The reason there was no blog last night is that I went on a date with Frodo. A situation which Son found very puzzling. I think because it is such a rare occurence but it may have been because he couldn’t understand our choice of date partner. This night out was the filling in a ‘night out sandwich’, the bread being another visit to the 10 house on Thursday evening and a hen night tonight (whoop, whoop*). There was an empty pizza box on the table when we arrived at 10 house which was removed within 5 minutes, confirming my initial assessment of a 10. This contrasts to a 5 house where removal can take up to 5 hours or a 3 house where 5 days is more common. Hoarder house on TV – 5 months to 5 years.
My thoughts this week have often strayed to a campsite in Leicestershire where a group of ‘like-minded families’ are camping. The mad and the brave who have not packed up early and already left will be leaving the site tomorrow and taking home an array of mud
splattered soaked possessions and some wonderful memories. Having been in a similar situation myself on several occasions I know how easy it is to act, or not act, without thinking and the consequences of this can be a source of future stress. In light of this I am going to share my advice in the form of Dos and Don’ts. These are not intended to be a set a rules despite the commanding tone of the title. Do and Don’t are more suited to a title than ‘These are some things you might want to do or not do if you think they are good ideas but they don’t mean you have to do them’. If you are one of the ‘June’ campers, I’m not trying to take control of your post camping routine so don’t react badly and ignore the advice completely because you are thinking that you are capable of making rational decisions without the interference of smug Rose who has spent the last ten days sleeping, cooking and relaxing in a dry house whilst you have been experiencing rain with only the precarious protection of a tent and a tarp. I will include a PC (possible consequence) or a LC (likely consequence) based on personal experience for some of the Dos or Don’ts. My advice is aimed particularly at campers who have had no access to laundry facilities and where the campsite site falls into the natural woodland and field category rather than neatly mown grass pitches serviced by concrete footpaths. For overseas readers (Ooo I liked writing that) – it has been raining heavily across the UK and Leicestershire has had some heavy downpours.
1. Do expect strange looks and mutterings from non post campers at any service station you stop at on the way home. They will be trying to work out how anyone could get in such a dishevelled state. Remember most people at the service station would find it hard to believe anyone would choose to live in a quagmire for a week.
2. Don’t bring up the incident where your child left the tent zip open and the precious dry area in the porch was encroached upon by lashing rain. LC – this will be turned on you and the conversation will centre on what are percieved by your family to be worse crimes eg. when you dropped a sausage into the mud (the fact that you washed it and then offered it as edible will be seen as a negative so don’t try and use this fact to redeem yourself) or when you failed to put the coco pops in a secure place overnight and they provided a midnight feast for squirrels (the fact that you offered weetabix as edible alternative will be seen as a negative so don’t try and use this fact to redeem yourself).
3. Do begin washing as soon as possible on arrival home. No amount of wishing will produce a laundry fairy. The washing will remain in a stinking wet state until you wash it.
4. Don’t waste time rinsing pairs of socks that resemble mud pies. PC – you will start crying as the emotional strain of failed mud removal overwhelms you. PC – you will give up before getting the socks ‘washing machine ready’. PC – you will get the socks ‘washing machine ready’ and wash them, only to find they look exactly the same post-wash as they did pre-wash. LC – socks will end up in the bin sooner or later so Do throw them out at first sighting (if this at the campsite do it there and then).
5. Don’t put things straight from the car into the shed/garage without being sure they are dry. Even if you have good intentions of checking them ‘tomorrow’ or when ‘it dries up’ don’t do it. LC – the checking will not happen and the next time you see the items will be two days before your next camping trip. Tents and sleeping bags will go mouldy.
6. Do leave some items in the hallway if you want to carry out an investigation. LC – No offspring will put them away but they may regularly complain that stuff is in the hallway. (btw. the gas cannister left in our hallway by Frodo is still there – day 16)
7. Don’t get overwrought by sorting out the wet, muddy, smelly items. PC – fixating on these items can cause reckless actions eg. you find a squashed piece of cake/crumpled pieces of paper/sticks in the car boot. Without thought and in the context of over-fixation their significance plummets to zero and they are effortlessly sorted by being thrown in the bin. Hours, days or even weeks later, a child will ask “Where is that piece of cake I was specially saving for when we got home/that picture I spent a whole day working on at camp/that special stick I carried around all week at camp. With thought these items would be given the priority they deserve.
8. Do take a shower break and a tea break. PC – You will get through the aftermath of camping with fewer tears, shouts, mishaps, sighs and problems than if you didn’t.
*whoop, whoop. Not sure what this means but my facebook knowledge suggests it is the correct response when anticipating a wild night out.