Bell tents, bunting and bubbly
Thu. September 15, 2016
Back in 2010 we invested in a modern looking tent, cooking equipment, inflatable mattresses, sleeping bags – the works. We have made several attempts in the past six years to use them. Eventually the tent was donated to refugees in Calais last year, unused and complete with price tag. I said to Mr B, perhaps we weren’t cut out for camping. Fast forward to early August 2016 and having already enjoyed our annual week in a Landmark Trust, the remaining month of school holiday stretched in front of us. We considered a Bell tent on the basis that however awful our camping was, at least the tent would come in useful as a spare-bedroom and is aesthetically pleasing and we could stand up in it. Within a day it was ordered. Mr B was horrified when he learned I had also purchased a tea light glass chandelier. Visions of us, the tent and the entire campsite being set ablaze convinced me to leave it at home.
We hooked up with our friends Clare and Chris and their four children and booked a campsite in Pembridge, Herefordshire. Arriving on a hot afternoon (you remember, it was the only one in August) Tim had the tent up in minutes. Old rugs, blow up mattresses, duvets underneath and on top (a tip from Clare) a few scatter cushions and the obligatory bunting and we had created a home from home.
As I set up the cooking equipment and offered a cup of tea to the by-now, very hot and tired tent builder, I realised I’d forgotten the tea bags. A fellow camper came to the rescue and soon Mr B was refreshed with his mug of tea whilst the children chased ducks (pond ten feet from out pitch) and found the play area. Soon our fellow campers the Williams family who had set up the previous evening and were off exploring, arrived back… perhaps expecting us to be in a state of disorganization – not us! I was planning a feast with two dozen sausages and a collection of tins and packets, whilst Mr B enjoyed his tea and faffed about with his van until it was at just the right angle to the tent. It wasn’t long before all the children and adults were fed and a bottle was opened, although maybe not in that order. Concerns about personal appearance were abandoned immediately, and old fleeces, winceyette pj’s and Crocs with socks were the order of the day. To avoid any misrepresentation, I should admit that we did have electric hook up and a fresh water tap on our pitch as well as the excellent showers, loos and facilities of the campsite… oh and I did take a hairdryer. We had one wonderful warm evening, one drizzly evening and one evening of torrential rain. Thankfully Mr B had brought an old large pop tent, (extra bunting brought just in case) under which we all ate and sat whilst the ducks, geese and moorhens paddle in the rain which came down in sheets all around us. We had a wonderful few days exploring Herefordshire and thoroughly enjoyed outdoor domesticity.
Due to the inclement weather, the Bell tent had to be packed away wet, and so spent a few days on our lawn at home drying out when we got back to Ferryside. When we did eventually pack it away, it felt sad, like the end of summer and the end of our adventures… for a little while. We are converts to the camping malarkey and can’t wait to do it again.