The Outdoors Type

It began like a normal text exchange on Thursday afternoon after a lovely, hot day (especially welcome after the cold, rainy, windy weather since last Saturday evening). Dave spent the day at the beach and wondered if I fancied spending Friday on the beach with him. I thought of the day ahead and said "sure, why not." I then got a text back asking if I fancied going camping for the night. According to Dave's weather sense, Friday would be scattered showers in the morning, then sunny, but cooler; Saturday, sunny but chilly. I thought about it and said "yes, if it's dry."

Friday didn't so much dawn as thunder the living daylights out of me. One minute I was fast asleep, the next I was wondering whether a giant's foot was going to come in through the roof above my head. It threw it down for about half an hour, cleared up and then had another go, because obviously, the weather hadn't got all the raining, winding and thundering right the first time. This happened again. At 10.30, Dave rang me.

I said what any sensible person would say looking out at a soggy garden "No freaking way!" Dave assured me that it would clear and dry up by lunchtime. He'd be over then to pick me up. I think the only reason he drove over here to pick me up, was to make sure I actually came. He knows me well.

I also know Dave's weather sense pretty well. I've been caught out by him before. Ladies and Gentlemen, take my advice and learn from my mistakes: do not bet against Dave's weather predictions. So, I dutifully packed my bag, gathered together my bits and pieces and waited. Lo! It thusly cleared up and dried out. 

Off we went. The camp site is in Waxham, on the Norfolk coast. Apparently, it's a pretty basic site with a shop, fish n chip van, toilets and showers. It also promised electricity. We got ourselves booked in and found our pitch to set up.

Last year we purchased, what is known as a walking tent, with the hope that if the weather was good, we'd go walking around the Norfolk coast, me carrying the tent, sleeping bags and mats, Dave carrying everything else. The tent promised it would sleep three men.

Ladies and Gentlemen, let me tell you now, that was in clear breach of the Trade Descriptions Act. The only way three men could fit in that tent is if they are three adolescent, anorexic jockeys. Let me tell you, it's a good thing Dave and I are intimate, that's not a tent to share with platonic friends. 

Pitching the tent was surprisingly easy. Especially since Dave insists on following instructions and is used to putting up tents. He also insists on making me follow his instructions so I didn't cause quite as much havoc as I might have otherwise. It only took 20 minutes. Next time it will be quicker as we'll know what we're doing. 

We had a very nice fish and chip supper and went for a walk along the beach. There's something so relaxing, sitting in the sand dunes, spotting the seals popping up near the waterline. We must have seen at least six. I don't know what it is but every time I see them I just want to throw a stick and shout "fetch!" They've got such bright, inquisitive eyes. And yes, before you start, I don't. I leave them well enough alone. They are wild animals and I am in their element.

I got a bit over-excited and insisted we go to bed when the sun went down. That was when I realised that all was not as it could be. I didn't bring the mat for under my sleeping bag, nor anything else to cushion my body against the ground. I couldn't sleep on my back, not without a roll for under my knees and when I tried to sleep on my side, it hurt. Sleeping on my front was okay, but I couldn't quite do it because of the muscles in my thighs. It seems I have discovered the down side to becoming fitter. Lack of padding. 

Going to the camp loos in the middle of the night was a bit of an expedition. Not that I was worried about stumbling around in the dark, there were two street-type lamps on site and we were directly under one and had to suffer the deep orange glow all night. 

It took me ten minutes to get comfortable to fall asleep and then I'd wake up to change position. I then had to shuffle around to try and redistribute my weight on my bones before I could shut my eyes. Every time I did, Dave was looking at me worriedly. I did get a bit chilly at one point, but he got my hat from the car on his way back from his own trek to the loos and that sorted that out. At one point he asked whether I'd prefer to sleep in the car. I declined. I was determined to see out the night in the tent. 

At about 5.30, Dave went to the loo with the immortal words "if you want, we can go sleep in my mother's house just down the road." When he came back I was dressed with boots on ready to go. No, I did not want to look at the sea. No, I did not want to go for a walk on the shore.

The tent came down a damn side quicker that it did going up. We broke camp in about ten minutes. As promised, in less than half an hour we were tucked up in a warm bed. It was bliss.

What have I learnt about camping?

  • I actually like it
  • We need more padding so we can sleep comfortably
  • We need a proper camping stove
  • A table would be quite handy
  • A camping kettle and a proper cool bag would be great too
  • Hand wash is more important to me than I can say
  • I would like to go camping in more remote places
  • Other campers are a bit interesting.

Overheard on the site:

"Do you want baby spinach with that?"
"Shall I throw this on the BBQ, or shall I do it on the George Forman?"

The Plan is to purchase a weekend tent that will have more space. Yes, it does mean it'll be bigger and heavier to cart around, but that way we'll have the option of either walking, biking or driving to a campsite (possibly near you).

An intense moment in the erection process

"We will fit. Promise."

Dave "enjoying" his camping tea. PS. I'm the shadow taking the picture.

