Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Story About Camping

Sorry my aussie friends who have heard this long painful story in person, but it's just one to be shared....

After many false starts at the warm weather and with rain imminent, we headed off for a weekend to test our "new" tent, actually it's a tent we bought just before leaving for Sydney 2.5 years ago but never outed until now. It's one of those family tents with like 3 bedrooms, a mezzanine, ensuite and games room kind of tent. It's not the type of tent you pop up in the backyard (if you had one) for a practice run. We thought, lets just do a wee trial run somewhere close so that we can give it a decent shot on our own without friends watching our pain so that if we have troubles we can resort to Plan B. Can you see where this is going?

Day starts badly with Smith developing a mysterious injury which meant he couldn't walk but dragged himself around the floor on his blanket. Doctors appointment made, packing underway with the plan of picking The Husband up FROM THE HEART OF SYDNEY ON A BUSY FRIDAY LUNCHTIME, can you guess I haven't done that part before. Tempers started to fray as I realised we were about to miss the doctors appointment if I didn't start hurling stuff into the car, including the boys. Doctor concluded it could be a fracture but could wait for the weekend to sort. I'd thrown in his defunct stroller that hadn't been used in at least 18months just in case he couldn't walk. We picked up The Husband late then as he was still working on his Blackberry, I drove our very heavy, totally sight impaired car through it felt every southern suburb of Sydney until at last we found the countryside. From there we headed to Gerringong and Gerroa, beautiful little beach towns on the South Coast, where after a little camping ground indecision, we found a spot and a site and started to unload and prepare ourselves for Operation Tent Erection. Time check 4.15'ish. What do you think happened next?

Well, nothing! We could not get the beast up, at all - we're smart people we have owned other tents and know how to put a tent up. We either had the wrong inner or the wrong instructions coz by 5pm'ish in failing light, we aborted. Throwing the tent in the car with 3 very upset and hungry boys (and 2 very tense parents), we attempted to find what little accomodation there was in the area. Apart from a grotty 1970's motel, there was nothing. There was talk of heading back home, there was more tension, by now it was dark. Last ditch effort we drove to Kiama and found a 4 star hotel with one room for 5 people (only 4 beds but hey we had BYO bedding anyway). We made the most of our disastrous day and regrouped thinking to ourselves there was so much to see around the area, we'd stay another night. But when we went to book another night there was no more rooms for an extra night for us. Of course there wasn't. By now we were laughing at ourselves so we found another place to stay and ended up having a great weekend. But it wasn't easy driving around the place with our car chocker full of all our camping gear, I couldn't even reach my carefully packed chillybin apart from a sliver of a gap which I could wedge my hand in to pull out whatever food I could reach. Even our bags weren't easy to get to, so much so, that at a gorgeous beach instead of searching fruitlessly through our gear for our swimmers, we resorted to swimming in our undies.

Lesson 1: Don't wait 2.5 years before attempting to put up the new tent

Lesson 2: Give yourselves more time and light when trying to put a tent up (that's The Husbands fave)

Lesson 4: Don't swim at a full beach in a white t-shirt

Lesson 5: Watch where you put your feet when you sit down on a rug with glasses of red wine on it

Lesson 6: Maybe put your glass of red wine on the grass and not the faux Burberry rug

Lesson 7: It's ok to wear your camping clothes at a flash hotel, just hold your head up high.
Lesson 8: When a boy suddenly is able to walk on a foot he couldn't only a few hours earlier, it's not a fracture

Lesson 9: Just roll with the punches and laugh at yourselves.

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