LEIS 1 - Camp up your weekend
Weekend camping is brilliant. Check the weather forecast, and providing Hurricane Dwayne is going to be otherwise engaged, load up the car Tetris-style, wedge in the kids, drive a couple of hours, get lost, short argument, ‘there it is!!’, pitch the tent – get one that self erects for speed as night draws in, and the obvious comic effect of the phrase ‘self-erects’ – and having first put a torch in your coat pocket to avoid much scrabbling around in the dark later, bung everything inside.
All being well the kids will then go off to discover the joys of a tv-free World – though this isn’t guaranteed - while you and the good lady pull up a camping chair and demolish a bottle of wine or six with the other parents. The vino will taste all the better as, due to the abundance of fresh air, camping hangovers are always fleeting and will soon be dispersed by a good walk and a pint or two of Old Dog Bolter for Saturday lunch. After that it’s back to the campsite to light the barbecue, drink more wine, play an impromptu game of football against the Scouse family in the camper van, bung stuff on the barbecue, burn stuff on the barbecue, eat, drink more wine and zonk out once more.
The only real downside of weekend camping comes the next morning when, slightly the worse for wear you have to pack up. Your tent, so quick and helpful on Friday night, now becomes an absolute springy biatch to manhandle back into its tiny bag. Hurricane Dwayne will also now put in an unwelcome appearance, triggering a major meltdown from your kids. Your Zen like state of pleasuredom, will, however, be quickly restored when you go to pay the campsite owner. Even if you’ve gone for the luxury electrical hook up option you’ll still only be looking at £20 a night or so. Remind yourself – and your good lady – of the £200 or so you’ve just saved over renting a cottage and have her call to order a Chinese takeaway from the place round the corner as you re-enter civilisation.
Nb. Weekend camping is a totally different beast to the summer camping holiday. To those brave mid-lifers willing to gamble a fortnight’s hard-earned holiday and their family’s happiness quotient on the vagaries of the British weather I salute you.....and remember to bring your wellies.