March 2012 Camping Exped

So… how did the overnight camping exped go? Well, we all survived and had fun, but the neighbours didn’t get much sleep. Oops.

First the tent report:

I started putting the beast up on my own on Friday evening. I’m a flabby middle-aged mum (I turned 41 a few days ago. I’m now properly old, hehehehe) so that’s a good test for it. After 50 minutes, I managed to get this far:

After 50 minutes graft...

Mistakes along the way that I won’t make again: I now properly appreciate that a 5-man tent is a totally different beast to my old, loved 2-man tent; know which end is the front door; I’ll make sure that that’s lying on the ground first before pushing the poles in and piling the ‘ribs’ on top of each other; I now know to put the pins into the base of the poles (or the tent has no tension: dur!); I know that the curved ceiling ribs and angle-pieces need to really be in tight with the material; I’ve slacked off the groundsheet and zipped all the doors ready for erection (though next time I’ll leave one door unzipped so I can actually get the air out instead of having to roll over it like a dog in pig-muck…). Oh yeah, and next time I’ll make sure that I don’t lose the tent pins somewhere in the voluminous mass of canvas on the ground…

I think second time round it will probably take around 30 minutes with both me and The Boss doing it together.

More importantly, though, the Minx Report:

  1. I think my first mistake was getting the girls’ excitement levels to Level Incredible by letting them watch me put up the tent. Their eyes were spinning in their giddy little heads by the time I finished.
  2. Second mistake was letting them take out some marshmallows in little pots as a treat. Actually, that could have been worse – I was tempted to let them have them threaded on a skewer. As it was, they just made a few thousand very sticky messes.
  3. Third mistake was letting them take their favourite teddies with them. Around 2am when the temperature dipped to 2.1degC (according to the Met Office actuals) Maxi Minx woke up cold, but refused to put on her down jacket that I’d put in the sleeping compartment: it was keeping Bagpuss warm.
  4. Fourth mistake was probably not warning the neighbours. I guess hearing a baby crying outside at all hours of the night and morning would be unsettling to most people.

To be fair to the girls, after they raced around the inside and bounded over the mattresses, leaving trails of marshmallow mess at toddler height, they quickly settled into their new sleeping bags. I’m so glad I bought 3 season ones with lovely thick neck baffles – I hadn’t intended to take them camping in weather as nippy as 2degC, but apart from Maxi, they stayed plenty warm enough. And they both loved the bright purple colour (!) Luckily their Grandma had happened to buy them mechanical torches each, so they were read their bedtime stories by torchlight.

Within 30 minutes, Maxi and Midi were snoring, cuddled up side by side. After another 30 minutes of watching poor little Mini race round and round like a hamster in a wheel, howling and crying, I realised that she just needed help realising that it was bedtime. So I cuddled her into mine and The Boss’ zip-together-into-a-double sleeping bags, stroked her head, and recited our normal nap- and bed-time goodnight list (“Goodnight fishing boats; goodnight seagulls; goodnight Daddy; goodnight Mummy; etc”) It worked like a charm and she was soon snoring louder than anyone.

Unfortunately she didn’t stay asleep. Ouchy cutting canines put paid to that. So by the time everyone else was awakened by the shrieking seagulls nesting in the cemetery next door around 5.30am, I’d not had much sleep… Luckily The Boss slipped right back into our old camping routines and fetched me a hot coffee in my sleeping bag as soon as he woke. God, how I love that man!

Future Camping

Well, now the girls have got their first camp-night jitters out their system, as I type this I’m trying to book a few nights’ stay next week over near Aberdeen. I can’t wait!

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