If I told you our latest camping trip involved 12 hours of driving rain, gales and an earthquake would you believe me? What if I told you that was just the first night?
Regular readers will know we’ve not had much luck with the weather while camping. Apart from a couple of dry and, in the end, quite sunny days at the start of May this year, all of our days spent camping have involved rain.
This half term we went to Plas Farm in north Wales for four days with our friends, the Ws. We left Yorkshire in drizzle and conversation in the car revolved around the bright bit in the sky to the west that we seemed to be travelling towards.
It always seemed that we’d be out of the rain soon. But “soon” never came. In fact, ironically the weather got marginally better – and by that I mean changed from banging rain to the occasional patch of drizzle – as we arrived in Wet Wales.
A brief respite while we chose our pitch and rendezvous-ed with the Ws soon gave way to a steady drizzle. From 4pm, thankfully just as we finished getting the tent up, the rain became proper big, hard drops. It didn’t stop for the next 12 hours.
During the evening we four grown-ups took shelter in our tent and drank wine (well, what else could we do?). After a late-night dash to the toilet block during which I cursed Husband for persuading me not to get any kind of toilet solution for the tent, we got settled for the night. The rain drummed like a military tattoo on the roof of the tent and the wind howled but we eventually managed to get to sleep.
Just after 4am Buddy woke us. He wasn’t sure what had woken him up and didn’t take long to settle, although we did. Strangely the rain stopped about 20 minutes later, almost instantly. When morning dawned we heard about the earthquake which had been felt nearby – 3.8 on the Richter scale sounded quite big. And the timings corresponded with Buddy waking up, so we can only presume he felt something.
We were trying out our new porch on this trip – which now I’ve read the instructions was perhaps not the best idea. The instructions say not to use the porch in high winds or on the top of a hill. We had done both. Oops. Even without this knowledge we were nervous as the way the porch attached to the tent created a kind of kite that the wind was trying hard to make fly. And it was touching the tent, meaning we did have a few drips during the night, although thankfully not in the bedrooms.
On the Wednesday we all took the children to Greenwood Forest Park and had a great time. The weather even bucked up for a while and we didn’t need to wear thermals or winter coats. Well, it was the end of May after all.
I’ll review the theme park separately, but suffice to say it was a really good day out involving a roller coaster, sledging in AstroTurf and a barefoot trail (whoever invented that is seriously warped, but perhaps not so much as those of us who went in it).
Another damp evening followed and an early night for us all, but we were optimistic about the following day, which was forecast to be sunny.
Unfortunately the forecasters got it wrong so we ended up spending a rather damp day in Llandudno. Husband, in a rare moment of optimism, declared the drizzle a sea fret and we put our best smiles on as we explored the pier and parts of the clearly once amazing Victorian resort.
Luckily the children were happy throwing stones into the sea rather than paddling in it and I was touched to see Husband and Mimi working on their own little creation, do you like it?
I prefer my version.
Lulled into a false sense of security by the forecast we’d planned a BBQ. But our luck changed (finally) and at 4pm the drizzle cleared, leaving the Welsh hills behind the site bathed in late afternoon sunshine.
The kids had yet more fun with their new friends in the playground and we sat around enjoying the weather – with just 19 hours of the holiday left.
The sunset was amazing and a very pleasant evening followed, with perhaps a few too many marshmallows and glasses of pop, and we woke optimistically on Friday morning thinking it would be good to pack away the tent in the dry. At least the end of the holiday would be good.
Those turned out to be famous last words as I came down with a sickness bug (no, it wasn’t the effects of the night before). I spent the 2.5 hour journey with my eyes closed concentrating on not being sick. I made it 2 hours.
Husband had already declared that the weather meant this break could never reach the dizzy heights of “okay”. In the end he downgraded it to “unacceptable”. I think that’s a bit harsh.
So I’m still hoping for a camping trip that he will upgrade to “okay” as I reckon that secretly he’s starting to enjoy at least bits of the experience. We have one more weekend booked at the end of August and it would be great to slip another one in between now and then, but I think I’ll wait til we’ve a free weekend and the forecast provides a cast-iron guarantee of sun before booking that one. Maybe a whole weekend of sun will convince him. Keep your fingers crossed…