#7 Camping

Camping

Loads of my friends had been banging on about camping for years, facebook was full of pictures of everyone and their dog (literally in most cases) camping, but I always failed to see the attraction. You sleep on the floor with a thin bit of material protecting you from the elements, it’s freezing cold, usually always rains and you end up covered in mud. To add insult to injury you have to walk at least a mile to the nearest toilette, wash in cold water and cook baked beans over a camp fire – and that’s if you’re lucky enough to get one going. Really how can anyone call this a holiday!

Having aired my 1001 concerns of camping to my friends they reassured me it wasn’t like that – sure they laughed at me first, a lot, but they insisted the campsite was not in the middle of the woods, nor would I run the risk of being eaten by a bear. Reluctantly and much to my husband’s pleasure I eventually agreed that me and my family would join our friends for one weekend in the middle of their two week camping trip to Morfa Nefyn. I left my husband to beg borrow and buy all the necessary equipment and erased any memory of the booking from my mind until reality hit and I was shoe horning bags, tents and two small children into the car.

The campsite was roughly two hours away and 15 minutes in started the mandatory “are we there yet?” questions from my 4 year old. This was going to be a long weekend, a very long weekend.

One of my concerns was that we would be miles away from our friends and our children would be kidnapped whilst trying to get from one side of the site to the other, I really needn’t have bothered, I have seen larger gardens! Now don’t get me wrong this is a huge plus for me, I could see all the others campers lining the edge of the site with a large area in the middle to play with all the other children – no need to worry about finding our friends, in fact I was now worried about how we could avoid them if they drove me crazy singing songs around a camp fire holding hands 😉 As I left my husband and the other “men” to build the tent I explored the site. I was astonished to find that it actually had toilettes, not those hateful port aloos but real flushable toilettes, in fact I have never been so happy to see a public toilette in my life. You can imagine my pure elation when I discovered showers! One in the womens area, one in the males and another larger one in the family room – brilliant for sorting the kids out. Then I was shown the kitchen area with a fridge, a freezer, washing machine, tumble dryer and sinks, to say I was impressed is an understatement. I was starting to think maybe I could cope with this camping lark after all.  http://tyn-y-coed-touringpark.co.uk/

Once we were all set up and unpacked our friends wanted to show us the local area and announced we were going to the beach. Can I please point out that at this point it was raining, apparently they didn’t seem to notice this, infact their kids were even dressed in shorts, gathering together body boards, buckets and spades desperate to get to the beach. I was praying beach was the name of the local pub or even an indoor play area but apparently not. So we loaded up the car and drove to the nearest beach, we parked at a golf club and started our (longish) walk to the beach. I can assure you it was worth the walk. This little piece of heaven was just beautiful, picturesque and had its own weather forecast – seriously not a drop of rain in site just clear skies and a shining sun. The beach was relatively busy but every single person was friendly and happy, I felt instantly at home. The kids wasted no time in jumping straight into their wet suits and straight into the sea, ours included. Mine being 4 and 2, never been camping before, or to a beach in the rain and had just got back from a hot holiday in Fuerteventura – I was really expecting some whimpering about the weather but apparently that was just me!

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A stones throw from where we were sitting was a beautiful little pub, rather olde worlde, yet full of atmosphere and a constant buzz and totally packed with people ordering everything from drinks to food to ice creams (yes in this weather). The staff were lovely and again ever so friendly, needless to say we visited this pub again during our stay. At the end of the beach adventurer we headed up to the car, the walk back was not as much fun it was up hill with 6 adults, 5 kids under 7 and a dog all tired and hungry, but we made it, eventually. In the car on the way back I started to realise that although I had had a lovey day I was heading back for warm beans, songs around a camp fire and a sleepless night in a field waiting for the bears to get me – but at least I could have a shower first.

Our friends said they would sort out tea that night so we headed the 10 steps over to their set up (a campervan, attached to an awning, attached to a gazebo, attached to a tent. You need to see it to believe it) the space they had was incredible. Out came a table – an actual table, with chairs and we sat under cover listening to the rain. The campfire I had been dreading, ha well that turned out to be some sort or BBQ, wok, cooking device – it was amazing and we were served the most beautiful (fully cooked and piping hot) chicken fajitas and wine. I genuinely couldn’t believe how civilised all this was, in fact I was really starting to enjoy camping life – and then it was bed time.

It was raining a lot by now and was cold, very cold, but my gorgeous friends had thought of everything and lent us a heater which apparently we could plug in and use in the tent – who knew. We fast realised that “sleeps three in a room” does not mean fits three blow up beds in a room and found ourselves in a bit of pickle having only brought a double and single blow up bed thinking the four of us could jump in together – safety in numbers from the bears and all that. Luckily my friends rescued us once again and lent us a spare blow up bed so we had a double and two singles and separated off into parent and child sleeping quarters. I was now lovely and cosy in my blow up bed and sleeping bag snuggling up with my baby without the guilt of thinking he really should be in his cot, listening to the rain happy we were safe and dry, for now.

I woke in the night to some very strange noises I did consider the fact it was a bear but though it was a bit girly for a bear and was later informed it was actually the sheep in the field next door, that aside I slept remarkably well. Then I opened the bedroom zip – big mistake! The living quarter was a swamp this part of the tent did not have a sewn in ground sheet – now let me tell you I had no idea what this even ment but trust me it’s important. Everything in that area was wet and muddy and every trip outside of the tent made it go from bad to worse – but at least the bedrooms were safe and seen as though our friends had kindly adopted us for the weekend, our living quarters were rarely needed for more than an entrance – thank goodness.

The rest of the weekend was much the same we visited another beach, had a couple more showers, ate food stored in a fridge and cooked using real cooking devices, drank wine and watched the children laugh, argue fight, laugh some more and cry, whilst forming strong bonds of friendship over the waves in wales. In fact even I donned my wet suit on the Saturday and braved the icey waters of and thoroughly enjoyed myself, whilst also seriously considering the distinct possibility that the cold nights had damaged my brain. But hey we were all laughing and having a great time.

So I guess what I am trying to say in my very long winded kid of way is – I completed camping, ticked it off my list, surprised myself and I think my friends and actually bloody loved it! Would I go again – well lets just say we have a new tent (with sewn in ground sheets) ready and waiting to be test driven 

A huge thankyou goes to Lyndsey, Paul, Sarah and Mark for allowing us to gate crash your holiday, looking after us and helping me get one step closer to completing my mission.

Terri
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