Hi Marianne, yes it's funny how our standards slip when they have to, but we turn out fine. has made me realise that a bit of dirt and grime never hurt anyone...

Hi Sadie, oh come on!!! give it a try - you might LOVE IT! There were lots of first-timers on the site we were on, and they were loving it, and they were even staying on extra days in the rain they were having such fun! it really is a great experience...

Metropolitan Mum said...

Hi!! You survived. You are back!! Yay! I was really really worried about you. Happy to hear that you enjoyed yourself. So. Alcohol is essential? How much did you give them? ;)
MMx

Elsie Button said...

Hi MM, we survived! why don't you come join us next year?! Lots of alcohol,lots of tantrums, lots of wet clothes,it will be fun! x

ebabeelikes said...

I need to take a leaf out of your book and learn that a bit of grime and dirt never hurt! Maybe I need to go on a camping trip but somehow I just don't think I'm brave enough.

Iota said...

The answer to your question is in your original blog post.

Elsie Button said...

eh?