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50 Percent Mum: Camping Trip
I went back to basics this week. Armed with a tent, a naked flame and a bag full of marshmallows, I felt ready to do battle with my first every family camping trip. It took about 8 hours of man power to even get this holiday off the ground. Choosing the campsite was simple. Everyone in the camping know (of which there are a surprising amount) all recommended Waldegraves in Mersea Island. Being close to home appealed to me on a couple of levels: 1. If it poured with rain, we didn’t have far to drive for cover, 2. If we suddenly couldn’t get the tent up, we could stuff it back in the car and be home by tea without further embarrassment. As it so happened, neither was necessary.
We spent a total of 4 hours buying all the paraphernalia including a tent, ground sheet, cooking stove, gas for cooking stove, 4 chairs, 1 table, 4 beds, 4 sleeping bags, a selection of plastic bowls, plastic cutlery, 2 torches, collapsible bucket and washing up bowl (not totally necessary but totally cool!) and a roof box for all the above paraphernalia to go into. The rest we begged or borrowed. It then took a further 4 hours to squeeze every last item into the car using ‘Krypton Factor’ style logic and judgement.
Before long, we were on our plot (or is that pitch…?). We swaggered around the tent poles like old pro’s, trying to brazen out our crippling panic. After literally unpacking the kitchen sink, we sank into our folding camping chairs with a large glass of wine in hand. Sadly, by this time, the boys were ready for action and demanded that we “go swimming, go swimming!!!”. I downed the wine… needs must! Luckily the pool is heated and like a lovely warm bath – and probably an actual bath for the majority of campers on the site. No swallowing the water, boys!
There was a great supermarket, for buying essentials like wine and ice to keep it cold, oh and… bread, milk etc etc. A small arcade gives you a whole room of money sucking machines to waste hours feeding 2ps into flashing boxes which promises you more 2ps (if you are lucky) or a plastic car which you could have picked up for a fraction of what you had just spent in The Factory Shop. There was also a playground, bouncy castle and various other kiddie attractions to give you a chance to stick your feet up.
A trip to West Mersea was just lovely. A quick boat trip round the harbour on the Lady Grace and fish and chips in The Coast Inn. Would have loved to have tried The Shed but the wait was too long and the boys yelling “Yuk, this place stinks!” and “I’m not eating that!” did not warm the staff to us…
The boys played in the fields, barefoot, getting dirty and disconcertingly sticky. We all stayed up late and slept soundly at night and left feeling pleasantly exhausted but happy. Boy 1 actually cried all the way back because he didn’t want to leave – praise indeed!
We shall definitely be going back – who’s coming!?
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