Sunday, 12 April 2009

Eat your heart out, Mary Poppins

Now, I have to throw myself on Marlene's (Stitchin' by the Lake) mercy here. I've been reading her latest post about Camping and it really did set my mind a-wandering - it doesn't take much. I hope she doesn't mind me using her theme.

We used to go camping, Keith and I, in the 70's and our first attempt was SUCH a disaster. We borrowed his sister's frame tent and just about everything else we thought we needed. Easy peasy, we thought, but it wasn't until we got to the campsite near Broadway in Worcestershire that we discovered none of the metal poles was sprung together like they should have been - and we had never put up a tent before. Four hours it took us in the pouring rain and a howling gale. The high point for the lookers-on, of whom there were many(twitching tent flaps), must have been when, with the frame on its 'knees' and the canvas having just been pulled down over the roof, an almighty gust of wind wooshed under the canvas and took the whole thing off across the field, and me with it hanging on for dear life to one of the legs. Think of Mary Poppins!

A couple of days later we thought we would spend the day in and around the Cheddar Gorge, which is a good drive from Broadway. By the time we got there the drizzle had become a torrent. I'm sure the Cheddar Gorge is spectacular but I couldn't tell you from experience. The very steep road into the town was more like a river. We stayed long enough to buy a cagoule each from the Army and Navy Stores then we cleared off back to Broadway.

Worse awaited us! Now we knew why there was plenty of space near our pitch. The site was on a slope and we were at the bottom of it! Rule #1: pitch at the top if raining. It was a quagmire. The tent was sinking in the mud, the guy ropes doing their own thing, the canvas at a rakish angle, so we just bundled the whole lot up into the boot of the car, mud anorl, and set sail (so to speak) for my cousins flat in Birmingham. We didn't mind sleeping on the floor (I couldn't do it now). We draped that horrid canvas over cousin's balcony and retired to that cosy, welcoming floor.

Next night Keith was designated fetcher of fish and chips, went out to the car and found it had been broken into and all the cassettes pinched and the dashboard damaged.

The following night he went out, before we retired to the floor, to check the car was OK and it was........gone! As we were young and impoverished (i.e. we had no money) we couldn't go home by train so we had to sit it out until the police found the car - another three days. The instant we got home we traded that car in; we were convinced it was jinxed. That car just ASKED to be stolen andjoyridden all over Birmingham. It was a Ford Capri and was p-i-n-k. It was on that same expedition - before we had to abandon ship - that we saw our only other pink Capri. It was at the Cotswold Farm Park and we were parked next to it! Later on it was to seem as if Pink Capris were sent to torment us.

If I told you enough was enough and we never went camping again it wouldn't be surprising would it? Uh-uh.......we bought a tent of our own and, bit by bit, our own equipment, and we did quite enjoy camping in those days. Thankfully we learnt a lot of hard lessons first time out and tenting was never that bad again.

Until along came......... That sounds like blog-fodder for another day!



StitchinByTheLake said...

This was just hilarious Angie! I can picture it since my experience was so similar! blessings, marlene

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

I never went tent camping but some of my children do. I've always had a camper (caravan). I would have probably quit camping along time ago if I'd been in a tent, but I've got all the conveniences of home. I will be waiting to hear about the more...
'On Ya'-ma

Marie said...

haha Angie. Your experience sounds very much like mine, except my camping woes were hoards of hungry mosquitos and a tent trailer camper that had no working zips or snaps . . . hence we got eaten alive all night. I was not a "Happy"camper to say the least. Neither were the 4 children that kept me up all night with their moaning and groaning! Needless to say I never did it again.

Patchwork Dragon said...

Sorry....I had to laugh at your misfortunes....I knew there was a reason that I've absolutely NEVER wanted to go camping!!

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