Camping: Part 1

Next week I am going camping with 7 fathers and their children. Between 10 and 15 kids.
I have no idea how it is going to go. It is the first time I have been camping with that many people.
This is not my first camping trip. I have been taking my boys for the past 4 years.
One of the main reasons I moved to Australia from Scotland was the outdoor lifestyle. To go to the beach, to take part in outdoor activities and to be part of a culture that shines from having sunshine.
During my first camping trip when bull ants the size of marbles started pouring out a log onto my sandled foot I realised – as I was flailing around like a screaming 6 year old girl – that maybe I wasn’t cut out for this. But I persevered.
We have had a few interesting encounters during our camping trips. We have seen snakes, been woken by neighbours firing guns, had motorbike riders race up and down past our tents, swum in beautiful lakes and rivers, fished for our dinner, been mozzie bitten within an inch of our lives, had spiders the size of my face crawl next to my face. We have camped in torrential rain and in 100 degree heat. Our last camping trip saw one young fella break his arm within hours of arriving.
I have also seen some amazing places, camped in some of the world’s most beautiful reserves and woken up to some sensational sun rises. These are some of the reasons why I do it.
I was discussing camping with a friend recently and he told me how he used to go camping when he was a boy. He spoke about how his dad used to take him and his friends. He told me of the stories and adventures. He spoke with a smile on his face. He told me it was time we started making our own memories for our own kids. It resonated with me. I have to make more of an effort to do and try different things with my boys so that they too have their own great memories and experiences.
Who knows what stories will emerge from this trip with so many people involved.
The fathers will sit and have a few beers, play a bit of cricket and kick a footie. The kids will form themselves into a Lord of the Flies hierarchy and we will see what happens.
I don’t want to spend my time policing my boys so unless it is life threatening I’m going to leave them to their own devices.
I’m anticipating the Friday night timeline something like this…..

  • Arrive early evening and set up. Families arrive at various times. Kids run wild. Crack open a beer. Settle in. Kids playing nicely. Happy days.
  • Prepare for dinner. Make fire. Kids run wild. Kids whinge they are hungry. Whack all the sausages and burgers on to the BBQ. Drop in some potatoes and some baked bean tins. Silence as they tuck into food. Complaints about burnt food. Few tantrums as sausages fall to the ground. Mini food fight. Flaming sticks getting pulled in and out the fire. Few tears. Beer no. 3. Tidy up. Kids run wild.
  • Marshmallows and jokes round the fire. Try and get everyone together. 25 people. No chance. Half the kids run wild. Half the kids sit. Tears from hot marshmallow goo on fingers and lips. Couple of minor burns. Few kids lost in woods as it starts to get dark. Fear of The Gruffalo brings them back. Young ones hit the sack. Few tears because there is no milo. Crack open beer no. 4. Slight Wobble. Feeling good. Older kids starting to fight amongst themselves. 10 minute bedtime warning.
  • Older kid’s bedtime. PJ’s on. No shower, too hard. No story, too drunk. Repeat warning about keeping tent closed to stop mozzies getting in. Excited yelling to friends from tent to tent. Over tired now. Repeated warnings to kids that there are others trying to sleep in the campsite. Please stop opening the tent door.
  • Young ones sleeping. Older ones still playing inside tent. “We can’t sleep dad.” Torch on. Torch off. Still shouting from tent to tent. Goodnight John Boy. Good night Elizabeth. Good night Daddy. Good night Son. Good night Mary Ellen. Good night Daddy. Good night Mama. Good night Mary Ellen. Good night Jim Bob. Good night Mama. Good night Erin. Good night Jim Bob. Good night Ben. Good night Erin. Good night everybody. Now go the F&ck to sleep.
  • All quiet. Adults reach for the port and whisky and settle into their chairs. Exhausted but feeling good. Boy’s chat, jokes, cigars and someone pulls out the whacky backy. Whitey then bed.
  • Middle of night. Snoring. Crying. Quiet talking. Trips to toilet. Hot and stuffy or cold and damp. Depends.

Awake with sore back. Make breakfast. Repeat
And I am really looking forward to it.
Camping Blog – Part 2. To be continued……

I hope you don't sleepwalk!

I hope you don’t sleepwalk!