It seemed like a lovely idea at the time...
We all have images of waking up in the fresh air to the smell of sizzling snags and a day of watching the kids having good old fashioned fun in the countryside. We are relaxing in a comfortable camping chair with our Sav Blanc and letting the stresses of work and life disappear as we return back to Mother Nature.
The reality though is much different! Here are 15 reasons why we shouldn't go away camping with the family at Easter.
1. Packing for the trip.
It is only four days but we pack as if we will be going on a 12 month trip to every continent in every season, everything but the kitchen sink (although we do take a laundry bucket so technically that is the kitchen sink). We pack undies as if we are planning to shit ourselves every day of the trip. We take toiletries and hair products that we NEVER use. Don't even get me started on the kids! Puzzle books, pens, bikes AND scooters. Then there is the food and snacks... giant marshmallows, cheese, biscuits, cereals, condiments, wasabi mayo the list goes on.
2. Getting out of the door.
Once we have packed the car and I say 'we' ... but technically it is hubby. He transports the bags from the front door, where I have placed everything, to the car, all the time moaning that we are only going for 4 days not 4 fucking weeks. I am lucky, he did manage to pack his own bag but apart from that he has done FUCK ALL to get the bags packed and kids ready for the trip. After a last minute meltdown because they are all waiting in the car as I "faff about"
"Faffing" AKA - ensuring all windows are closed, appliances are off, bins are emptied, fridge is cleaned, instructions to the pet sitter have been written and we have gone back into the house to get water for the kids and finally had a chance to pee after being up for 5 hours.
We meant to leave at 9am but it is now 11.30am and the kids are starting to get ratty so we do the obligatory McDonald's drive through. "I'll have a large grand Angus meal please with a water, actually instead of the water can I get a strawberry shake, yes a large one" and so starts the weekend of calorie overload.
3. Kids in the car.
Why do kids insist on arguing the minute they get in the car together? "He is annoying me mum". "She said that the Easter Bunny won't come because we are not at home". "He has his stuff on my side".
It's not an Easter car trip until Mum loses her shit and screams "If you two don't SHUT UP we are turning this car round now and going home I swear to God"
4. Arrival, emptying the car, setting up and all that shit.
The initial excitement as we drive into the camping site is quickly eliminated when we realise just how much shit we have packed and need to set up. Although the excitement of our first night does ease the pain a bit, as does the bottle of Prosecco we have just opened.
5. The flies.
Fucking flies, mosquitoes and bugs. No sooner have I opened the Prosecco a fucking fly decides to drown in it, (I don't blame the fly, I would contemplate that death too if I had to hang around my family for four days).
The kids get bitten by mozzies and start moaning. Yes we did pack a first aid kit that Medicins Sans Frontiers would be impressed with but alas no bloody Stop Itch is in it. The flies do not seem to care about the Aeroguard, I think they have become immune to it.
6. Spending time with your family in a confined space.
Why oh why did we think this was a good idea? Hubby's farts smell like something has crawled up his arse and died, the kids cannot get WiFi (so they are grumpy little shits) and my whole time is spent either preparing food, cleaning up the mess or shooing flies away. #FAMILYFUN
7. Sausages, more sausages and then more sausages.
Don't get me wrong, my sausages, eggs and bacon are lovely on day 1 but by day 4, I am crying out for my mushroom, avocado, halloumi, stack with fresh rocket and lemon vinaigrette.
8. Sugar high - what goes up must come down.
The kids have 5 million Easter eggs that they are ploughing through, so their moods are up and down like a bloody rollercoaster.
Everything is "BORING" because there is no WiFi.
9. Day Drinking.
The only way to survive is to drink your way through the day and evening. Fun at the time, but not so fun when your bladder is bursting at 2am and you just cannot bring yourself to get out of the warm sleeping bag and trek half a kilometre in the dark to the spider infested shower block.
You both wake up feeling a bit ropey and agitated, you drink your pint of Berocca and cook your snags but this hangover feeling lasts until about 12pm when you both decide it would be rude not to have a beer and some bubbles.
10. Mud, dirt and damp and wombat poo.
Even though you packed for every single eventuality, little Jimmy runs out of clean shorts, hubby didn't pack enough underwear, you spilled tomato sauce down your only warm jumper and missy Mia is complaining because her leopard skin leggings have mud on them. There is dirty washing everywhere and even if you do wash it, getting it dry is impossible. Then the fresh air that we so desperately craved actually smells of shit, wombat shit. No wonder there are so many fucking flies.
11. The shit taste of coffee.
They haven't quite mastered my soy piccolo at the local cafe. As for the local pub, the bartender looked confused when I asked him for an espresso martini. The cocktail menu consisted of Gin and Tonic or Bourbon and Coke.
12. The constant kids bickering.
I can't even bring myself to write about the crap they insist on arguing about.
13. Other people.
FFS Karen, do you really need to walk across my campsite to get to yours? Could you perhaps not spend the extra millisecond and keep to the pathways between our domains? Also just an FYI, we can all hear you and Baz arguing during the night so maybe just keep it down a bit. Also FYI, maybe Baz should go get himself checked by RESMED and get fitted with a CPAP mask before he dies from sleep apnea.
14. The serenity.
Ahh the serenity, couples arguing, kids bickering, Karen's portable speakers and her taste in soft rock. Bacon burning, toddlers screaming, car fumes, diesel generators, cold spidery shower blocks, dampness everywhere, greasy dishes, flies, expensive pub meals.
15. The trip home.
The packing up, the cleaning, the rubbish disposal, the restacking of the car, the traffic on the way home, the exhaustion, the thought of being back at work tomorrow. The arrival home and the fucking 10 loads of laundry that awaits.
Realising that someone left a banana peel in the upstairs bathroom bin, which you can smell as soon as you open the front door. The wilting houseplants reminding me of my own will to live.
At least the kids now have wifi so we do not hear a peep from them.
That said I wouldn't change the experience - I am very glad I went camping with the family this Easter, for all the moaning we did have lots of fun (I think?).
They are a bunch of crazies, but they are my crazies. We did hang out with great friends and have some wonderful laughs around the campfire whilst eating Aldi jumbo marshmallows and drinking gin and tonics and those are memories I will treasure forever.
Can't wait for next year!