Friday, 25 May 2007

Trailer Tent Trash

I can’t believe I have been so completely suckered by the elements. The recent hot weather lured us into booking a camping holiday for half term next week. I should have realised that, as Monday is also a Bank Holiday, there wasn’t ever going to be the slightest chance that the weather would be good. That now looks like being a complete understatement. I believe the forecast is for torrential rain, gale force winds and temperatures of around 11 degrees – all very character building.

I need to state upfront that camping is not really my idea of fun. In my family though, that opinion puts me in a minority of one. H, the eternal Boy Scout, loves setting up rusty gas stoves and mouldy sleeping bags, whilst whistling ‘Ging gang goolie.’ The kids love running around non-stop for days, unwashed and slightly feral. There is some consolation in that I usually take a wine box (or two) but this is for medicinal and anaesthetic purposes, of course.

We are travelling up to the Lake District, which is one of my favourite places in the country, but the vegetation there is green and lush for a very good reason.

This time, we are taking a trailer tent that we acquired from my brother. This clever contraption folds out to a full, if rather basic, tent in minutes. Unfortunately, in the apartheid world of camping, a trailer tent places you firmly in ‘no-campers’ land. You are shunned by the owners of cosy camper vans and glossy motorhomes, because of your humble ‘trailer trash’ status, and you are scorned by the hardened canvas addicts because you clearly aren’t suffering enough to be camping properly.

Camping is not the most romantic of getaways, either. Despite the fact that H and I have a cosy double sleeping bag, the lack of basic personal hygiene becomes an increasing barrier to intimacy as the week wears on. If smelling like a Greek wrestler’s jock strap isn’t enough to dampen one’s ardour, then the seductive night time survival kit of thermal underwear, track suit, thick socks and a woolly hat is sure to do it. I don’t think I need to elaborate on the additional passion-annihilating effects of having your children sleep near you in an enclosed space.

As a last ditch attempt at some luxury before the austerity, I am opening a bottle of the Drunk Mummy Favourite Fizz – La Marca Prosecco (£5.99 Ocado). I’m wondering whether I should take some of this with me next week - I could always chill it inside the sleeping bag.

Sadly, I will not be taking my laptop with me (it’s not waterproof), so I can’t blog for a week.

Have a great Bank Holiday everyone, and for those blessed with children, have a stress-free half term (ha!).


mutterings and meanderings said...

Have a lovely time, m'dear!

Haven't camped for a few years since I went to the Guildford festival but I do like going feral on occasion ...

jenny said...

"Greek wrestler's jock strap"!!! Bwah-ha-hahahahaha!!! *ahem!* Been there, done that! Then the next day it smells like greek wrestler's jock strap on the locker room floor! phew!


debio said...

I have finally been persuaded by my husband that I must visit the Lake District with my daughter when we are in UK this Summer, for reasons too complicated to detail here!
I am frightened of the cold and wet....I now know I must not go for reasons of personal survival - should I have to, I shall be the one in the fur coat and inappropriately high-heeled boots.
Bottoms up! - but only figuratively.

Omega Mum said...

Best of luck. We went this time last year. Drink lots. It's the only time when I'd contemplate group sex for the enhanced body warmth.

Akelamalu said...

I think the forecast is better for Tuesday onwards so you'll only be waterlogged for one day with a bit of luck! Have a good time, if that's possible camping. :)

dulwichmum said...

Darling Drunk Mummy,

Please don't go - we did it last year in France, and were forced to find emergency hotel accommodation (at great expense)at the last minute when I realised a 5* luxury camp site involved a "bathroom block", barbaric toilet tissue and nowhere to plug in the GHD!!!

I was so disappointed as I had spent a fortune on Cath Kidston accessories.

The children however enjoyed camping with the au pair. James and I visited and waved daily as the paddled in the chlorinated puddle the brochure had described as a pool...

VanessaR said...

