Keeping Calm and Going Camping


The Kid and I were very made-up and flattered to be invited to go camping with some friends over Easter.

However, being a bit of a wuss by nature and given my love of all things homely – like my own bathroom and loo for example, I have to admit to rising panic at this forthcoming adventure.  I hate to be cold and public loos and showers bring me out in a rash at the mere thought.

Couple that with the fact that I’m a bit of a tidy freak and that I’d be living out of a bag in a tent with 8 others – well of course I bloody said yes!!!!

This probably surprised my beloved camping buds but the ‘give it a go’ in me, coupled with the fact that I knew The Kid would love it, saw me agreeing like I’d been a camper all my life.  I also knew we would have a really good laugh.

Too late to change your mind now girlies!!!

Iron Man found the whole thing hilariously amusing given my wimpy nature.  He generally wouldn’t put me and camping in the one sentence.  Glamping – yes, caravan – yes, treehouse – yes, lodge – yes.  Camping no.

He managed to contain his excitement about having two whole days to himself and I certainly didn’t begrudge him this as I know how much I love my own space.

So without further ado, a camping meeting was underway and a pitch secured at a Haven campsite in Clacton.

Wanting to be on top of things, I immediately snapped up this tea towel in Primark which was to become the camp mascot.


Advice was forthcoming from another camping friend in the form of making sure you put something under the airbed and take lots of layers.

Let me tell you I could have single handedly done my own fashion show with one days worth of clothing layers.  No need to tell me twice.  She shalt not be cold.

A Dora the Explorer table cloth and a picnic rug for under the beds were also packed.

It would later transpire that Dora would be responsible for our redemption.

I was also usefully provided with an electric cable for hook up courtesy of my brother in law which Iron Man kindly converted and shortened as it was on a ridiculously long lead.

I was sorted. The camp would be sorted, with our combined strength, we would make Bear Grylls look like Barbie.


And so came the day.

Generous lashings of rain leading up to our departure assured us of a nice soft ground for pitching.

Departure also gave us ringside seats to a police chase before we had even left home.

A taste of the excitement to follow.

As we approached Clacton, the sun shone brightly and warmly.  So brightly that it belied the fact that every tent on the field was surrounded by straw.  It had been a very wet week.

Not for us though.  Coats off and out came the tent.  It was at this point that I was humbled by the tent erecting skills of my pals.  This was to be my chocolate teapot moment.  I did not have a clue how to put a tent up and was happy to be the apprentice erecter under their expert direction.

It’s all about teamwork at times like this but on the basis that a team is only as strong as its weakest member (me on this occasion), it was somewhat shocking that the whole thing was done in an hour and we were sat drinking Prosecco in the sunshine laughing at how lucky we were.

Time to test the electricity.

It turns out there was a reason for the lengthy lead – to allow it to go into the tent and stay dry.  No worries here though, 8 beds were swiftly inflated and it was baking.  Thumbs up all round.


We had a tightly packed schedule of forestry, swimming and rifle shooting that afternoon and by 7pm we all fell down in the entertainment lounge for food, drink and a show.

Time seemed to stand still while we were there as we seemed to pack so much in to one day.  This is one of the great things about camping.

I have to say as far as sites go, this one was pretty much spot on.

We also had a ban on technology for all, not a popular choice but also very liberating and it wasn’t missed.


And did I mention shows?

It turns out that we were treated to another as we left the lounge to return home.  This time a lightning show!  The rain was coming down in stair rods and we had to get ourselves and the six kids back to base across the bog.

This is real camping.  None of this Prosecco and sunshine lark.

Mud, rain, dark, cold, loo runs and rain beating down on the tent with the occasional bolt of lightning.


Needless to say, not too much in the way of sleep that night and a face full of rain awaited the first person to unzip the tent as they glimpsed the dark sky of the new day.

Three out of four rooms had wet bedding.  For some unknown reason, ours being the 4th was bone dry.

No beach today.

We were soon conferring and changing plans whilst sipping a lukewarm cuppa from the travel kettle that took 5 hours to boil, while attached to the metre long cable in the rain on a bin liner!

Not deterred, we set off with our list of indoor pursuits and had lots of fun.

It was during our game of chicken charades that the ‘bug’ came.  An  over enthusiastic charade was initially suspected but unfortunately for one poor member of our crew, this was not an isolated incident.  We had a poorly camper.

We were not deterred.  Rain and sick did not stop our play and another days events were enjoyed by all.

There was just a small matter of some of the children getting lost on site but a recent headcount shows that 6 returned home safely.  No flies on our childcare!

The rain finally let up and we were treated to a clear sky and plummeting temperatures for our final sleep.

The Dora table cloth was to save the day by going someway towards insulating us from the ice cold floor.  On reflection, it was probably Dora that kept us dry too.

A peaceful night ensued with the occasional snore and quack.

It was then time to do the whole thing in reverse and take down our house of fun.  Once again we were treated to wonderful sunshine.

Operation clear-up was another success.

And we all survived.  Happily.

Dora the Explorer emerged as a hero of the holiday.

I did it.  We did it.  I’d do it again.

I didn’t phone home once.

Best of all you can roam around in a fleece onesie and a funny hat looking like a teletebby and no one cares.  Imagine that!

