‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star: A camping adventure with my grandchildren’

May 30, 2021
Robyn writes about her 'staycation' with the grandkids. Source: Getty Images

Twinkle twinkle little star,
Why is Nanny the boss of Grandpa?
Sshhh, says Mum, of camping and stars
It’s a mystery and we dare not ask.

“Nanny, please, you promised! And now we have a separate toilet tent so Dad calls it glamping, not camping. And the stars are so beautiful,” my nine-year-old and six-year-old grandsons begged. On cue, my two-year-old precious granddaughter entered singing ‘Twinkle twinkle Little Star’, our unofficial anthem for the under-four set. Nanny’s cradle song.

Never underestimate the depth of emotional button-pushing grandchildren will employ to ‘get their own way’. They’re ruthless and unrelenting.

Imagine using the rhyme for leverage to entice this star-loving but anti-camping nanny to take the plunge.

Just before Easter, I relented; do or die. It was the separate toilet tent that swayed me. Just me, not Grandpa.

We macheted (!) our way through dense, tall grass and swamps (‘puddles’ to some; interpretation may vary in the re-telling).

“It’s really, really hot! Is the tent up yet?” I enquired.

“Nearly Nanny. Just take a seat in the shade,” as I heard the unmistakable jiggling of the Esky and the even more unmistakable sound of bottles clinking.

“So, it’s wine o’clock then? But where’s the separate toilet tent,” I asked innocently. My ability to prioritise details in order of importance is an innate ability that has not left me with age, for which I give thanks.

My extremely tense son-in-law (shame, he could use some deep breathing techniques) promised me wine o’clock would be precisely at beer o’clock and the toilet tent was just over yonder.

Again, innocently, I asked what was for dinner because this ‘setting up camp’ was taking forever. Geez, take a chill pill you lot, no need for language like that.

I must admit the campfire, although small for various reasons, was delightful; dinner tiny but adequate; wine appreciated; and sing-a-long enjoyable. Yep, ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ was the most requested song of the evening.

The trek to the much-discussed, much-lauded separate toilet tent was not without mishap. I shall not go into detail as I wish all to experience a said ‘glamping’ extravagances for themselves. Go on, I double-dare you!

Beds were made, mozzie nets in place, donnas and pillows allocated. As I lay quietly, trying to form a body pit/outline/groove between the rocks under my ‘bed’, my gorgeous grandbabies approached with a thermos of tea for my bedside. This, this is why I live and breathe.

I think I slept for 45 minutes when an eerie, unearthly glutaral sound woke me. What the heck? It stopped, nobody else woke. The rain started approximately 20 minutes later, the thunder about 10 minutes after that. Again, nobody stirred; what was wrong with these people. Tea, have a cuppa; just what I needed.

Within 15 minutes, just as night follows day, the inevitable pitstop became necessary. Lucky we had the separate toilet tent! Eye-roll, serious eye-roll.

Trying to sneak back from ‘out-of-bounds’ (obviously, for those not paying attention, my house), the aroma of sausages, bacon and eggs filled the air — my backyard had never smelled so good.

“Nanny, you promised!” they laughed in chorus as money and promissory notes changed hands, Grandpa emerged from indoors, with the neighbours joining in the throng (hurtful I thought).

Our backyard camping trial allowed my son-in-law to work out some kinks and gremlins in his new equipment but, as for me, Nanny fail. No surprises there.

I have decided that the world is divided into two categories. Those who love camping and those who prefer indoor plumbing.

Twinkle twinkle little star,
Let’s count them on the motel’s rating bar.
I don’t need 5 or 6 to make me happy,
Just 2 or 3, and an indoor lavvy.

**(Grandpa explained: he and Nanny had gone camping with their church youth group and Nanny passed wind during their first cuddle. She blamed the lack of comfortable plumbing. Do not tell her I told you!)

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