It would be only too easy to stalk the weather forecast for days before a camping trip and at the slightest chance of wind and rain, to cancel. Hide indoors, warm and surrounded by all of your home comforts. Boil the kettle which runs from electricity, sip a peppermint and nettle tea with your nose stuck in a book…and every so often, you might look upon the raindrops lashing against your window and you would probably feel quite smug that you had in fact won. You didn’t risk it like a chocolate biscuit! You didn’t pack extra mounds of clothes for everyone into the already overpacked boot of the car, in case you got a little damp and soggy and you didn’t spend the majority of the night worrying about leaks and the whole tent falling down around you. You would happily trot off to bed each night, being all dry and snug…ready for a blissful nights sleep.
Well, suffice to say… when July the 25th rolled around and we saw the predicted weather forecast for our camping trip, we obviously weren’t feeling that clever or in any way that sensible. My sister, our families and I, decided that it didn’t matter. We decided to pack everything except from the kitchen sink into the boot of our car the following morning and we decided that rather than taking our luxury, sturdy…fabulous tent with carpet, we would take our tiny, hastily made ‘pop up’ tents to home us in the heavy rain and gail force winds.
And so, at some point between 10am and 10.30, we left our little market town in Kent…with hopeful smiles.
At some point on the motorway, when the traffic was creeping and we couldn’t see through the rain against our windscreen, we pondered if maybe we had made an error in judgement.
We finally arrived in Dorset at…I can’t really remember what time! All I know was that it was still raining, hard! So before we went to our campsite…yes we were delaying the inevitable of attempting to put up our ridiculous tents in particularly hideous weather… we took a little detour!
Our main reason for the visit was to our family. My biggest sister and her troupe to be exact. My big sister is an army wife and has recently moved back to England from Germany. It has been so long (too long!) since we have been able to go and visit her and we just really wanted to see where she lived. To see her and her bunch in their home. Her lovely, big home may I add and one that is surrounded by countryside and plenty of beautiful, peaceful walks. Mainly to spend a little time with them all though, making some long overdue memories.
It was surreal and very emotional. When we arrived, I was afraid to look her in the eye because I could see her tears building and my eyes were pretty glassy. But, it wasn’t a sad day and after a few brews, we picked up where we left off. Talking about life and just ‘being’ for a while. The house was rammed. There were hugs, lots of laughter and much excitement. And while I sat on the floor looking on everyone chatting and listening to the children running and exploring, like whirlwinds through every room… I remembered that it had been a long time since little feet had jumped off of the beds and pretended that they were surrounded by scalding lava. They brought a special noise to the house and I could tell just how much it meant to my big sister. My big sister who had planned ahead with bags of sweeties and homemade cakes… Someone has been bumped up to ‘Awesome Auntie’ that’s for sure.
And you know what, as if by magic, on our arrival the rain stopped and a little sunshine came out.
We decided to head out for a walk after a little while, determined not to waste our unexpected sunshine. We walked and talked and the children ran. They were muddy and happy. We all were, happy that is…so very happy to be together. We weaved through a thicket of tall tress. I remember feeling like I could really breathe. I felt weightless almost. I felt like I could have walked for hours.
Eventually we came across a park for the children to play in for a while. Parks freak me out but even I had a go on the swings. It was exhilarating getting in touch with my inner child and I quickly remembered the feeling in the pit of your stomach as the swing gets higher and higher and the feel of the wind in your face as your body cuts through the air. The children enjoyed the roundabout and the particularly muddy slide.
We had a little shimmy by the tank museum for a couple of photographs and it was there that little legs started to get tired and eyes started to look a little droopy. So we went back for the car. The rain clouds had returned and the wind was picking back up, stronger than before so that was our cue to try and beat the weather and get our tents up for the night.
We said our ‘See you tomorrows!’ and hit the road…again!
We crawled up to Longthorns Farm hoping to get a good spot, preferably shielded by trees but the good spots were taken. It was then that we realised that it was us against whatever nature was throwing at us. We ‘popped up’ our tents and a gazebo and started to make dinner together. My sister and I prepared the food while the husbands spent their time taking the gazebo back down because in about two minutes, it had broken in the wind…. Epic!
The children? They were completely oblivious to our woes and made full use of the gigantic field surrounding us and they spent a fair bit of time staring at the alpacas and a very grumpy horse who actually tried to eat my elbow the next day…cheeky sod! He wasn’t shy in company either, i’ve seen enough horse penis to last me a lifetime now.
The wind was tough to contend with but we still managed to light a fire for warmth, we gathered around wrapped in blankets and let the smoke envelop us and sting our eyes. Eventually, the children shut their eyes and we all decided to face the night ahead. Hoping that come the morning we would still be surrounded by tents and be somewhat dry…
Hoping that come the morning, we would be feeling a little smug because we had in fact won!
To be continued…