Cara McKee, a writer and mother-of-three, living in Largs says ‘goodbye camping’ and ‘hello caravan’…
I used to quite like my husband before we went camping. I used to like camping before I went with my husband. It was even okay when we were dating and I could weather his constant desire to check every single thing I did, and do it again (although not in a patronising way), so long as I had a glass of wine in hand and the promise of a restful-ish night ahead.
Nowadays we have the joy of camping with children and I’ve given up on the wine because I know that I’ll be woken up in the night, as there are bugs in the world, and that the kids will be up, ready for the day just in time to wake up the lark.
If we stay anywhere long enough for the novelty to wear off, so the kids finally sleep all night, you can guarantee that one of them will have jumped on my airbed and given it a slow puncture – undetectable until 3am – when my bottom gently becomes acquainted with the cold, hard, knobbly ground.
So, in the lead up to this year’s seven weeks of summer holidays, when my husband got all wistful looking and asked where I fancied camping this year, I put my head in my hands and sighed. “I wish we had a caravan.”
“Make it so!” Said my husband, or something like that. We found a Facebook group with a snappy title (Caravan, Campervan & Camping For Sale/Wanted Scotland) and there, miraculously, was a caravan in the village down the road that was big enough for all five of us and which we could afford, if we used all the money we’ve been saving to replace our car.
So now we own a caravan. We’re still in the process of working out all the things we need to know about using water, electricity, and the chemical toilet (which we’re mainly avoiding using) and how to get the beds set up. I don’t think we’re ever going to be able to work out how to get all the stuff we need – the clothes, games, books, more clothes, pots, pans, and other nonsense – into the teeny tiny cupboards in a way that means we can find them again, but we’re working on it.
There are two particularly brilliant things about the caravan. Comfy and blackout blinds mean we can all get a good night’s sleep. It’s also rather lush to sit and watch TV on the rare occasions when it’s bucketing down in Scotland.
So far, we’ve only used it for visiting family (great for places we don’t all fit, or just to get your own space), and for a chilled-out trip to Culzean Castle and Country Park where they’ve extended the wooden adventure play park and parents can go in (the kids got bored before I did), plus they’ve hidden all the Lego people in new places (clue: the one on the gun has a white flag). Next up is a trip to Bannockburn where people have been raving about the new visitor centre. Can’t wait!
Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed that pulling the caravan around Scotland doesn’t kill the car!
Cara has recently had poems published in Issue 65 of The Interpreter’s House, on the She Might Be website and in The Ham magazine (London). Find her website at caralmckee.blogspot.co.uk