31 July – 2 Aug 2012
Well, we finally managed it – we got the minxes away properly camping for a few days. No-one called the police, no-one died and I think we might be allowed back on the campsite this century. So I’d say that was a success…
We went to Deeside Holiday Park, near Peterculter, south of Aberdeen. It was the place we’d originally planned to stay at back in March, until it dumped with snow. What a brilliant site! Quiet, clean, with a safely fenced-off duck pond and great, sturdy playground for kids. It was pretty busy so we drove round it looking for somewhere to park the behemoth of a tent. Then drove round again. And then asked timidly at Reception if it would be ok if we used the overspill tent field. Luckily, for them and us, it was fine.
Can you imagine how much noise 3 over-excited minxes can make? Well, our poor fellow-campers don’t need to imagine (I’m sorry; I’m so, so sorry). They started screeching as me and The Boss got out the car and started to erect the tent. An hour later, with just the guy-ropes to do, and they were at fever-pitch. We took them to the playground and the duck-pond to burn off some energy, especially because Midi was just screaming loudly and randomly just for the hell of it, like an overly-sensitive car alarm. That worked a bit and they turned back into normally active kids. Stupidly, we then fed them at the Old Mill restaurant next door (not our original plan, but what you do when Someone (hint: not me) forgets the cutlery and plates!) So, full of calories, we then topped them up with hot chocolate and marshmallows. Crikey, talk about lighting the blue touch paper… After a while, though, you have to balance the racket you’re making yourself, hissing, “Be quiet! Go to sleep! For the love of God stop eating your sister’s hair!!” and just let them get on with it.
I’m not saying that I didn’t get much sleep, but I remember that they finally quietened down around 2215hrs; and that the light rain turned to heavy rain at 0100hrs. At 0320hrs both Maxi and Midi needed potty runs. Around 0600hrs the workies’ vans started up and left, from right outside the tent door (the nice staff member mowing the lawn had warned us, but we knew we’d be up anyway). At 0720hrs I gave up and decided to get up and see how bad the rain was. Five minutes later I realised I *had* slept because I hadn’t noticed The Boss or Mini get up and leave the tent. At 0731hrs The Boss handed me in a freshly brewed espresso and went back to fixing the tent with Mini (he’d not pegged out the ventilation flaps. Oops). And my world became liveable again.
The next night we thought the girls would sleep more soundly because they’d fallen asleep in their (delicious) Greek restaurant food. Nope, not a chance. Just the thought of brushing their teeth outdoors and they were full of the giggles and screeches again. This time, though, they quietened down a bit earlier. Just a bit: 2200hrs. You could hear them clear across the campsite, by the washing-up block. It’s a wicked, unsubstantiated rumour that I only offered to wash-up to escape the cacophony, by the way…
I wrote up some of my top tips about camping with children over on the Little Trekkers blog, but I guess in summary:
– don’t forget your coffee. No matter what. Your life won’t be worth living.
– the best luxury item for kids is a potty. It saves that Silly O’Clock in the morning run across a wet field just as your 4 year old pees herself. You still have to march across sleepily to the toilet block to empty it, but your minx can go back to sleep. Taking the old pink potty was a stroke of genius, I tell you.
– camping brings out the muckiness in kids. Example, me and Mini Minx were cuddling up in my sleeping bag. Maxi and Midi had finally passed out. Mini was idly rooting around in her nostril.
“Mini, stop picking your nose: it’s not nice. Dirty!… Oh, what’s that?!”
Mini: “My bogey! Hehehehee”
Me, exasperated: “Right, now what are you going to do with it? Where’s your bogey going to go? No…no! Aaiieeeee!” as she happily and affectionately wiped it on my cheek.