9 Aug

When I was a child, camping was fun. But then so was emptying tubes of toothpaste into the bath and dissecting garden worms (childhood is weird. And cruel).

It is fair to say that I have become an adult who enjoys her creature comforts. Running water, electricity, wifi access and chilled prosecco are benefits of modern life that should be omnipresent, I think.

This summer, my best friend and husband somehow conspired to persuade me to abandon them all in favour of festival camping. Twice.

The first occasion was on the Isle of Wight. I agreed to stay on site on the condition that we sought out some more stylish (and less likely to fall down) accommodation than a tiny £10 tent and instantly deflating air mattress from some dubious online establishment.

The solution was to stay in a PodPad – little wooden chalets situated in a private field tucked away near the main entrance. The pros were solar powered electric lights and in-car lighter style sockets, less manky toilets and smaller queues for the showers.

The one big con was that we could have bought a return flight to Hong Kong for the same price, and the field was alive with minute frogs. They were everywhere and especially enjoyed living in our wellies.

Still, emboldened by this encounter with nature, we decided to pay a visit to Camp Bestival, a family-friendly festival just down the road from here. The PodPads were even more expensive this time so we settled for private camping in Tangerine Fields. Tent, air mattress and sleeping bags supplied – much more expensive than rocking up with your own kit but more budget Eurostar than business class Virgin Atlantic in terms of cost.

To my delight, the field contained a “pamper tent” complete with GHD hair stylers and hairdryers. And the toilets actually flushed (joy!). What I forgot however was earplugs.

Night one: the children of 15,000 middle class families are all a bit over-excited. This makes them very very noisy. At 5am they wake up disorientated in their tents and begin a collective primal scream for mummy and daddy, who have been on the cider all night since little Florian and Yolanda went to sleep and are comatose in the tent next door as a result.

Night two: the world’s loudest snorer is in the tent next door to us. I get out of the tent and cough loudly by his/her head. The snoring stops just long enough for me to get back into the tent, take off my wellies and close my eyes. (The next day we cast a beady eye over the inhabitants of said tent. To my surprise they were all women).

Night three: the air mattress is by now almost flat. This means that sharing a double mattress is like sleeping at sea. Each time one of us moves the other is suddenly on a tidal wave as the remaining air redistributes itself. When my husband gets up to go to the loo I am thrown to the ground.

Something has definitely changed in my mind though – I found myself in an outdoors shop this afternoon admiring folding aluminium picnic benches and comparing the prices of gas-powered camping stoves. And I had gone out without any make up on. I have a feeling a return trip to the fields is not far off.


2 Responses to “Glamping”

  1. meeware September 28, 2010 at 7:30 pm #

    give end of the road a go next year. lovely music (really lovely) no kids (ok a few, but not the cb overkill) no teenagers, delightful grounds, massage feild(!) nice beer, wine and cider (and even decent whiskey). i tell ya, classy. i liked it and i HATE festivals.
    oh, and go for a trangia stove. camping equivalent of Aga, except actually good. most run on meths (which is ace).

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