This weekend has seen us embark on a camping adventure, always a guarantee for a major domestic. Only map-reading tops erecting a tent on the argument stakes! Economical holidaying remains a favourite of ours with three children! Nah, I'll rewrite that, as another top of the range mercedes drives on to this idyllic field situated somewhere in the middle of nowhere!! Camping is certainly not only a holiday on a budget these days. It appears to be a 'lifestyle' choice - wholesome for the soul and all that. The opportunity to scuff your knee or stub your toe without impending lawsuit!!
Getting back to nature is a little misleading though. Prior to every excursion, we are guilty of a little materialist titilation, purchasing something to make our trip a little less uncomfortable, such as a blow-up pillow, a fold-out table, another multi-tool, a precarious shelving unit, a porch extension! Tent envy is never far from our evening conversation as a rather luxurious-looking trailer tent is folded out in minutes, absent of marital dispute. Then we discuss, again, the depth of mattresses and wardrobe space. We are deluding ourselves - back to basics - yeh, right!!! We tirellessly aim to mimic the comfort of our home, under canvas. And then as nighttime finally arrives and the kids have just about been zipped up in the tent five minutes before you hit the sack, you are starkly reminded of how it really isn't home. And no matter how thick your mattress or good your earplugs, there is no such thing as a good night sleep under canvas!!
There is something really humourous about camping that I love, despite feeling (and looking) knackered for the entire duration. Intimate moments normally saved for the privacy of home are shared innocently with fellow campers. It makes me chuckle when I see silly things like couples outside washrooms divvying up the contents of one shared washbag; observing (and judging) the neighbours and their kit with an over-zealous interest; and checking out the vast array of jim-jams glimpsed on the first visit to the toilet block in the morning!
This campsite, the name of which I won't disclose, had the most amazing panoramic views and great facilities, a first class site. I couldn't criticise the quality of the site at all. But, and it is quite a big but, it brought out the rebellious in us campers. To be fair, they did forewarn us on the phone, but to give you a flavour, here is a quote from their website:
Please be aware, we do mean Silence after 10.30pm, voices do not have to be loud to be irritating. After 10.30pm if voices can be heard from one unit to the next this is classed as noise and is unacceptable...After 10.30pm please don't talk as you walk past other peoples units...Most importantly, please remember, Canvas Isn't Soundproof.
...The following statement may sound unnecessary but ... some noises are out of our control. We are situated in the countryside and therefore visitors must accept noise from sheep or dogs from the neighbouring farm (approximately 1/2 mile away). We are also not responsible for babies crying or people snoring...
We are a family site for couples and families, sorry, no all male or all female groups. We do not encourage couples or families to group together as this has the potential for noise.
Are you getting my drift?? I know noisy campers (admittedly that is often us as our children come without volume control or off button) are irritating if you're trying to get to sleep. But I have never stayed at a campsite where a curfew is so stringently adhered to. We all scuttled off to the toilet block at 10.25 and felt rebellious when we whispered to each other at 10.35!!
In the same vein, we were 'prohibited' to within an inch of our life!! I felt compelled to photograph all the 'don't do' signs but there were literally too many and sometimes lengthy!! We felt mildly rebellious after twenty odd years of law-abiding behaviour!! They must either assume that all campers are imbecilic (is that a word?) or they have had a really skanky camper in the past. Take a look and see what you think.