The camping season has started! Ever since I was a boy scout I’ve enjoyed spending time under canvas (or whatever it is that tents are made of nowadays), and becoming a dad 8 years ago added even more excitement to the mix. We go camping several times a year with a group of families. We share our camping stuff, our food, our beer, and most importantly, our company. These trips are an essential part of life, and often I’m just too busy relaxing to recall quite what it was that made the last trip so memorable. This time though I felt I was tuned a little differently, and a few things stood out.
It was a very windy weekend, at times quite cold. This motivated us to be out and about much more than usual. We took a lovely walk from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard and watched buzzards soar, and sailing boats get whipped down the river. It’s good to feel the wind in your face.
We also took a walk to a pub for lunch. All of the 8 kids on the trip wanted to cycle and Pete bravely stepped up and agreed to lead the ride. This was Keira’s first time out on the road and I was pleased to see her so excited about it. The trip was just over a mile and a half passing by New Forest ponies and through a pretty village. Under Pete’s gentle guidance they had a great ride and there were loads of smiles waiting for us on arrival at the pub. It was great to trust a good friend to take Keira on an important journey. Letting go can be fun.
Toasting marshmallows round the fire with the kids before they head to bed is a regular treat. On Saturday Keira was sat in Carole’s lap and we were reflecting on the fun we’d had as a group and a family that day. As Keira went to get ready for bed she pointed at the starry sky and said “Say good night to Grandma Anabel”, and gave my hand a squeeze. With a lump in my throat I did just that. Knowing where you’ve come from is vital.
The inevitable rain came – though it had the decency to wait until our last day. I sat beneath a shelter watching for a few hours before facing up to the reality of packing a tent in the rain. And I really enjoyed it. The night before I’d been talking with Adrian about his and Laura’s recent walk along the West Highland Way which had been peppered with foul weather. Adrian said that they enjoyed everything Mother Nature hurled at them – it was all part of the experience. I recalled that encompassing thought as I stood in a soft English spring rain getting soaked, and I loved it. I went out of my way to take as long as I could to remove every peg, and tie every rope. Making the very best of what you can’t change can be strangely inspiring.
I hope you had a wonderful weekend too?