We're just back from a week's holiday. So why, you may ask, am I slumped on the sofa, exhaustion seeping into my bones, while the car sits on the drive still packed to the rafters?
We went camping.
I always swore that camping was not for me. I'm just not a camping sort of person. To me, camping means doing everything you have to do at home but made a million times more inconvenient. I like comfort. I like beds you can sit on. I like massive comfy chairs. I like night-time toilet visits that don't involve a walk with a torch across a load of wet grass. I like holiday packing to consist of throwing a few summer garments and a passport hapharzardly into a suitcase.
However, I also like to go on holiday, I'm not made of money, and sharing hotel rooms with tiny children doesn't do it for me. So it is that, with eternal gratitude to the inventor of the airbeam tent (pumps up on its own in a few minutes while I sit there on a chair like Lady Muck), I have fully embraced the world of camping.
On our first tentative foray into the world of the campers, I noticed that I was considerably down on gadgets compared to everybody else. I have been rectifying this ever since, adding some new camping luxury item to my arsenal with every trip. I have a carpet for my tent. Oh yes, the very latest in cosy-toes luxury. There's an LED strip light that could confuse passing light aircraft into making a surprise landing in my awning. I love the natty camp cooking equipment and am especially pleased with my little non-stick pan set. Of course they are tiny enough to make actual cooking nigh-on impossible, but they do come in a little drawstring bag, so I'm a happy camper. This year I added a marvellous fold-out kitchen stand to my equipment list. Admittedly the tiny one-ring gas burner I plonked on top of it (and only used for heating beans and making the odd brew) seemed rather under-sized, but the whole thing looked the business.
My folding chair is super comfy, my airbed is fully flocked, my sleeping bag is generously-sized. The weather was good, the campsite delightful, I had good friends for company, and generous amounts of cake, Crabbies and fish suppers were consumed. The memories of long, lazy days on the beach, and pleasant evenings sitting around an LED lantern (camp fires not allowed on site) will no doubt override the fact that the lead up to the trip was marked by a lot of dismantling and one major unauthorised wall mural, our return has already involved a 2-hour stint by OB's bedside, and I still have literally all the unpacking and washing to do.
Ask me in a couple of days and I'll almost certainly say we'll be going again.