Thursday, June 29, 2006

Camping, UK style

We are going camping next week, in Wales - a region famous for rain, sheep, leeks and welshmen singing rugby songs in the back of taxis. The 5-day forecast is looking depressingly bleak. This weekend is supposed to be OK (ie. mid-20's), but all of next week is blocked out by raining cloud icons. I have been trying to convince my boyfriend to book a last minute trip to Spain, or Greece, or France, or anywhere the sun is shining and there might actually be a small incentive to go swimming at the beach.

As it is, I hardly see the point of packing my boogie board and wetsuit if the weather is sure to be crappy. I did my time body-boarding-in-the-sleet; crying in the open-air changing rooms because my fingers were too stiff with cold to pull my wetsuit over my ankles; and I hope never to repeat it. Perhaps, if there was a possibility of a hot bath and a large bed at the end of it, I could throw myself in - but crawling through the mud into a freezing, tiny tent after spending the best part of the day submerged in an ice-cold sea doesn't appeal, for some ungodly reason.

Did I mention that we went camping during the Boscastle floods? Oh yes, we were out there, moving the tent to higher ground in the dumping rain (so that we were only under 1 foot of water instead of 2), getting soaked every time we had to leave the tent to use the bathroom, cursing the rainclouds and eating our meals at the local Tesco's.

Contrary to what you might expect, camping is huge over here. In fact, it is enjoying something of a renaissance (witness the Cath Kidston floral-patterned tent). The only teensy, tiny flaw in this UK-wide trend is that: 1. the weather is shit. 2. The weather really is shit and 3. I'm not joking when I say that the weather is shit. There are about 2 weekends in England where the weather is perfect for camping, and it is impossible to predict when those weekends will occur. So booking a camping holiday in advance is a really silly idea.

On the other hand, you can get on a plane and be somewhere ridiculously sunny and hot within a couple of hours...Boyfriend, if you are reading this, please take note. I am starting to weary of your insistence on camping in the UK. Please can we buy a caravan or some plane tickets? Please?

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