After an evening of relaxing and filling our faces with BBQ food, as seen in the first trip part one, it was time for us to retire for the night and to experience our first night camping as adults…and for Guy Rope #1, his first camping trip that he could remember EVER. No pressure on this night going smoothly then… I distinctly remember camping as kids with family friends and waking up to find out that said family friends had abandoned their tent and driven home during the night due to camping most certainly not being for them… this was not going to happen to us!
Both tents zipped up, we all excitedly bed down for the night. Us Jellybeans are particularly excited as the sound of the zips and the feeling of being snuggled up amongst sleeping bags and blankets takes us back to feeling like kids. So far, so good. Guy Rope #1 hasn’t complained about his comfort levels yet and that is a good sign! It’s at that stage we realise that, whilst you can’t see into the bedroom from the main part of the tent, we can see out to the main part of the tent from the bedroom. We are without camping loo this time but at least we know that we’ll be reaching a new relationship milestone in the future by being able to see each other, as well as hear each other, go for a midnight piddle! On this occasion, I made it to 5am when I nudged Guy Rope #1 “I don’t suppose you need a wee, do you?”. Extra layers of clothing pulled on, we make our way outside into the chilly morning air but only after Guy Rope #1 had a little slip and nearly pulled down the entire tent. Tent still standing, we huddle together and venture to the toilet block taking in the eerie silence of the campsite. Bladders emptied, it’s time to head back to our little nest and get in some extra zzzzzz’s.
A few hours later, the sun is starting to beam down and we are awoken by the sounds of nature. Birds cooing is always a noise that will remind me of camping and I lie there completely caught up in the moment until ROOOOAAAARRRRRR… “Is that a lion?!” … “Hang on, I think I heard sea lions too!”. We were quite happy with the sounds of birds cooing but at the Longleat site, you certainly do wake up to the sound of wildlife!
Once up and ready, make-up free and wild hair of course (the joys of camping!), the teppanyaki was fired up again for sausage and egg butties. We all love the outdoors and we all love our food; this really is heaven! Food devoured and washing up done, it first starts to spit and then it starts to rain. We take this as our cue to get back into our tents and back into bed. I think there may only be one noise better than birds cooing whilst camping and that’s the sound of rain on the canvas. The soothing, rhythmic pitter patter of rain droplets soon sends me off to sleep and an hour later, I awake from a mid-afternoon snooze to find the sun is shining again. I have not felt this relaxed in a long time!
Once the rain had passed, the Guy Ropes decided they wanted to release their inner children and burn off some energy earning themselves the title of “pests” as named by the friendly wardens (AKA Mum and Dad). Firstly, they pestered the friendly wardens by asking to borrow badminton rackets before quickly realising the wind was stopping them from being able to successfully hit the shuttlecock to each other (well…the wind was their excuse anyway). Badminton rackets returned, they were back in the office pestering the friendly wardens for a table tennis ball. Their table tennis games were much more successful but that still didn’t stop them from pestering the friendly wardens one more time… “Please can we borrow the pool cues?”. Who needs kids, eh?!
Once the boys had decided they’d had enough fun for one day/once my Dad started hiding from them so they could pester no more, they returned ready to fire up the teppanyaki again for BBQ round two! This time we were also catering for Mum and Dad so naturally that meant we had shopped as though we were feeding the five thousand, teppanyaki not quite big enough – the cadac had to come into play as well. With all hands on deck, our feast was soon prepared and cue the arrival of the special guests…we spy Mum and Dad approaching, arms filled with booze… “Do you have any room in your coolbox for any of this?”. In our ‘All the gear and no idea’ blog, we had thought we were mad buying TWO extra-large coolboxes but this trip we have realised that we have a food coolbox and a drink coolbox! Ideal!
Full tummies, slightly tipsy eyes and cheeks aching from laughing…what a lovely night we have had! Well that’s excluding the occasional loud “ow!” coming from our pitches as it turns out the trees we were pitched under were oak trees and the acorns were sporadically falling and donking us on the head! Well, it’s better than pigeon poo I suppose! As the evening developed, it began to become chillier and chillier so it was time for Mum and Dad to return to the warmth of their caravan whilst we prepared for a much colder night. Jellybean #2 sleeps in fleeced pyjamas, fluffy socks and a dressing gown at home so I made a mental note to check she hadn’t frozen into an ice statue in the morning.
Morning arrived and everyone thawed out, there was just enough time for the final cooked breakfast before it was time to start the sad part…it was time to pack away and dismantle the tent. Overall, we found taking down the tent to be a much swifter process than putting up the tent. However, our problem still most certainly lies in packing everything away again into the original ‘easy-pack’ packaging…it was already a push squeezing everything into the car and now that everything had seemed to double in size, it was no longer a bigger car that we needed but instead a small lorry would be more apt! After a lot of pushing and shoving, everything was in the car with the doors bursting at the seams. Whilst mopping the sweat from our brows, we stopped to take in the sight of our empty pitches with mixed feelings…feelings of sadness as we could have quite happily stayed longer but also feelings of anticipation for future trips. We have well and truly caught the camping bug.