The whole reason last summer was so wet in the UK was that we were doing a lot of camping. We shivered at Corfe Castle at the beginning of May, had damp hangovers with the Gammidgys on a lovely organic farm, experienced a surprising amount of sunshine in Wales, and then virtually contracted trench foot in Blackpool and the Lake District. It took over a week for the tent to dry out before we finally put it away at the end of the summer. Who knows what we will find when we arrive at our campsite at 8 o’clock tonight.
I’m inclined to offer everyone a hot chocolate with spiced rum, having been round Waitrose picking up supplies this afternoon with Gammidgy Susan’s suggestion hanging above me like a cloud of realism: if it’s cold, bring hot drinks. I didn’t buy anything practical, but we can now have coffee, porridge, and plenty of booze. The four kids can fend for themselves.
Imagine, if you will, a cosy, wooded campsite with just enough space for the Uborka party. Lyle has one of those tiny one-person tents that folds up the size of a packet of biscuits, and his camping gear otherwise consists of a deckchair and a magic never-empty cocktail glass. Is that intense enough?
Clair, a practical sort, has an old-fashioned Girl Guides canvas tent, the sort that fits into two large heavy canvas bags, but never ever blows away in a storm. This is how she can get away with having such a small umbrella.
Lisa wouldn’t be seen dead camping, but can almost be persuaded out if you do all the hard work for her. She has a pre-pitched belltent (Lyle: “Heh, Belltent”) with futons and a wood-burning stove. Her chairs have roofs like the ones in The Apprentice this week, to keep the rain off; and her countless run-preventing offspring can join the throng of children climbing trees and falling in the pond.
Talking of people you can’t imagine camping, we have a purple and silver retro VW camper van for Mike (with a pup tent outside in case K gets too drunk and sweary, though I just can’t imagine it). All mod cons, but the biggest of those is the massive stereo with speakers on the roof. IT’S DISCO TIME!
Pete and I have put our time in a tent in already; we fancy one of those little log cabins with a verandah we can sit on, with blankets on our knees, and an electricity supply to keep the wine cool. Bernard can bunk in with the other children. In fact, let’s give them their own tent; I’m counting three Gammidgys, three of Lisa’s, Dr Pockless’ little ‘un (cutest baby ever, I tell you), and ours. They won’t be needing us.
What could be better for Dr & Mrs Pockless than a circus tent? A small one, obviously, but round and stripey all the same. With a copious supply of orange juice and a Happy Birthday to Mrs P.
So get the campfire lit, people, we’ll be singing a rousing chorus of Kum Ba Ya later on, accompanied by Pete on his guitar and the children on various pots and pans. What better way to spend a drizzly grey weekend?