As a mother of three daughters and a grandmother to two boys, come the school holidays, it's always been a challenge as to how to keep them occupied. Yes there are theme parks that can give you thrills a minute, and yes there are science museums that you can interact with displays and get static in your hair, but these are soon over and the cries of "I'm bored" are never far away.
With my daughters all grown up, it is now time for me to turn my attention to my grandsons and to help their parents on ways to keep them occupied throughout the school holidays. My grandsons are aged 6 and 18 months. The younger one is quite content to play at home with his mummy and daddy, his elder brother goes to play clubs and plays with his friends, but every so often we hear that all too familiar sound of "I'm bored."
My husband came up with the suggestion of taking the eldest grandson with us camping, straight away my grandson loved the idea and got excited at the prospect. I, on the other hand, was not joining in in the enthusiasm that grandad and grandson were feeling. I have only camped one time previously and that ended with us packing up early because of gale force winds and the tent nearly being blown away.
My husband said that as we were not seasoned campers, to just make it easy on ourselves we would book just for one night and not very far away from my daughter's home, in case we had bad weather or my grandson got scared as he hadn't been camping before.
We found an absolutely gorgeous campsite which was just twenty minutes away from my daughter. Perfect! We were in the middle of a heat wave which looked like it would go on forever, so we booked it up.
Provisions were bought
- A pop up tent which flicked out in an instant .
- Toilet roll.
The rest of the equipment we loaned from my middle daughter who is a seasoned Glastonbury camper.
My grandson was so excited and it was all he could talk about for days running up to it. He planned to bring his football, his baseball bat and ball, and a board game, we were going to have major fun. I just went with the flow, if I'm honest I wasn't too keen on it but the thought of creating memories by camping for my grandson, was enough for me to follow through with it.
There were weather reports in the week leading up to our camp night, saying how the drought was breaking up and there MAY be rain on the day we were booked for the camp site. That's ok, I thought, I have my pink flowery raincoat, everything would be ok.
The morning of the camp day,there was drizzle and it was overcast, still not a problem. We picked our grandson up and loaded the car including a Spiderman teddy for my grandson to sleep with. We got to the camp site and it was truly gorgeous. It was set in the grounds of a lodge next to a very picturesque lake. Yes we were going to have a lovely time. We got the tent up really quickly and set it all up with the sleeping bags and two airbeds. I gave the two beds to my grandson and husband to sleep on. I would be ok sleeping on the floor, it wouldn't be a problem.
As we were so close to my daughter, they came over to see us and we all had fish and chips together before they left us to start our fun camping trip.
The day we were there, there was a wedding taking place, it is a truly beautiful setting, perfect for a romantic wedding. We were sitting at the side of the lake listening to the music from the wedding and "Celebration- Kool and The Gang" came on and my grandson jumped up and pulled me up to dance with him. My husband joined in, that was a very special moment with the three of us dancing and laughing at the side of the lake. This camping lark wasn't so bad after all.
Then Came The Rain
We went on to play football and it started to spit and it was getting late for my grandson, so I said for him to get into his sleeping bag and sleep, we could play more in the morning. I gave him some ear plugs so he wouldn't hear his nanny and grandad's snoring and said goodnight to him. I told him Nanny and Grandad would just be outside sitting on chairs, so he needn't worry.
We hadn't been sitting for more than five minutes when drop, drop, drop - even bigger drops were soon raining down hard on us. It came down so quick and torrential. A storm was brewing up.
We dashed into the tent to get into our sleeping bags and I was going to read with torch in hand. Our grandson was fast asleep cuddled up to Spiderman and he didn't hear us come in (He had his ear plugs in.)
The wind was howling around us, the torrential rain was smashing against the tent, but my grandson slept on. Then we noticed the tent was actually leaking. My daughter text me to ask if we were going to stay the night or go home. I actually said when our grandson woke up we would come home, but he slept and he slept. My husband finally fell asleep, so I lay there between two sleeping beauties and all I could do was to listen to the wind and rain. As I lay there I could feel the cold water seeping up the blankets I was lying on. My sleeping bag was keeping me dry, but the wetness seeping in was making me feel cold, so I whispered in my husband's ear that I was going to sleep in the car. The sleeping beauties were ok because they were on there air beds.
I went to the toilet block on the other side of the field so that I could settle down and wouldn't need to go again in the night.
I finally fell asleep and woke up at 4am. This is my normal wake up time - so it was my body clock at work....or my full bladder as I desperately needed the loo, and I'd better hurry or else there would be an accident. I got out of the car in a hurry and I heard the tent unzipping. My husband called me but I was desperate so I ignored him. He called me again louder, so I went to him otherwise the whole campsite would wake up. I said I was desperate - he understood.
So with lantern in hand I went for it across the field doing that walk that we do when we're desperate! I couldn't run, it was pitch black and underfoot it was muddy and slippy.
I got to about a metre from the toilet block when it happened! I couldn't make it in time. Oh well, I thought, it's pitch black, no one was around, nobody knows.... I came out of toilet block and waiting for me was my husband and grandson standing talking, they'd followed me over so obviously I didn't want them to see me. I said for them to go back to tent. My grandson was chatting away as if it were the middle of the day and I kept telling them they would be waking the whole camp site up. They walked in front of me and I followed. They had the bigger, better torch than me, so I thought they would see where they were going so I followed them.
They walked down a slight slope and with the slippery mud, Splat!! I just ended up on all fours in the mud. I tried to stand up and I was just slipping all over the place. I was like Bambi trying to stand and walk. The noise I was making, I'm sure I woke the whole camp site up. My husband and grandson just roared with laughter. How cruel can loved ones be?
In the morning we woke and it was a beautiful day. We cooked sausgaes on a gas hob and made sandwiches. Real camping. Tthen we packed up and went home.
Our grandson couldn't stop taking about his adventure and how funny it was to see his Nanny falling in the mud. That was probably the highlight for him, it certainly wasn't mine. Mine would have been the dancing beside the lake.
I know we have created fabulous memories for our grandson through camping. I feel we all need to do it at least once in our lives. It is FUN!
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