Remember I mentioned the yummy raspberry cheesecake we all made on Thursday night? Well, it made me and The Boss feel so mellow that we decided on a whim to go camping this weekend. I pored over the weather forecasts and settled on a particular campsite near Gairloch, NW Highlands, as that would (a) miss all the rain except for a few hours in the early morning, (b) had a low midge forecast and (c) it was highly rated in all reviews. Brilliant! So we told the minxes and spent all Friday day and night happily getting our old camping gear ready and packing the car.

In The Olden Days Pre-Minxes we had 2 crates in the garage for camping: one crate full of small camp stove, cups, coffee, mini first aid kit, bits and bobs needed for a weekend away; the other crate was full of supplementals to take for a week or more away. It meant that we could get home from work on a Friday night, grab the tent, either one or both crates, climbing and/or cycling gear and a bag of clothes and GO! But the last time we went camping was in our old Vango Storm 300+, a week before Maxi Minx’s 1st birthday. So that’s 5 years ago… Ah, how much fun we had all over the Peak District when suddenly we were camping as a family instead of a couple! With our tandem plus baby seat at the back. Nowadays, it takes me all my time just to put together a comprehensive enough First Aid kit for the kids, never mind get the rest of the gear together. Hence why it took all of Friday.

I put up the old tent in the sun, left the doors opened and hoped that the stiff breeze would air away the musty damp smell (it didn’t). While I was at it, I aired my treasure stash of books that I’d liberated from their 17 year incarceration in my Dad’s basement. I don’t know which smelled worse! And kept 3 sun-creamed minxes from getting up to too much mischief. They went to bed all excited about the weekend ahead, heads filled with tales of new beaches to explore, croissants and bacon rolls for breakfast, Chinese takeaway for dinner, afternoon stop at the cake-shop and dodging midges. They’ve no real idea what midges are – I think they think they’re mischievious teddies or something. Ah, they’ll learn.

Saturday dawned bleak and wet. A quick weather check showed that the forecast had totally changed and that NW Highlands were going to get heavy rain some of Saturday and all day Sunday. So we and the tent would be wet all day. Hmmm. The Boss kyboshed the idea just as Maxi and Midi burst into our room holding aloft the soft toys they’d finally settled on taking. Maxi greeted the news with floods of tears. Poor little soul. I tried to cheer her up with a quickly cobbled-together story of how we could do all the things we’d planned here at home. She didn’t seem convinced…

One round of bacon rolls and cake in the oven for afternoon tea later, and Maxi still wasn’t convinced. She was allowed to make a huge painting mess with Midi, which cheered her up a bit. I started crocheting a round of red poppies on her granny stripe blanket which made her happier still. The Boss took her and Mini to the local Waste Busters in search of a new bike, then a quick food shop. The strange child loved that! But I think the thing that made her happiest of all was bringing home a Chinese takeaway and being allowed to eat it with chopsticks. Little Midi showed what hunger, greed, tenacity and a desire to out-do your big sister can achieve: she merrily showed off her chopstick skills picking up individual peas and rice grains, and crowing gleefully at her less skilful sisters.

indoor camping

Bedtime stories under canvas. Ish.

Full of takeway, cake, lemonade and wearing their new pyjamas, the minxes were finally ushered to their bedroom, where I’d managed to squeeze in the tent inner. It stank the room out with its musty smell, but they didn’t care! All 3 spent the evening thundering back and forth along the landing, in and out the tent, screaming their heads off. I guess the campers at that campsite will never know how close they came to having their Saturday night badly disturbed…

Around 10pm peace suddenly reigned: Mini had finally settled in her cot, Maxi had passed out in Midi’s lower bunkbed and Midi was snoring her head off, starfished in the tent.

home-made croissants

Flaky, doughy, munchy claws of buttery yumminess

Today The Boss baked the home-made croissants I’d made yesterday and brought out all 9 flavours of jam we have lurking in the cupboards. After that we had a day of messing about in the tent (they’re all up there now, at 2215hrs, still messing about in sleeping bags and arguing over whether the doors are going to get zipped shut or not. I’m contemplating padlocking the doors shut…), being educated in the Tour de France by The Boss, watching tennis (they got bored, and I felt all motherly to Andy Murray, greetin’ at the end, poor wee sausage).

Talking to Maxi over dinner, we discussed what we might get up to tomorrow. We agreed that we could pull out sleds for boats, use brushes as oars, they could get as wet as they pleased. And if the grass stayed wet, I might even pull them along in their ‘boats’. “Ooo, I wonder if the grass will get wrecked?” I pondered aloud.

“Who cares?” Maxi shrugged, licking her clotted cream with the odd bit of scone dotted round it. I laughed long and hard: this isn’t Maxi’s normal attitude at all. She’s so responsible and mature and proper that normally she’d have fretted and wrung her hands over the prospect of some grass being a bit put out.

“That’s my girl!”, high-fiving her. It looks like tomorrow might be quite fun after all!

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