So if you are going to embark on a camping tip, some prior planning and preparation need to take place. I knew we had left it to the very last minute when we were crazily assembling the two tents in the living room the night before, to make sure that all the bits and pieces were there. We had two tents that went up obediently, but the poles for both flysheets (the extra layer that comes with some tents to protect the inside of the tent from rain.) were damaged since our move.
Otherwise, the rest of our packing went smoothly, and I had everything packed into the car the night before.
See, this was our big jaunt (sans Hubby, who is not on holidays) to the city of Melbourne to see my sister in law K,her Hubby, their two little girls and their new gorgeous baby. The kids and I thought we would camp at a nearby carvan park a couple nights, spending the daytime hours with our family, and then spend one night at their home.
The good news was that we got to the Big 4 park without a map, and without too much hassle.
The bummer was that in our tent assembling, we discovered that all the poles for Roly's tent were still in the living room at home!!!!! Roly was hugely disappointed, as the tent was a Christmas present that he had been hanging out to use.
Without the poles to set up the flysheet on our tent, I just draped it over the tent to hopefully give us a bit of added warmth for the night ahead.
On the way to and from the heated pool, I noticed two differences between us and the very few other campers. 1. Their sites were all on soft grass, whilst we had been allotted a big patch of hard pressed earth that had bent several tent pegs despite us wetting and softening it first. 2. Their tents all had neatly stretched flysheets, while our drooped sadly over our tent.
The great thing was that our tent was roomy enough for all of us, including the portable cot for Topsy.
Not so great was the fact that our camping collection lacks any folding chairs.
After buying a ready-made dinner and eating it on a busy Melbourne street, to absorb the Melbourne culture, we came back home and settled down for the night.
Roly insisted on sleeping in the car, as he had been deprived of his tent.
The fantastic thing about not having a folding table, chairs, and more than a dim lamp for lighting, was that we went to bed really early and told stories to each other for ages.
Not so fantastic was the reality of one's back being bruised by the hard ground. (note to self, take ourcamping mattresses next time!) Diva and I just about froze as well, as we had chosen not to layer.
I found the night so physically uncomfortable, I woke up resolved to tell K and A that we might come stay with them a night early. (By the way thankis Mom and Dad for your offer to upgrade us to a cabin. Much appreciated.) But the boys shouted me down. They loved the whole experience: grilling our toast over the little portable gas stove, toasting marshmallows, changing and getting ready for bed in lamp light, and the storytelling. They wanted theirvpromised length of camping time.
Diva, not so much.
She opted to have a sleepover with her cousins, and that was good, as she developed croup that night.
I plundered her sleeping bag and pillow, wore many more layers, borrowed some extra bedding from K and A. It was a much better night.
So, it could have been disastrous, but it was actually a really fun and memorable time. The fact that Topsy took to it so much surprised me. Every time we were away from the campsite, looking at the sights, Topsy would be asking to go back to sleep in the tent.
And the time spent with precious family was joyousl. We see them far too rarely, and I loved watching the cousins all interacting so naturally; loved cuddling new beautiful baby Alice; loved waching her two older sisters be simply their gorgeous selves; and LOVED 'gasbagging' with K. Too short, but lots of lovely memories fresh in our minds.