So, despite the fact that all weather forcasters were forcasting really bad rain with some really bad wind for the weekend, we still went camping.
The first thing that I must point out here is that was not intended to be a camping holiday. It’s not about finding some idyllic place to spend a relaxing time, we do after all live in the New Forest, this is about five families getting together for a social weekend where all the kids can play together in a relatively free and safe area.
So, five families went down to Holmsley on Friday. Holmsley is about 30 minutes away from our house and thus close enough that we can bail out at any stage. The blokes went down first and set up the tents. The weather at this point was dry with a slight wind. We found a suitable location to create base camp, high enough away from the possible and very likely rivers of rain that would be descending into any camp placed at the base of any hill, and sheltered by a small copse. Five tents were pitched around a central multi-gazebo-covered eating and drinking sdtation, with an en-suite gazebo-covered field kitchen.
Friday went pretty much without hitch. The kids loved the freedom they got. We ate plenty, drunk plenty, and retired to dry and relatively comfortable tents.
Saturday. It rained! No really, all day! Yes, I know rain all day was forcast, but hey it’s a bit like the spanish inquisition. Despite that, the rain never put us off. We spent all day generally lounging around the camp, eating, drinking, and making adjustments to parts of the camp that would be affected by the water. We had to cancel the dressing up part of the western BBQ party that we were having as dressing up is pointless when you have to walk around in wellies and a coat at all times.
The kids loved the freedom they got. They got very muddy and very wet and went through all the extra changes of clothing that was brought for them pretty quickly. We ate plenty, drunk plenty, sung along to western themes and country soungs, and then retired to semi-dry, if a little suspect, and relatively comfortable tents.
It rained all night and the wind was pretty angry. I was sure that we were going to lose a tent or two either to the wind or the rain. It was a far cry from the experience of last year. Do you know what is the worst think about lying in a small tent, pitched near large trees, with a tropical monsoon coming down around you; newly forged rivers of rain winding their way around your tent creating makeshift moats around your thin, semi waterproof clad castle, and wondering how long it’s going to be before the hurricane that is whirling around you is going to take you off to oz? It’s having spent all day drinking beer and cider and needing to go for a piss every 30 minuites!
However, we didn’t have to bail and our little campsite pretty much held up. We didn’t get much sleep but we had a lot of fun…