Deborah Ross: Camping holidays with the kids – what's not to love?

If you ask me: I love crawling around a tent on my hands and knees. I love getting dressed while lying flat on my back.

Deborah Ross
Monday 28 May 2012 22:44

If you ask me, and along with everyone else, I would like to recommend camping if you are looking for a budget holiday, and even if you are not. Camping is a wonderful thing.

I love camping myself. I love that feeling of waking at dawn with condensation dripping onto my face. I love it when my hipbones feel as if they've been repeatedly smashed in with a hammer. I love the breeze-block shower facilities which are full of other people's hair and spat-out toothpaste. I love the way everything that is dry will get wet and everything that gets wet will never dry out again. I love the fact every meal is sausage followed by sausage. I love drinking wine from a box in plastic beakers. I love washing up in a bucket. I love it when the mud sucks my shoes off.

I love all the bugs and spiders and wasps and moths. I love the sound of wind and rain battering canvas. I love seeing the kids at one with nature while they watch DVDs in the car. I love all those strange "whoo-hoo" noises at night. I love the freedom from straightening irons and going about with a hairdo that looks as if I've done it with an electric toothbrush. I love the way sleeping bags restrict all movement and you have to lie as if you've been cemented in. I love those inflatable mattresses that will have spitefully deflated by morning. I love being either boiling hot or freezing cold and never anything in between.

I love crawling around a tent on my hands and knees. I love getting dressed while lying flat on my back. I love keeping small children away from the fire. I love the way my brain imagines small children tripping, and falling into the fire, face first. I love UHT milk. I love taking several hours to make a cup of tea. I love keeping the contents of the cool-box safe from ants and failing. I love it when I have my period.

I love food shopping at a crappy Spar for yet more crappy sausages. I love remote places where they have never heard of avocados or sushi, and read the Daily Mail unironically. I love the way my husband takes the small children off to learn "axe and knife skills" in the woods. I love the way my brain imagines severed thumbs and limbs and keeping them on the ice that we don't have until the air ambulance gets here. I love it when the dog steals food from other tents and whole families come after us shaking their fists. I love tripping over the guy ropes, time after time. But, mostly, I love it because it reminds me how much more I love hotels and villas, and that I had best book one or the other today.

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