This was a bad camp. And extremely shitty.
Herewith a seasoned camper's guide to seasonal camping:
1. Rule 1: Be Game.
Big storms predicted? Bah. Potential very cold conditions? Bah. Arriving after dark and setting up camp with a small child? Whatever.
What's the thing about camping? Yup, you never know what you're going to get. But if you don't leave the house, you'll never find out.
Turns out - in this case - that what we got was a dark dank field, miles from anywhere, with no proper signage, no hot water (which we were promised), no running water (except from the sky - in buckets), and a veritable CARPET of cow shit. Which the puppy thought was delicious.
The next morning. Still raining. We'd picked up a lot of poo.
Made me view those brownies a little askance. But only for a minute.
2. Rule 2: Be Prepared.
And if not, be innovative.
Such as, when feeding your small child a picnic supper on the front seat of the Jeep in the dark and pissing rain, and on discovering that you have no spoon and that to get one would involve getting wet and covered in cow shit and maybe the dissolution of your marriage, make a plan by locating said child's toy box in the back of said Jeep and feeding her yoghurt off a small plastic spade.
3. Rule 3: Stay Upbeat.
I mean, it's not like you're going to turn around and drive home right? Not after packing all afternoon and driving for hours and getting all excited and finding someone to feed the cats. And bah-humbugging in the face of everyone's dire predictions that you'd be rained out ... cough ...
Nah, you push through the rough patch and the next thing you know the tent is pitched, the child is peacefully asleep, it's stopped raining, someone's gotten a bonfire going and you're holding a glass of wine. And right then you're really happy to be there.
Of course the puppy's still eating cow shit but hey ...
4. Rule 4: See the Beauty.
Protea Aurea - isn't she utterly beautiful?
'Cos regardless of what kind of camping experience you're having, you're outdoors see, and ergo there'll always be something beautiful.
5. Rule 5: Know when to Quit.
And pack up the kid, the dog, the wet and shit-bespattered tent, and make haste to a friend's beach-house for the rest of of the weekend.