We had three very small children, it was a warm summer, and we had talked about trying camping out.
A week or so later we drove the car into a lumpy hard field and put the small tent up. The ‘facilities’ were pretty bleak, one toilet stuck in the middle of the grassy area. One tap, with cold water. Hey, but we were ‘adventurers’, we could do it. Our children were adaptable and pretty good at sleeping anywhere. We had a mattress in the back of the car for two larger children, and a small mattress across the front seats for the smaller child.
We could most likely have been arrested for child cruelty. Yet after a day on the beach, a meal of sausages and beans and hunks of bread. Followed by Weetbix and milk, they had all fallen asleep within minutes. We put the tent up close to the car, so I could be out in a second if they woke. We had only been back in England a few years, having lived a pretty free existence in Auckland. So our first two children had become used to moving around, by the age of four Kerry had lived in a house, a caravan, with two relatives and then in a house we bought in England. They had both travelled from New Zealand on a liner to return from sunshine to the grey cold of a November in England; Vince was two at the time.
Not sure if the moving around, and being forced to adapt to change helped but they were really good children if we travelled. Apart from Kerry suffering travel sickness, we had no problems.
But our night in the tent was no picnic; we were on a slight slope, so spent most of the night slipping out of the tent, with our heads outside! It was funny afterwards, but no joke at the time. That whole weekend cost us just seven pounds. We somehow extracted as much fun as we could, played silly games and made sand castles. The simplicity of that holiday was never repeated we had managed to get a holiday, fresh air and experienced camping of a sort. It was to stand us in good stead later. Then when we were able to afford holidays on Ibiza, in a flash white villa we were joined by our now adult children. The luxury was welcomed by all. As the road we had travelled had taught us so much we appreciated it more than most. The drinks on the balcony and nights at the restaurants were even more special. As we sipped Rioja, and toyed with paella, watching an azure sea we enjoyed every precious minute. Yet that first camping trip was still a special event for us all. After all a family holiday is that, about family.
Have you been on a family camping trip?