I’ve had real difficulty pinning down a topic for C, there are so many things it could be –
(I’m preparing for their arrival next week)
(I am seriously addicted)
(which I’ve finally mastered after years of not being able to do it)
(isn’t he gorgeous? my little baby…)
but I finally settled on –
Camping is something that has always been part of my life. As a child, our family holidays were always camping holidays – me, my two brothers and our parents camping in Pembrokeshire or Yorkshire or the Isle of Skye.
We had a huge frame tent for many, many years…my parents got this from my godparents when they went on their very first camping trip as a family. My godparents were going to Switzerland and invited my parents, they had no money having just become parents to three children in the space of three years and my mum consequently not working. However, my godparents offered to lend them an old frame tent they had, my mum got an evening bar job to raise some spending money and off they set in their old Mark 1 Cortina with me aged 3 years and a few months, my brother aged not quite 2 years and my baby brother less than 6 months old.
My dad has been a scout and then a scout leader all his life so was quite happy with camping, not sure how my mum felt that first time but it obviously didn’t put them off as they promptly bought the tent from my godparents and over the years accumulated gas stoves, kitchen shelving units, better sleeping bags and all the other bits of equipment. When I was about 7 or 8 we acquired a trailer tent which offered a little bit more luxury – sleeping off the ground on mattresses which then transformed into sofas during the day!
Shortly after this myself and my brothers decided we wanted to sleep in a tent on our own so we would have the trailer tent in which my mum and dad slept and the three of us had a little brown ridge tent we were responsible for.
As well as our family summer holiday each year, we would also accompany my dad when he took his scout troop off for their summer camp. Unsurprisingly, with my dad’s involvement in Scouting, my brothers were both Scouts and I was a Girl Guide so when they got to the right age they would be camping with the troop leaving me and my mum and dad to camp in the family tent.
Of course, I also went camping with my Guide Company and a few years into my Guide career my mum became a Guider in our Company so me and mum would be off camping with the Guides and Dad and my brothers were off with the Scouts. I loved camping as a guide, for me it was one of the best things about being in the movement. I took all my camping badges and also the “Patrol Camp Permit” which was a licence entitling me to take up to 4 other girls off camping without adult supervision.
These days, J and I have a modern dome style tent made of lightweight nylon with carbon fibre flexible poles, nylon guy-ropes and aluminium pegs – a far cry from the “Icelandic” tents I used as a Guide 25 years ago which were massively heavy canvas with huge wooden poles and wooden tent-pegs with sisal guy-ropes. We try to go camping a couple of times a year, this year we were in the Lake District and we hope to camp again some time in September or October.
Camping these days is much more luxurious – we go with my brother and take a huge cooler of beer and some rather nice wine, which we drink out of real wine glasses (no plastic bugs for us), we have lightweight stoves and cook sausages, eggs and beans for breakfast and we always find a campsite within easy walk of the pub for good evening meals!
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