Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts
Showing posts with label adventure. Show all posts

The Essential Item that can save your life

Once upon a time I went camping, I thought I'd packed everything. I had food, tins of beans, soup, noodles, sachets of sauce, a block of cheese, bread. I had beer, wine, all the essentials.

I arrived at the campsite. Pitched my lovely tent. Sat for a while in my camp chair to rest and take stock. Then I realised a beer would be nice. I took a bottle from the cooler and...yikes! No bottle opener! Panic...then the decision to move to wine and seek the bottle opener later...but corkscrew! Lordy this day was going from bad to worse! I made a cup of tea and decided to have some bread and cheese...but what's this? only plastic cutlery? Nothing to slice with? Grrr I shall have to warm a can of beans and ...NO CAN OPENER!!!

That's it! This has gone far enough! This camping lark will be a disaster unless someone has a device that can open beer, wine bottles, cans, slice cheese..

and so ladies and gentlemen of the camping world may I present...the Swiss Army knife(aka penknife). I had previously had no idea this item had a purpose beyond being on the wish list of 8 year old boys for the mysterious purposes of whittling and possibly, skinning rabbits (yes the 8 year old boys I know are pretty blood thirsty)

So I immediately bought myself a Swiss army penknife, I paid huge amounts of money for it in a camping shop...and lost it one day later. Luckily I found a replacement in Asda for a pound. Yes really - and yes I was furious at myself for a) spending fortunes on the first one and b) losing the first one. I promptly attached a long colourful lanyard to the replacement knife. (a similar knife is currently £3.73 on Amazon)

If there is one thing I advise you to take camping, it's a multifunction penknife. They can be bought cheaply but you won't regret the purchase...I have scissors on mine, a tooth pick, tweezers (great for splinters) a tiny saw (for cutting twigs for the fire) a knife - for whittling marshmallow sticks, as well as booze opening essentials, a screwdriver and a can opener, and probably a thing for getting stones out of horses hooves. There is nothing more vital for the camper.

Oh and saving your life? well wine obviously - but also I sleep with it in the sleeping bag next to me, in case I need to escape from the tent in case of bear attack and need to cut my way out.(Unlikely in the UK but you can't be too careful, now pass me that beer)

Picture credit Woodland Park Zoo

Where do campers go in winter?

Well I'm sure some of us fly south and continue camping...a bit like swallows, but with more tent poles. Some stay in chilly UK and still camp - after all, you can get all season tents and sleeping bags! (top of my bucket list is snow camping)

But I suspect more of us do what I do, pack up the kit until spring and just snuggle down by a fire to read their camping and caravanning magazines and plan next years camping.

I have already booked a few festivals too, nothing like reliving last summer and dreaming of the next to warm you up.

So far I'm going to a local (to me) and early Festival (in May) called Elderflower Fields, I've never been to this festival before, and it hasn't been going long. I'm hoping it's big enough to be fun but small enough to be friendly. It bills itself as a family festival,

and I have to admit it does look amazing! Rather glad to see that the theme will fit in rather nicely with another festival I'm off to Wilderness! I've been to wilderness a few times now after winning tickets some years ago and getting hooked.

Wilderness is a festival for older folk, but families still attend and it has a friendly feel. DD enjoys it as it's a bit cooler at her age.

See more about Wilderness on their Youtube Channel, including the now infamous Secret (naked) Swim.

And of course I hope to be off to Camp Bestival next year too - a perfect family festival, you have a baby? toddlers? This festival gives you no excuse not to attend, it's designed around children, with plenty of things for adults to enjoy too. Not least the fact that your kids are entertained, and then are tired at bedtime! This years theme is GO WILD so I'm especially excited for fancy dress ideas - can I recycle my green ballgown for a third year? Well yes, I think I can! Watch this space!

Camping, fabulous (semi-wild) camping

So, DD and I met up with my brother and his children and we all went camping at Dernwood Farm. It's sort of wild. There are flushing loos, running (cold) water and it's pretty busy but it's just a field, no marked pitches and you can have real fires (which was one of the main reasons we picked this site and was a great addition to camping)
crochet bunting decorating a canvas tent
There is a long walk from the car park but that's a big plus as there are no cars on the actual site to worry about. No danger for the kids and no car noise. (and safety for the many toads on the site)
toad in the grass
We visited Hailsham Leisure Centre on the one day it rained and the girls had great fun on the flume and in the pool. We also did a quick bit of charity shop shopping. On  the Sunday we went to Hastings and the girls played on the extremely windy beach.
windy beach in summer with children in wellies
shingle beach in summer
carrying wellies up a shingle beach
hair blowing in the wind
On the Monday wewent to Heathfield for the french market (in full moustache mode), made candles, bought bread and generally had a fab time.
three children in fake moustaches
candles at a french market
making candles at a french market
garlic at a french market
Eiffel towers for sale at a french market
And every night was fire and marshmallow night.
toasting marsh mallows over an open fire
toasting marsh mallows over an open fire
eating a toasted marsh mallow on a stick
toasting marsh mallows over an open fire
open fire
Now we can't wait for our next adventure!

Why I love Camping

I adore camping.I love tents. I'm fairly sure that many of the reasons that I love camping will be the reasons you hate it. I'll start at the beginning, I love the smell of a canvas tent, I like the anticipation of packing for a camping trip. The look at the list,checking the food and the booze. Packing the car,(I have a Fiat Panda so it's car Tetris every time) And then the drive, either to a site I know and love or to a new exciting site where who knows what I will discover. Arriving, unpacking, laying out the tent, pitching, happy in the knowledge I can do it all by myself! Sending DD to fetch water, and other small chores. The sun (or rain) and the knowledge that as soon as we are finished I can cool off with a beer or warm up with a tea.

Sitting in the fresh air,watching the other campers, listening to the sounds of nature, the wind in the trees, bird song, bees. Walking around the area seeing what is going on. Snoozing on a rug, reading  a book, sipping a Pims. Playing Frisbee with DD... And later cooking outside on a BBQ or my camp stove, eating sausages or stew, more booze, more tea, hot chocolate and then bed...
Snuggled warm (with many layers plus hat) in my mummy style sleeping bag, on the mattress next to DD. Listening to the animals outside, the tent flapping, rain on the canvas, the smell of the tent.So peaceful, sleeping from dark until dawn. Waking to birdsong and the thought of a fully cooked breakfast, with local produce if I'm lucky...

And sometimes all of that is combined with the added fun of a festival. Sitting here now I'm making myself yearn for my tent...

Camping, total relaxation, and always plenty for kids to do, from exploring to chores....what's not to like?

Night night, sleep tight - Camping sleep mats review

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