How many elephants does it take to put up a tent?
Although I have thoroughly enjoyed a few home comforts in the last few hours, like a cup of tea that didn’t take 10 minutes to make, a powerful and reliably warm shower and clothes not covered in sand AND/OR grass, I do have to say how much I love camping. Probably my favourite thing about camping is waking up with the sun shining through the tent, rolling out of bed and straight into the fresh air.
I have just returned from a long weekend camping with my Rotaract friends and it could not have been much more perfect – glorious weather, well organised and brilliant company. We drove south-west on Good Friday along with everyone else from SE England, and experienced that strange traffic situation where you travel at an average of 2mph for ten minutes, then the traffic all speeds up to 60 or 70 for the next five, then seemingly spontaneously slows down again to tortoise speed. But like the tortoise we persevered and eventually made it past Corfe Castle and to the campsite.
As the group arrived with the progression of the afternoon, we set up camp and helped one another erect tents, especially all the new flashy ones with a million and one guy ropes. When that was done we lazed about the campsite in the lovely weather and entertained ourselves with catch and frisbee before a few of us went for a walk and found out from the local observatory that there was a meteor shower expected that night. After our takeaway dinner, we sat wrapped in blankets staring at night sky. It was a very clear sky and we found it amazing how many tiny satellites you can see coasting, or rather orbiting, across the night sky.
Saturday was a walk to Corfe Castle (which is truly stunning), an easter egg hunt for the big kids, firing a trebuchet and dressing up as King John. After a pub lunch we had a strenuous climb up the steepest hill we could find and a trip to the pub for a pint or three of local cider.
Sunday was beach day at Studland – no, not the nudist bit – and absolutely sweltering weather. Although the sea was probably 10 degrees or lower, almost everyone bravely ventured in for a game of catch, also known as ‘splash’. I haven’t laughed that freely in a long time, especially when I leapt for a high ball and slipped and bombed right under! We practised our petanque to be ready for the annual Rotary v. Rotaract super match, and worked on our impressive April tans!
Back at the campsite we showered sand out of places we didn’t even know we had and got all dolled up in our glamorous jeans and t-shirts for dinner at the local pub. Definition of local: within walking distance – may contain 10+ stiles, treacherous wet mud and churned up dry mud, hillsides, brambles, nettles and overly friendly cows. After a delicious meal we stumbled back (both due to the good drink and the undulating hillsides) to the campsite and followed with some quiz questions from a ‘Who wants to be a millionare?’ book we picked up at a front garden table top sale.
The last morning was a bit more lazy and we gradually took all the tents down with the fun of refolding the canvas three times to fit in a bag that you are CONVINCED has shrunk in the last three days. We then split off in different directions – some straight and one group home via the National Trust property Hinton Ampner. And that pretty much ends the Easter weekend. Who’s free next weekend?