We have made the rash decision to go camping tomorrow. We have even roped another family into the deal. Even though we are not going far the prospect has sent me, as a lover of creature comforts, into a complete dither and I lay awake last night thinking about packing kettles and washing up bowls. You must think of everything and faced with that task my brain tends to go into shut down rather than overdrive. Packing up for camping is like being told, ‘Take every object that you use at home on a daily basis a cram it into or onto the car somehow.’ The mind boggles. Tea bags, tea spoons, washing up towels, loo roll, pillows, duvets (will we be cold?), mattresses, food, water. Some people have lists and delegate the tasks but I feel alone in my disorganisation, unable to think past running around the house aimlessly for hours. On the up side, we have chosen a camp site with what are billed as ‘clean loos and hot showers’, this will be almost a first for me. Previous experience has had us boiling water to put in a bucket for a shower, this time I learn that we will have a kuni booster (ie. you put wood in one end, set fire to it then just wait for hot water to spring from the tap.). There is the possibility of riding expeditions (must remember riding hats!).
On arrival we will doubtless find that we have forgotten half a dozen items or more, for instance, a child’s precious toy that they can then use as an excuse to refuse to sleep without, or we might forget to bring a crucial bottle of wine or bar of chocolate to help the adults through the ordeal. Then we might torture ourselves by envisioning it lying there on the shelf in the fridge at home as we sit by the fire in the cold outdoors. Our travelling companions will doubtless be far better catered than us (they have a cook at home) and we will be drooling at them over our tuna mayonnaise sandwiches. I know this because I have seen their picnics before. Fortunately they are always very kind about sharing but my husband always shoots me a look and mutters: ‘why do we never have delicious sandwiches like this, or why can’t you make this delicious special healthy nutty, seedy, crystallized ginger mix?’
It doesn’t help that I’ve already planned to stock up on school uniform today before next weeks rush. There is also a dental appointment for the kids that I cannot change and I absolutely refuse to cancel a children’s play date at my friend’s house at tea time – mainly because I just fancy chewing the fat with my friend for a couple of hours because we never get around to seeing each other enough. That leaves little pockets of time today to hurriedly shop and pack and realistically not much will get done. My husband will come home jauntily because it’s Friday, then will innocently ask, ‘Have you packed?’ which will send me into a spontaneous fury (because I won’t have), then he will follow with, ‘Why not? You have had all day.’ Which will make things a lot worse.
Hey ho, far be it from me to shy away from adventure! Rows will ensue; packing the car will be stressful. The children will probably wonder whether it is really worth going as their parents have gone into melt down, snapping at them at every turn. We (as parents) will tell ourselves we are doing it for the kids of course because they will absolutely love it, and I will report back next week to tell you how it went.