There are a few tips that I would offer to any prospective campers which I shall be storing in my camping file for future reference :

If you think you are getting away from a snorer, think again – you will effectively be sleeping with everyone else’s snoring husbands (or wives).  There is no sound proofing in a tent.

  • Never take a pitch next to a caravan.  Not only will they piss you off annoy you for being dry and warm in a thunder storm but their ability to watch TV loudly until late will really get on your wick as you lay freezing trying to nod off.
  • They will also wake you every time they walk across the floor and when they get up and they bang their doors very loudly.  The only way to meet behaviour like this is with another caravan.  Canvas is no match in this relationship.
  • Take a longer electricity cable.  Short leads are for houses.
  • Do not wear wellington boots that no one can get off – even if they are fashionable.  They will hinder progress.
  • Research inflatable sick buckets.  One for Amazon.  Pack.


And as if by coincidence, it would seem that we were not alone in our experience.  Even the PM was getting involved.

Here is the headline in the newspaper on our departure day.

So where were you Dave when the rain came in?

Trying to pinch my wellies no doubt!


Such a memorable few days for all.  There are no barriers and secrets with camping.  I think we all know a little more about each other than before we went!

I wonder if I have changed your mind if you are a non-camping type like me?

Or maybe you are a seasoned camper and have seen it all before?

Either way, I would love to hear how you shape up under canvas.

Thank you for reading.

Until next time ….



The Secret Diary of Agent Spitback

31 thoughts on “Keeping Calm and Going Camping

  1. It sounds like you had a great time! We used to go camping a lot as kids but I was renowned as the worst camper – I got claustrophobic so whoever was with me would have to leave the flap open. You can imagine how popular this made me in cold weather. 😉 Last time I went was with my mum and brother for a little festival about 4 years ago. Somebody (my brother) didn’t pack the groundsheet so we had an, er, interesting weekend…

    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ooh leaving the flap open in April would not be good Jess!! I’m just imagining that. We’ve toyed with a festival but I think you’ve made my mind up – no groundsheet – bet your brother was in trouble. Our next trip I believe will be a caravan (request of my daughter) Having said that we had the best time and as they say, the best memories are made outdoors. Thank you for commenting.


  2. Congrats on making it through the camping trip! I don’t think I could – I’m really not a camper at all! You tell the story very well 🙂 #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  3. No Chance…..Camping – Pah!!!!! I will always be a bed, pillow, inside toilet and private shower type of girl. My husband can do the camping with the kids…..after all, I collectively spent 8 years being pregnant and breastfeeding them. It’s the least he can do!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yep I give you that Emma! Although I have to say the toilet block was pretty close and incredibly well looked after. Part of the deal was the guarantee of a 5 star loo! Thanks for commenting.


  4. I’m so glad you had such a wonderful time. I sincerely enjoy camping, myself, and try and do it as often as possible. We camped in the desert over Christmas holiday with my husband’s family and I was dreading it up to the day we went. Needless to say, I had an absolutely marvelous time! So happy you were able to stay dry (: #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for commenting. Camping is so popular isn’t it Savannah. I have to say, the idea of camping in a desert sounds incredibly appealing. What
      an experience. Where was that?


  5. Firstly I love your style of writing. Such a quintessentially English style of writing which suits me down to the ground. That’s just me.
    Secondly, nothing I didn’t like about this post! You did make me laugh with the Barbie Bear Grylls bit and the police chase and the wellies! But one hour to erect the tent and 5 hours to make some tea. Kill me now. I so WANT to be the camping type but #Indian = #TotalWuss I’m not the ‘no hairdryer won’t travel’ type but there is no end to the hate I feel for being cold and wet.
    Super post. Well done on the camping and thanks for joining #passthesauce

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much! Yes, it certainly all happened but doesn’t it always. Cold and wet are a terrible combination and I, like you, would get very grumpy if it were a permanent state. I suppose when going back to basics, there is no point trying to look nice so a hair tie and messy hair was the order of the day. The saving grace was not having to look in a mirror! Thank you for your lovely comments and hosting.


  6. I’m exactly the same than you!! I’m scared of camping because I also need my private loo. Comfort is always important for me and the same than you I would prefer glamping but I can see that you had a great time and there were nothing to worry about!! I guess I should try to give it a go too at some point as I know my kids will love it!!! Thank you so much lovely for sharing this at #KCACOLS. It is always great having you!! I hope to see you again on Sunday!! 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The kids will probably ask you at some point Franca – happy to give you some words of comfort when that day arrives. Of course, there is always the overseas option. One of the comments here mentioned camping in the desert – now that sounds rather appealing! Thanks for commenting and hosting.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I love camping, fresh air, bbq’s, no wifi or electric. Its like you are totally free and non contactable! I love it. Saying that a few days is more than enough, especially when the rain comes! That is an amazing photo of the lightening! Glad you enjoyed.
    Amanda. #kcacols

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think Summer camping is a whole new ball game. I imagine the BBQs and of course the non contact is very liberating. I have to be totally honest in saying that picture was not taken by me!!! Thanks for commenting Amanda.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I did it with the school! My daughter has also been away with the Brownies but they don’t camp under canvas. I went along with the spirit of giving it a go! Thanks for commenting.


    1. I love that line! I hear you. But you know what, this year our stars are in a mixer and The Kid is choosing too. I should have an average star rating across the year! Thanks for popping over and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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