As promised, part two of my guide to camping. Part three will be along soon to wrap up all the loose ends, a few more things to consider, and some recipe suggestions.
Keeping Clean: I hate showering on campsites. Especially if it's those fixed head showers that you have to keep pressing the button to get 5 seconds worth of water out of. If you have long hair, it's a nightmare to rinse. And pray tell, how on earth is one meant to rinse one's undercarriage of bubbles if one can't remove the shower head? You're stood in a pool of someone else's shower water, your clothes are getting soaked while you try in vain to get dry and get dressed in a tiny cubicle. No thanks. Anyhoo. Detest.
Toilets. Again. I'm not good in a toilet unless it's my own, I can't go with an audience, which means that invariably, I don't... go... for the duration of the camping trip. Which cannot be healthy. We do have a Kampa Khazi, which we are allowed to pee in, but as for number two's... no. There was an... incident, shall we say, a couple of years ago. An incident I have never blogged about, it was mortifying, and I still cringe about it to this day. Yes, of course I'll tell you, we're all friends, right?
Well, it happened really early one morning, maybe about 6 am. I woke up, I needed the loo, as you do upon waking. I sat down and... nature unfortunately took it's course. Against my will. Against my better judgement. As it will do if you haven't been for four or five days, right? I was horrified. Mr G was going to go nuts that I'd crapped in our new Kampa Khazi. I couldn't very well leave it in the tent, I had to get rid before he ever found out about it. So, I unzipped the tent, and looked out. Gloomy, pouring with rain. Of course it was. I look back at the bucket, and I have visions of myself walking with it to the shower block, slipping on the wet grass and the bucket spilling. So, I sellotaped the lid on. As you do. I made the walk to the shower block, taking every step gingerly. Thankfully it was empty. I emptied the contents of the bucket into the toilet. I muttered 'Jesus H Christ, that's not going to flush...' and crossed my fingers as I pressed the flush button. As the water level rose higher and higher, I watched in abject horror, praying that it stop.
After about seven flushes it was evident that the monster log was not going anywhere without the aid of a large stick and possibly Dyno-Rod. I tentatively creeped out of the shower block, back to the tent, and sat in the porch with a coffee. In time Mr G woke up and went to the loo. We sat with our breakfast watching the commotion going on in the shower block. 'Ladies is closed' he told me. 'Toilet's blocked.' I nodded innocently and sipped my coffee. It's really not easy being me, sometimes.
|It's like that, y'all|
So, for this season we have invested in *fanfare* - a shower! It's a Hozelock thingy that you fill with warm water, pump it up to get pressure and then it showers :-) I figured that if I could have a good strip wash in a bowl, then use that water to wet and lather my hair up, I can use the shower to rinse it out. Can but try, anyway, and can't be any or much worse than the showers I'd face otherwise.
A pop up shower/toilet cubicle to shower in... and the pièce de résistance... a fold up toilet where you poo in a bag! I shit you not, campers! No pun intended! It's a folding stool (again! No pun intended!) with a loo seat on, and you attach a bag, and hey presto. I wish I was joking but, alas, you know by now. Puts a whole new slant on 'Be more dog' eh? Mr G pointed a finger at me and said 'I am not carrying human faeces around in a bag'. We'll see.
Water. We've tried those big floppy water carriers and they leaked and were cumbersome, so now we buy the big 5 litre bottles of water from the supermarket, and once we've used those, we refill them from the tap. Much sturdier.
Boredom: If you're going with children that are anything like mine, I feel your pain, brothers and sisters. Much wailing and gnashing of teeth at the lack of electricity (we don't pay for an electric pitch, because we're camping and if they were going to be permanently glued to their electronics all day, we may as well have stayed at home) and almost zero phone reception and no Wi-fi, and no TV and no way to straighten hair and oh my God... this is when either Mr G or I will break into 'When I were a lad/lass...' and regale the children with tales of how we were outside from sun up to sun down, and how we only had three television channels, and if you wanted to use a phone, you had to go to a neighbour's house or a phone box. We continue in this vein until they go glassy eyed, stop complaining and their spirit is generally broken :-)
Not being completely heartless ;-) we have an electric inverter, which plugs into the cigarette lighter of the car. I also have a multi charger which charges 5 USB devices at a time. So this is handy for most things, cameras, mp3 players, phones, Kindles. A portable battery charger would also come in handy for emergencies. We take (as a rule) a football, sketch pads and pencils (because my children are arty), fishing nets (for the stream in the campsite), playing cards, and the boys take their Nintendo DS's. Sometimes you have to choose your battles, and it is no fun sat in a tent with miserable, bored children when it's raining, and you've insisted on a technology free holiday. Because when they're sat glaring at you? As rogue raindrops drip onto their heads through your (supposedly) 4000mm HH tent? They're actually visualising shoving your colouring books and felt tip pens up your arse. One by one. Trust me.
First Aid and illness: When you've decided where you're going camping, make a note of where the nearest hospital and GP surgery/Walk in Centre is.
Regular medications: Take more than enough, just in case you lose some. Far easier explaining this to your own GP when at home than trying to get more tablets from a GP that doesn't know you and doesn't have your medical history to hand.Analgesia: Paracetamol. Ibuprofen. Liquid forms for the children. If you rely on stronger, prescribed pain relief like myself, for back problems or the like, bring that too.
Antacid. Even if you don't normally need or take them. If you're going to be eating fried foods, and adding alcohol to the mix, a packet of Setlers or a bottle of Gaviscon might be an idea.
Insect Repellent and Bite and Sting relief spray - on a lot of campsites we've been on, midges have been an issue at certain points in the day.
This concludes part two of my camping guide! Look out for part three coming soon :-)