Our second tent was designed to accommodate 3 and similar to this. We progressed to single airbeds rather than rely on a duvet under us and had many trips away, be it for a weekend or full week. There were loads of campsites locally in the New Forest, so we never had to go far afield to get away from the routine.
I wouldn’t describe myself as an experienced camper like Hubby, but we always had a good time, were always well fed and content, and being out under the stars was more relaxing than being in a stuffy house. We both slept better anyway, and always came home healthier than when we’d left. We added a ‘kitchen’ as we had with the pup tent, and put together our own kit of camping equipment. Hubby was still the whizz at cooking, but I could manage to serve beans, bacon and instant mash hot, once I got used to the idea of double stacking the billy cans on one burner whilst using the other to boil the kettle.
When the single airbeds failed, we bought a double. With just the two of us, we were cosy and warm. Camping was a cheap holiday, as you only had to worry about pitch fees, which in those days were only something like £3 -£4 a night per tent. We never wanted anything too fancy, but loos and a shower block were a must. We had a small cool box and have always preferred UHT milk (long life) which we’d specifically buy in small cartons for our trips. We’d open one at night for our last cup of tea, and use the rest in the morning for tea and cereal. Hubby did set up a “condensing fridge” using our cool box and a wet tea towel when it got really hot though. Not exactly going into the jungle with a Q-tip and building a shopping mall (Six Days and Seven Nights movie) , but the chilled cans of beer were wonderful as we lazed in the sun (see, I told you he was useful) .
Looe was still a favourite site for us. As well as the laundry room, it had good facilities, including a cafe, entertainment 3 nights a week and a swimming pool. We also loved the small coastal fishing port of Looe itself. It wasn’t unusual for us to get up early, have our morning cuppa (with the groundsman if he was about) then go into town for ‘breakfast’. We’d found the absolute BEST pasty shop in Cornwall, and they were just coming out of the oven when we arrived. You needed both hands to hold one, but we had to wait a bit for them to cool down, they were so hot!
A little further up the road was the place for meringues. You would get one bigger than a Big Mac for £1, loaded with fresh fruit and cream, and that would be our afters. We always made sure we had a good breakfast (who said it had be bacon!) , light lunch and hot meal before going to bed.
Our virgin test drive of the tent with the new dog was a riot though. We were warm enough, and certainly comfortable, but it’s no joke when you roll over and get a face full of dog’s feet, or worse, a fluffy arse! We’d taken ourselves to Cornwall again but decided to try a different camp site. The one we settled on overlooked the bay and we paid for two nights rather than a full week just in case things didn’t work out. We set up camp, then went for a walk, coming across a graveyard which sadly was no longer well tended. As the footpath went through it, we found ourselves looking at the headstones. Several were of extremely young children, some less than a year, which we found really sad, but one plot in particular held our interest. Not only was the husband buried there, but also his three wives! I can’t remember the order in which they died, but it certainly opened up some thoughts on the Afterlife and we hoped that they had all got on OK!
We were fine the first night, but then it rained. BIG TIME.There is nothing worse than having a damp dog and two equally damp adults having to share the close proximity of a tent. There was nowhere on site for us to dry our clothes or our bedding (apart from the shower block, there were no other facilities) and certainly nowhere to dry the dog. The forecast was for storms and heavy rains for the next few days, and as we couldn’t sleep in the car, we decided to cut our losses (forfeiting our second night pitch fee) and come home.
We decided then perhaps it would be a good idea to invest in a bigger tent.
Doing that actually gave us another problem. We needed a bigger car!
(Did I say camping holidays were cheap?)