My husband hates camping with me as I get a bit Girl Guidey and start telling him how, if we only had some strong and suitable sticks, I could knock up a gadget to hold the washing up bowl complete with a draining rack. It's a useful skill I'm sure but a skill I haven't used since I was 15 and Patrol Leader of the Chaffinches. And I know loads of camp fire songs. And I get a bit obsessive about proper bedding rolls. It's no surprise that we haven't camped for years as I think he'll definitely strangle me next time.

Had some of that Prosecco myself last night and it went down very well.

beta mum said...

We're going camping (for a weekend only) in June, and that's enough for me.
Last year we went around the same time and I must have slept for about two hours - between getting warm enough to fall asleep and the almighty racket of the bloody dawn chorus.
This time I'm taking ear plugs, a proper mattress and a duck down sleeping bag.
Hope you had fun.

rilly super said...

drunkmummy, the lake district, or more specifically borrowdale, is the wettest place in britain and not for nothing are the moss covered woods of that spot known to those who know about these things as 'temperate rain forest'. Just a few simple precautions if you are spending a week in a tent there darling, add a rubber ring to your aforementioned sleeping apparel and empty out your wine box before leaving and fill it with 'god's damp excluder', a good west coast malt whisky. have a super week won't you

Anonymous said...

hope you have a lovley time your blog made me laugh i enjoyed camping we went up derbyshire spent most of the time in the pub see you when you get back let me know how it all went jep

Pig in the Kitchen said...

Oh Drunkmummy, I quailed as i read your plans, and by now you will be entrenched in your misery. I'm hoping that's very pessimistic of me and that you're having a thrilling time. I loved camping when I was little, but the thought of trying to keep my piglets quiet from 6am until 9am when normal humans awake, without a tv...well it makes me shudder. Hope you had a fabulous time, couldn't you duck into an internet cafe and do us a post halfway thru the week? I shall miss your ramblings! sorry,I mean pithy, relevant posts

The Good Woman said...

Just saw the weather forecast. Oh dear. Know that we were thinking of you. From inside our warm homes.

Cybil Libyc said...

LOL!! My idea of camping is no room service. Hats off to you, just stay drunkish and you'll have fond memories.

Elsie Button said...

oh my god, hope you didn't get the weather we got here on sunday. relentless rain rain rain.

lady macleod said...

Oh do have fun. I say take the tipples for sure.

Silvana said...

I love that La Marca Prosecco - I do hope you took a couple of bottles with you. We've just come back from a very rainy week in Spain. We stood looking at our lovely private blue-tiled pool before running back in and putting Scooby Doo on the tv. The fact that we were surrounded by artisan vineyards who'd sell you a 5 litre box of their finest fino sherry for 6 euro helped.

jenny said...

Aren't you back yet??? I'm getting rather impatient, waiting for your return (foot tapping quickly). I hope you didnt get rained out, as I see from above comments it rained there. I am about to go stand under the shower myself if I dont hear from you soon!!

:o) Welcome back home!!

Frog in the Field said...

I always said I'd never camp but was press ganged into it last summer. The Volvo developed problems and failed so we had to go home for the 4x4. By the time we got to the campsite it was very dark, so we put the tent up (for the very first time) by the headlights of the 4x4 (engine running for an hour) and started our little camping experience by being ever so eco-friendly (ahem!) and keeping the whole camp site awake. Our youngest then demanded very loudly that she wanted to sleep in a suitcase. We realised after a while that she had meant sleeping bag, but of course we had some very odd looks in the morning.
As we all snuggled down together one of the children said, how do like like camping Dad? "I bloody hate it!" They still quote him to this day.
We got up in the morning and saw we had in fact left a 6" gap between groundsheet and tent and that probably accounted for the force 8 gail we didn't sleep through!

A Bishops wife said...

This is just sooo funny!
I linked here from...well I do not remember. I have been linking around the "mommy" and "Autism" blogs this morning. I just got home from work and this was just what I needed. We had one of those tents growing up. There were 10 of us kids. picture that.LOL.

