The writing should have been on the wall when the baby crapped himself in the service station Costa Coffee, staining my favourite Cos t-shirt. I didn’t have the good sense to bring the changing bag into the cafe with me, which of course meant I had to march through the busy service station covered in shit and out to the car park in the pissing rain. I should have got the hint then, but being a fun loving family we are (!?) we didn’t want to let a bit of diahrrea or torrential rain get in the way of our glamping extravaganza and birthday bash for Doris. This was the start of our wondrous week when Coffee, Kids & Ice Cream went glamping.
The genuinely gorgeous glamping site at Mill Farm in Poulshot had been recommended to my brother by a work colleague, and it seemed like a no brainer as we quickly discovered all other half decent summer holiday get aways had been booked up months before by those much more organised than us. My brood minus the hubby, my mum, my bro, his girlfriend and my nephew all signed up for five days of glamorous outdoor living with the promise of comfy double beds and warm running showers. The campsite even provided a travel cot and high chair for the baby – it was practically a hotel?! Or so I thought. Brief mentions of the unpredictable British weather were quickly replaced by day dreams of long hazy summer days with us huddled by the bonfire, toasting marshmallows, and enjoying a glass (bottle) of wine. Bliss. I had actually already been glamping before, but this was with my best girlfriends pre kids, so we naturally spent all our time shit faced. Meaning that even if the Gruffalo had been nibbling at my toes during the freezing cold nights, I would have been none-the-wiser. This was a slightly different experience.
The heavens had remained firmly opened throughout our four and a half hour drive to the campsite (including Costa crap gate) and showed no sign of slowing down upon arrival. It goes without saying that our tent was the furthest in the field from the car park, and as the husband had remained in his warm, dry ice cream factory (bastard), it was my job to lug the seven hundred bags to said tent as Grandma had kindly volunteered to watch the kids. Clever. After wringing out my socks from the rain which had soaked through my Converse, pre welly change, we excitedly explored the tent. The inside had two bedrooms, one with a double bed and one with twin beds. But the best bit was a little mini wendy house inside the tent acting as a third small bedroom with bunk beds for the kids. This would have been amazing if Coco had actually slept in it, but even Grandma’s offer to take the top bunk wasn’t enough to persuade her. Although in her defence, I think this would have gone down a storm if she had been just a few years older. The tent also hosted a log burning stove for cooking and heating, a large dining room table and chairs, the promised warm shower, separate WC and outside decking. The best way to describe the tent, and what soon came to be the catchphrase of the holiday… “it would have been amazing if the bloody weather had been better”.
As a result of the never ending rain, it was approximately seven minutes before my two monkeys were crawling the walls and mummy, and the usually patient Grandma Mags, were tearing their hair out. My one criticism of the tent itself was that a fire guard wasn’t provided, meaning I spent the majority of my time dragging my mischievous baby boy away from the sodding stove. And because the tent was so cold, it was Grandma’s full time job to keep the sodding stove stoked. Throw in a hyperactive toddler with the concentration of a nat, we began to feel the promise of our fun filled summer jollies being sucked away in a similar fashion to the way the dementors attempted to suck Harry’s soul. Meanwhile, my brother and his girlfriend were busy twiddling their thumbs just across the field waiting for my nephew to arrive (lucky sods).
BUT! Despite the hurricane conditions (I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore Coco), having to share my bed with BOTH children and waking at 5am every morning to pitch black darkness and sub-zero temperatures, there were some really lovely moments. The kids absolutely loved the animals on the farm. Raffy belly laughed at the sight of the ducks situated in the centre of the campsite, with “duck” becoming his first word (not “fuck” copied from mummy, that’s what I tell myself anyway). It was a real novelty to collect the fresh eggs from the chickens each morning, and Coco made a new BFF in the form of Poppy, the farm’s jack russell. It was even nice to swap the sound of the bastard dog barking at the back of our house for the eeyores’ of the farm’s three donkeys. Even though the day was a bit of a damp squib, I wouldn’t have been anywhere else but with my mum on her 70th birthday. The rain pretty much pissed on all our surprise plans for her, but I never have a bad time hanging with the Dunbar clan and there was much laughter all round. On one of our day’s out I also discovered beautiful Bowood House and Gardens, boosting an amazing adventure playground area for the kids, Tractor Ted’s Little Farm and a soft play area. We spent a lovely morning and lunchtime here and I vowed to return with the family to try out their hotel and, most importantly, the spa.
Has it put me off glamping? Funnily enough no. I would give it another go, but perhaps when the kids are bigger, there is hopefully less mud, and I have packed much warmer socks.
Do you have any disastrous/funny glamping or camping stories? I would love to hear them.