It’s been a while since I posted-real life kept me exceptionally busy, and the last week has been no exception. Fortunately, however, this week was the good kind of busy. A few months ago, I posted about how we came across the message to collect memories and not things. During the Easter holidays, we bought a new tent using some money left to us by a relative in the hope that it would help us in our mission to make more memories. We decided that the school holidays were an ideal time to test it out, so we booked three nights at a cheap and cheerful campsite in Norfolk that we had been to several times before.
The day before leaving it was absolutely boiling here, and so I packed quite a lot of summer clothes, plus warm things for night times. What I didn’t consider was that the daytime temperatures at our destination would be (literally) half the temperatures we had experienced at home. Upon arriving at the campsite, our mistake became apparent. Mist was gently drifting across the chilly field, which prompted us to dig out fleeces etc. to wear whilst putting up the tent. At this point, we also regretted not having had a practise run with the tent. After some debating, we established that all of the poles were indeed the same length and proceeded to try and make it stand up. It was quite a challenge, being much larger than our previous tent. The children pestering us for more food did not help matters. (They were doing their best impression of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and had munched their way through the entire picnic before we had even threaded the poles through.)
As we were setting up inside the tent, and the children were playing football outside, we heard a familiar voice calling our son’s name-we had (completely by coincidence) set up directly opposite another family from our village, whose children also go to the same school. They were delighted, and spent spare time in the evenings playing football and riding their bikes together for the rest of the holiday. Once we had set up, we realised we had forgotten pillows so we had a trip to Morrisons and got the children some tea at the cafe there, which they considered to be a real treat as it came with milkshake! (One memory successfully made.)
Once we returned to the tent, we realised just how cold it was and regretted not packing the fan heater from the caravan. At one point Mr C even suggested driving home to fetch it, despite the fact we were 2 hours from home. (Unfortunately the blankets I had crocheted were also still at home.) In the end we all just went to bed at 9pm, only to be woken in the middle of the night by a thunderstorm which was directly overhead. When we woke up again in the morning, we discovered that the vents do need too be shut properly as my body warmer, which had been near one of them, was entirely soaked through. After I’d made my morning cuppa and accepted I was going to freeze I cheered up a bit. (Also it was quite an exciting thunderstorm, and if I hadn’t been so cold I’d have got up and watched it.)
We had a lovely day out together at the Thursford Collection, admiring some steam engines and watching a Whirlitzer show in the auditorium there. It was quite nice to watch and enjoy some live music together with the children, and it didn’t last too long either so they didn’t get restless. We then went to Sheringham, one of our favourite seaside places, for some fish and chips and a walk on the beach-the children were left disappointed as they were hoping to go for a paddle but it really was too cold. (Unfortunately we also couldn’t see very far out to sea as the thunderstorm hadn’t cleared the mist.) I took my Coastal Crochet CAL blanket for its first photo shoot at the beach, it was an opportunity I couldn’t miss.
After that, we went to Sheringham Park for a walk to try and wear the children out to see if they could got to sleep before 9pm. The walk was nice, but our mission failed! It was the perfect time of year for a stroll there, though, as the rhododendrons were in full flower and everything was so colourful.
The following day, we went to Felbrigg Hall, another National Trust place. As we have NT cards, we decided to go into the house itself, have a picnic there, go on one of the long walks and then visit the walled gardens to get our money’s worth. It was so nice there, especially in the gardens, where the children enjoyed seeing the plants growing (and identifying the ones we also have at our allotment). There is a lovely quiet corner there with sand pits for the children to play in, and a very special message in amongst the plants.
Our final evening in the tent was spent playing snakes and ladders. Unfortunately, the game went on for rather a long time (I’m talking practically a Monopoly-length game) so Mr C and I livened it up by having a drink of wine every time someone had to go down a snake. By the time one of the children finally won, I was feeling a little giddy, but at least I wasn’t cold (and there was still quite a lot of wine left!)
That night made me vow not to return to that site though. There is meant to be a 10pm curfew, but at 10:30 there were still some very loud children in the woods playing ‘zombies’ and two new campers arrived and set up behind our tent, complete with car headlights shining through the tent and into the bedroom where the children were trying to sleep. At midnight, a group further away were still sat outside talking very loudly and I couldn’t sleep. Once I finally dropped off, my daughter awoke desperate for the loo. She was crying because she couldn’t find her wellies to put on, so I picked her up and ran across the eerie, mist covered field towards the toilet block with her telling me she was going to wee ‘right now’. We made it in the nick of time, and I reckon it could make quite an entertaining olympic sport, what with the hazards of running on uneven ground in the dark and the risk of getting weed on. When we got back, the noisy group were still up and talking and I found it even harder to warm up and go back to sleep, but luckily madam got straight back into her sleeping bag and drifted off.
Before I knew it, it was morning and time to get up and pack away the tent (I was up very early as one of the new campers made a business phone call right outside the back of our tent before 7am-I was not amused!) Packing up set us yet another challenge as the mist meant the tent wasn’t going to dry and the weather was not predicted to improve. We mopped it with towels and packed it loosely, knowing that we were adding another job to do when we got home (and finding a spot to dry a 4m x 7m tent is no mean feat!)
After all of that, we definitely made lots of memories (good, bad and funny), and agreed that the new tent was money well spent as it gave us enough space to enjoy ourselves even in poor weather. Once we accepted that on the campsite normal bedtime is out of the window, we also relaxed too. If we go camping again, though, I might leave snakes and ladders at home…