Shall we go on a camping holiday?
My wife, Margaret, and I had to work extremely hard to build up our efficient and viable Guernsey milking unit. This meant that we had no holidays at all for many years.
About 35 years ago, in fairness to our young children, we decided it was time to take a break. We had 5 children but the youngest was too young to take on holiday. So Margaret stayed at home to milk the cows and babysit our youngest.
We decided that I should take the older kids (Robert, Lindsay, Russ and Gill) down to the Welsh coast (this was in the days before MS had entered my life). As we couldn't possibly afford to book into a hotel, Lindsay borrowed a ridge tent from one of his friends.
Margaret packed all our things into our old van and we drove to a camp site near Pwlleli in Caernarvonshire, which had been recommended to us by a friend. We arrived at the camp site at about 8pm. As none of us had ever been camping before we struggled for some time to erect the tent. Eventually we were able to get into our sleeping bags and fell asleep, exhausted.
At about 5am, the wind had started to blow and pulled the side pegs of our tent out of the sandy pitch. This meant I had to get up and collect some stones to keep the sides of the tent down. At 6am I thought I'd better try and cook some breakfast. I got the old Primus stove out and some meths to light it.
Unfortunately, my wife had not included a frying pan. What's the difference, I thought. I could just as easily fry some eggs in a saucepan (you can tell I was never domestically trained). I put the meths into the pan and started pumping the stove to get the paraffin lit. No success. I kept trying to light the darn Primus, striking numerous matches, when suddenly 3 foot high flames shot up into the air.
There was a lovely large frame tent pitched next to ours, which was in danger of catching light! I had to throw handfuls of sand over the flames to put the blaze out (most annoying considering the trouble I'd had getting the thing alight in the first place!).
After I had doused the fire out, I had to clean all the sand out, and try again to light it. The children were waking up now and Gill said that she was hungry.
Eventually I got the Primus going. I fried some eggs in the saucepan, and they did look a bit of a mess. Nevertheless I shared the gory mess with the kids.
After our meal they told me they were still hungry. The only quick thing to warm up was a can of Ambrosia creamed rice.
After finishing this Gill annnounced, "Dad I feel sick". This was not surprising!
After breakfast we all went down to the seaside to do some paddling.
When we got there I asked them what they wanted to do next. "We want to go home please Dad" they all said!
So that was the end of our camping expedition!
In later years we acquired a Thomson touring caravan. With my wife cooking, we enjoyed many happy holidays. But tenting again? Not likely!