We’ve been camping. It were marvellous. I’ve always loved camping, any excuse to not have to shower and conform to daily household routines is always welcome. I was a classic little boy when I went camping as a child. The bottom layer of my suitcase came home in the same tidy fashion that my mum had packed it in, eating, swimming and sleeping in the same clothes for 4 days. Lovely. My bowels always seize up though, never understood that. Not uncomfortably, I just stop needing to go. Still eat plenty, don’t you mind.
I have come on a little as an adult camper, this time around I found I was relieved when I discovered a pump bottle of antibacterial soap next to the hose tap, and very much enjoyed the feeling of clean hands. Flapping them dry like a bird as I walked bare foot across the uneven field back towards my homely tent. Our location was near perfect. A privately rented, sheltered, cosy field, with a small copse, called The Woods by all the children. A path led through the copse past the hammocks, occupied by teens joining their families for the last years before they’re given the choice to stay at home alone, past a derelict boat house and skirted pasted a small campfire site on to a small bank in the river Thames, more like a river beach, than a bank. Lined up in the trees were upside-down canoes. Each family on this camp owns one, as does the boys’ uncle whom we were there with. I was terrified about allowing Edgar and Rufus out onto the river in a canoe. I’m still catastrophising about it now. Especially as Jon and his brother are not strong swimmers and I wasn’t wanting to go out myself. But I was brave, hid my terror and happily waved my 2 babies off up the fast flowing river, only inches from the surface. I took the opportunity to swim. It was beautiful. Not as good as swimming in the sea, but calm and relaxing, as relaxed as I could be whilst convinced I kissed my children for the last time. I was glad to see them safely return. They’d had a wonderful time and did not want to get out. The only thing that tarnished our adventure, toddler strops. Their fiery rages were generally quickly doused with the promise of a biscuit back at the tent.
Nights were cold, there was frost in July, that worried me too. But the boys were toasty in their Thomas the Tank Readybeds and covered in my yellow flowery blanket that’s been on every camping trip since I was an early teen. I’m a comfy camper, pillows and duvet, none of that sleeping bag nonsense, so I was toasty, achey still but toasty. Taking children, toddlers even, camping is wonderful, they slept for 14 hours one night, fresh air and adventuring led to hearty appetites and zonked out sleepers, lovely. Camp food is wonderful, you can get away with anything, even biscuits for breakfast , which made us all very happy. Longlife milk is interesting stuff though. I definitely missed my fridge.
Our 4 night adventure also further highlighted the differences in our 2 boys. Eddie was desperate to be with the other children and had few qualms about heading off with a small group of boys, especially if his slightly older cousin was with him. I feel I want to deny it but Eddie seems such a typical boy, obsessed with slightly older boys and increasingly wanting to play rough. Ruru wanted to play but was cautious, not wanting to leave us and still on his own agenda. He was more content feeding his doggy friend his leftovers, I wish we could have a permanent dog friend. He does not like to play rough, yet! “It’ll end in tears,” Ruru’s tears. I am glad to be home, ish, I’ve missed my quiet evening tea and biscuits and my massive bed. And I want my boys to be as content with days at home as they are with days adventuring. I think that’s optimistic.
So it’s reluctantly I return to showering regularly, using toilet roll, putting my children to bed at a reasonable hour, and I shall stop eating biscuits for breakfast, honest.