The Secretary said...

Sorry Drunk Mummy, I won't go anywhere that doesn't state 'mini bar' in the brochure. Rather you than me, camping is one thing I won't do come hell or high water. I mean how does one dry ones hair and apply ones makeup in a tent. As for sharing a double sleeping bag - that's just wrong, I would have demanded my own tent with on-suite facilities. Can you tell I was never a girl guide.

I have a friend who runs a scout troop - when they go off camping, they all have to huddle in thier tents and she takes her motorhome - what class!

Omega Mum said...

I'm getting worried about you. You should be back by now. Or are you cut off by a flash flood?

rilly super said...

drunk mummy, I am wondering if you have perhaps decided to stay in cumbria and start a 'wife in the lakes' blog.

Drunk Mummy said...

M&M - you are right - the lack of personal hygiene becomes a secondary issue when faced with the fight for survival.

jenny - yes, there is a point where the pheromones become rather overwhelming. Thanks for the welcome back!

Debio - it really is a lovely place, but if you don't like the cold and wet, then I would suggest viewing it from one of the cosy inns and hotels (preferably in the bar).

omega mum - I did drink lots, to numb the pain, but sex was definitely off the agenda (group or otherwise) since wild horses would not have parted me from my trusty thermal undies.

akelamalu - you were absolutely right - we have camped in the Lakes in far worse weather than we had this week! (See, some people never learn).

Dulwich Mum - you had toilet tissue? that is Five Star Luxury in camping terms!

vanessar - as Patrol Leader of the Chaffinches, you sound like just the sort of girl to make the best of a camping holiday. I was rather alarmed to discover that all the communal songs I know have rather rude lyrics, and are therefore really not suitable for a family holiday. Glad you enjoyed the Prosecco!

beta mum - trust me, pack a wine box as well - its a camping essential.

rilly - wow, you sound like Wainwright there! We did take rather indecent supplies of wine and whisky. A hip flask really isn't enough (even with hips like mine).

Hello julie!
I view visiting the local hostelries as an important part of supporting the local economy (ahem!) as well as offering opportunities to warm up and dry off. These are crucial survival skills.

Pig - yes the early starts are a bit of a killer. But then, so am I if crossed too early in the morning. The kids know its better to snigger quietly at their cantankerous mother, and keep their heads below the parapet.

Drunk Mummy said...

good woman - thank you, it turned out to be not quite as brutal as the forecast suggested. Still, it is rather depressing when you begin to fantasise about a warm house rather than a warm man.

cybil - you are right, the only room service was provided by H swatting bugs from inside the tent. The wine box did take some of the more painful memories away.

elsie - I don't think it was too bad for the Lakes, but my toes and fingers have definitely become slightly webbed.

lady macleod - we did take plenty. I bet you don't get these weather problems in Morocco!

silvana - that doesn't sound like a bad holiday to me. I thought my 3 litre box of red wine was good going, but a 5 litre box of fino sherry? I take my hat off to you!

Hello frog in the field!
Yes, the horror of pitching the tent in the dark and the rain was what prompted us to shift to the trailer tent. It still doesn't make it an easy holiday though!

Hello bishop's wife!
Ten kids in a tent! My kids would think that was the best holiday ever. But if I was the adult in charge, I think I would lose the will to live.

secretary - I was not a pretty sight, it has to be said. I just avoided looking in the mirror. (This tactic works surprisingly well - I may continue it now I am back home).

omega mum and rilly - thank you for your concern! I have spent large tracts of time since our return doing laundry and scraping mould off our underwear. Come to think of it, Wife in the Lakes might make a good blog - maybe I should go back up there.

Pig in the Kitchen said...

hurrah You are back! I've missed you!
(and by my reckoning that makes 25 comments, I'm rather jealous!!!)

Drunk Mummy said...

Pig - that is very kind - I have missed my blogging chums too. After dinner, and suitably 'fuelled', I intend to visit and catch up on all the news.