The past few weeks have seen me rushed off my feet and I’ve had to find time to do things by giving up on sleep. At the moment I’m managing roughly 11:00 pm to about 6 am with several night time disturbances from little Ned who insists on waking up for a nappy change (being woken up by a nappy thrust in the face is such fun). I’m busy trying to pull together St Albans Literary Festival, child mind, write, run, keep up with scouting commitments and look after three children.
I’m hoping to complete this part of the Literary Festival organisation before the school summer holidays, however we are in dire need of some sponsorship so if you’re a company with a budget for this sort of thing do get in touch. I really want to make it an event that is accessible to everyone.
Despite all of this we managed to get away for a long weekend camping with some friends. It was a brilliant trip and even if my children don’t remember the thrill of crabbing on some saltmarshes within walking distance of our tent, I will. We haven’t camped at the site we went to before, but it was listed in camping bible, the Cool Camping Guide. I’m not convinced the site was as cool as some of the others we have been to, but the proximity to the North Norfolk saltmarshes made it quite magical.
We are quite keen campers as a family and have taken the children virtually from birth all over the place including various festivals so I thought it might be useful to list a few of my camping essentials (especially now the sales are on so you might pick them up as bargains!):
Tent: clearly useful however I think its worth spending a bit of time looking around a camping shop which actually displays the tents to form an idea of what you want. I’m currently lusting after a tent with separate rooms equidistant from a central point, that way the children are with us but not that close!
Very strong tape: We have found that our fibre glass tent poles snap and when you are in a field in the back of beyond its easiest just to tape them up till you get home. The perfect emergency fix!
Battery operated pump: if you want a bit of luxury and have an airbed its worth investing in an automatic pump rather than a manual footpump, much quicker and you can let it do its magic whilst you supervise the kids.
Fold up chairs: Again, if you suffer from ‘child constantly sitting on lap’ you’ll appreciate the chance to sit on a chair rather than the floor.
Bog in a Bag: My best ever purchase, a stool which converts to a loo. This has saved us so much hassle and means when the inevitable night-time wee is needed you don’t need to leave your tent.
Water carrier: Its really handy to have a container to collect a reasonable amount of water from the tap so you don’t have to keep trudging backwards and forwards.
Washing up bowl: I always forget this and always regret it, so handy to pile up all the crockery and wet clothes…
Football: The simplest way to occupy the children.
Torch: Essential, bit of a pain if you forget this.
Sleeping bags or Duvet: Clearly you’ll need these!
Phil and Ted Travel Cot: The best travel cot ever invented, small, easy to construct with a zip on lid, this even has feet which can be pegged out outdoors. We haven’t come across anything better.
I hope that’s useful, camping with children is one of the nicest things you can do. They learn a lot about all sorts of unexpected things and its good old fashioned fairly cheap fun. If you cant find a campsite this year, why not pitch a tent in your garden during the summer holidays and have the whole experience at home.