go camping, after all I'm at the sort of age when folk normally start taking things easy. I'm not going to sit and let old age creep up on me though, so, after a certain bit of dithering, I thought we should take the plunge.
We bought a tent, practised putting it up (and taking it down, which is harder!), eventually got it back in the bag and loaded the car. Dylan the dog didn't seem to mind sharing 'his' space with the luggage; in fact he looked quite eager to be off!
Our destination was A Curious Arts Festival in the New Forest and the journey took a lot longer than predicted by Google maps. Still, the weather was good, and, although things didn't go quite as easily as on the trial run, the tent was soon up and Dylan could relax. We'd bought a 'goat stake' to fasten his lead to, in case he looked like wandering off, but when we were both sitting in the tent he was fine just lazing around. Another thing we decided to not use was the groundsheet for the outer section. It was so noisy when walked on, that, as the weather was hot and dry, we managed with just a picnic rug.
So far, so good, but how about all the expected problems with toilet queues and dodgy showers?
Thankfully, the problems I'd expected didn't really arise. The toilets were the typical festival non-flushing variety, and a bit iffy in the mornings before a truck came round to empty them, but the showers were hot, and, though not luxurious, certainly adequate. Maybe I was just lucky but I never had to queue for either.
I'd also been worried about how comfortable the inflatable bed would be. My visitors have always said it was fine, but then maybe they would out of politeness. Well, to be honest, Friday was a tiring travelling day followed by music late into the evening, and Saturday started early with seagulls waking us, then of course there were things happening all day, ending with music again at night, so by the time we were thinking of sleeping, almost anything would have seemed comfortable.
We were probably fortunate to have chosen a quiet,well-mannered festival for our first trip - there were no drunks stumbling over guy-ropes or singing in the middle of the night, no children playing football at first light. I'm not sure we'll always be so lucky.
The idea of having somewhere to retreat to during the day, particularly with Dylan, worked well - though I wish we'd had chairs to sit on rather than just slump on the bed. Something I'll put on a shopping list before the next trip - because I think there will be more camping expeditions, even if only to festivals such as this.
For more on the festival events see here