Sunday, 13 July 2014

Me still no adore le camping

Yonder is the pitiful sight of our tent early this morning; collapsed, soaked and desperate to get back in the car for another year.  We had much in common.

As I have written here many times before, I'm not a natural camper.  Going back to the 1970s when my oldest friend Drew (aka DJ Steady) and I spent many an evening in a tent in my back garden with Tinker the Cat our only form of protection, I have tried.  But it has always defeated me.

This year we returned to Runswick Bay in North Yorkshire with a gaggle of good friends around us.

And, on Friday evening, it started very, very well.

The kids went to bed early, leaving the parents to get on with doing what most parents do given half a chance.

And after bravely fighting off frostbite overnight, I awoke to find the sun shining.  Someone even claimed to have spotted a half-smile upon my bake.  Before it was off to the beach.

Charlotte had a splash.

Jamie had a paddle (thanks Hayden).

And we ended up at a pub with a view.

What's not to like?

Indeed, as the evening's entertainment got under way, my half-smile became a whole smile.

So much fun was I having that I chose to mark the occasion by taking a photo of Jamie with a big cock on his head.

As the clock ticked past nine o'clock and with the kids beginning to tire, Vanessa and I took them back to our tent to suggest that bed, er, sleeping bag might be an option for them.

But no more than a minute later, I heard raindrops on our tent.  No way.  It was gloomyish outside, but there was genuinely no hint of rain which - according to man with a dog I spoke to - wasn't due until the following afternoon.

A handful more minutes later and one of the most intense thunder and lightning storms I have experienced arrived overhead.  And over the next hour or so, it proceeded to deposit the entire contents of its pants on our tent.  Both Jamie and Charlotte were in tears, and I'm almost certain that I heard Vanessa sniffle at one point.

The downpour continued off and on until this morning, enabling Jamie to go for his second paddle of the weekend.

At this point, the rain itself had stopped and, after breakfast, it seemed that we could all get our tents down with little further trouble.

I therefore proceeded to spend the next half hour drying the outside of our tent with towels. Other camp mates, deeply impressed by my natural intuition, followed suit.

It was only with our half-collapsed and dry-as-a-bone tent about to come fully down that the storm returned - leaving us Whites with no option but to run into Hayden's family's tent, me trying desperately to muffle some particularly imaginative swearing. Further showers followed before we finally got the job done.  The tent was sopping and is currently sunbathing in our garden.

When things were going well on Friday evening, Vanessa suggested that we might choose to go camping for an extended period next summer in France.

I'm sorry, but the answer is non. C'est merde.