Today, we’ve been camping. Yes, I know it’s out of character for us because we’re not natural campers but also, it seems unlikely that I might be able to blog from a tent in the middle of a wood so I’ll let you in on a small secret….we’re not still there. We went camping for the afternoon, had a lovely time and have come home in time to watch “Good Omens” and go to bed. Honestly, it’s the best way to do it. We did camp for one night last year, at Suntrap, and it was more or less bearable but we got about 4 hours’ sleep and were grouching at each other for about a week afterwards. And that was taking the easy route of camping with several of Eva’s peers with other people organising everything for us.
So, when Bob and Not-Bob offered us the chance to come camping with them in Epping Forest, we didn’t quite jump at the chance but we did do a cautious kind of hop at the chance. And it was only on the fringes of the Forest, not right in the heart of it. I think. No-one quite seems to know, even the people who made this poster for the campsite:
But wherever it was, it wasn’t far from home. So we could easily hop in the car, visit for an afternoon and come home again. And that’s exactly what we did….it cost us £19 for a day’s access to the facilities for the four of us (including parking) and that applied from 9am till 8pm. We only got there at 1pm because we wanted to brunch at home first, just in case there was no coffee on site. Turns out that was a wise move. So we had around 6 hours of camping before dragging the kids away at 7 as the weather started to turn a little less than roasting. And what did we do in that time?
Well, there was a lot of tree climbing:
And Eva almost got absorbed in this particular bit of tree. It was quite sinister to see her disappearing like something out a Guillermo del Toro film:
And then Reuben fell right through all those thin little branches and scraped his legs all over so we had to limp back to the campsite and patch him up.
There was a water fight and some marshmallow toasting:
And a pretty good BBQ, where we cooked pork steaks, mango and lime chicken and around 48 sausages. For 7 of us.
The kids did lots of playing in the playground while we sat around drinking cider and non-alcoholic beer for Nathan. He was driving us home, so I got him the Pistonhead Flat Tire “Drinkers’ Edition” 4-pack and he said it wasn’t too bad. A day when I willing go and commune with nature and Nathan drinks non-alcoholic lager….stranger things have happened but it’s hard to think of any examples right now.
We also had a not-entirely successful trip to the camp shop, which only opens on demand this time of year. They had a few ice creams, so we pretty much cleared them out and the random boy who’d attached himself to Boby spent his money on some kind of blue sweet that he wasn’t supposed to have. Ah well. The shop and reception both only take cash so be prepared and no, there is no barista coffee available. The Hackneyites were most disappointed.
As a “getting away from it all” experience, it was pretty effective. No WiFi, no crowds and only patchy amounts of phone reception. Bits of the campsite look like they haven’t changed since the 70s but what do you really need apart from a bit of ground and some toielts? Especially if you’re not actually planning on staying the night. Happy camping!