As Dave said, this was a trial run to iron out the shortcomings. The best is yet to come.


  1. I'm sorry but I have absolutely no idea what you're going about. Camping? Tents? Sleeping bag? It all sounds rather preposterous to me.

    ::resumes afternoon tea before retiring to the parlour for fripperies::

    P.S. Well done you, though!

    1. It is totally preposterous. I'm still in shock myself.


  2. Are you certain it says, "Three man" and not "Thee Oompa Loompa"? We'll stick to the caravan, I think. My time of life, I need nourishment not punishment.

    1. You'd never get three Oompa Loopa in there. Really, you wouldn't.

  3. I have very fond memories of outdoor camping, particularly in tents of all shapes and sizes over the years. One that comes to mind was a huge square canvas thing with a large centre pole and smaller poles with guy ropes and pegs all the way around. Inside it divided into 3 rooms via curtaining run on wire, one bedroom for the kids one for the parents and the rest for kitchen/eating area. It had a collection of folding/dis-mountable furniture including a canvas Double bed,,single stretcher beds and even bunks all with foam mattresses, a washing basin/sink stand, wooden pantry cupboard on legs, twin burner gas stove and even a heavy old ice chest. It only took a large trailer to cart around! so once camp was made that was it for the fortnight!
    Good luck with your continued endeavours, there is nothing quite like a night spent under canvass with a howling wind and thunderstorm raging about you... fond memories...

    1. It seems the only limit to the comforts of camping is how much you want to carry/transport. We looked at weekend tents today and in passing saw we could buy massive stoves, there were camping fridges, blow up beds bigger than mine...

      I'm going to trust Dave's weather sense and that he knows me well enough to know the Living Hell I'd make his life if he gets it wrong! :)

  4. It looks like a very nice trekking tent. That said, I would not want to be the middle person in their sleeping diagram!

    Suggestion. If you do get another tent, get one with a door at each end. Then you could join both tents and have a two-room mega-tent. What luxury!

    1. I'm impressed! You researched the tent. You and Dave will get on like a house on fire. The diagram you found is for the latest version of the Banshee. Ours doesn't have that space along the side.

      LOL. I think we're looking for something bigger for the second tent. Either an Outwell Dusk 5 or a Vango Eos 5c. I think the trekking tent will be for our guests!

  5. camping is a ton of fun WHEN.YOU'RE.YOUNG. but at this time of my life, i camp out only under 5 star hotels, sweetpea! ;) now, that isn't to say i wouldn't enjoy glamping! right? yeah, i know, the only way to go! xoxoxox

    1. Unfortunately, I missed out on camping when I was young, so I'm playing catch up. I reckon when I'm 80 I'll give glamping a go.

  6. Erm... I think you were very brave :-)
    Misread as: Shall we throw George Formby on the BBQ?

    1. We should always throw George Formby on the BBQ. Always.

  7. Roses ? Really ? I mean, you look like Roses, but use terrible words like "tent", inflatable sleeping thingy", "camping" - oh the horror ! - I have to visit the chaise longue. And why would anybody in his right mind try to put baby spinach (?) on George Forman ? He may be over sixty now, but was a pretty good boxer, at least in his old age. I think George found God and is a preacher now. One could ask him to pray for you, when you find yourself on the good cold Norfolk earth again ... digging in may be an alternative, all you'd need to carry around would be a nice spade. But I degress. sorry, have to join Savannah, they just lit the fire over there ...

    1. I know. I know.

      Where's the layabout in the pink, fluffy dressing gown you love?

      It'll be okay. Honest.

  8. Now you know why your ape cousins learned how to sleep in trees. Have you ever thought of getting a caravan?

    1. I think the ones who sleep on the ground, put more padding between it and their bodies.

      Umm....not really. My one experience of caravanning wasn't all that. Plus, camping is still cheaper. As a struggling writer, I'm all about the cheaper. Until my best seller of course, then it'll be 5-star hotels with bubbly on tap.

  9. Goodness, it doesn't exactly sound like fun...! Are you sure you want to go again?:) Waxham is a lovely spot but I think I'm much more of a caravan person :D

    1. was fun, in a "different experience" kinda way.

      I suppose caravans would be better if the weather deteriorates, but with Dave's weather sense and the fact we can break camp in 10 mins flat, I'm not too worried about crap weather.

      The trouble with caravans is caravan parks...again, too many people too close by. I'm working up to being able to camp in the middle of nowhere, comfortably.

  10. Happy Summer Solstice! Stonehenge this time?

    1. Blessings of the Summer Solstice to you too my darling.

      Nope, no Stonehenge again.

  11. I don’t think traveling is bad per se, I do enjoy it quite a bit myself. However, I think there is still the reality that someone has to work specific jobs in order for places to function. Thus, there are some of us who find excitement in every day life just in the place we are at. Mastering a city takes a lifetime, and it truly is a beautiful thing to run into an old soul who can tell you the ins and outs of an area and where this and that used to be, etc.


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