Despite what you might think about sleeping on a bed of treated toilet water I’ll say this, you do get a good night’s sleep.
If I had to choose between our first night’s camping site and our second, I would choose the first without a moment’s hesitation.
Smell I can live with – or rather, sleep with. Having my entire family rolling on top of me all night I can’t. And I know I can’t because I tried.
There is a reason, I discovered, why most camping grounds are relatively level. There is also a reason why the spot we set up camp on the second night was still available, despite how closely all the other tents were packed in. These two reasons are very closely linked.
“Would you get off me?” I mumbled again to Meg. Then I prodded her hard in the stomach to make sure she heard.
“It’s not my fault,” she whined, wriggling up the slope again. She put out a hand and clutched onto Mum’s blanket to try and hold herself off me. Mum, in turn, was holding onto Dad, and Dad had pushed a tent peg through his blanket and the bottom of the tent to try and hold himself in place.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to hold Meg’s additional weight and they all came crashing into me. Again. As we rearranged ourselves back into position, the lantern ran out of charge.
“You’ve got to joking,” muttered Mum in the darkness.
The ensuing oaths and scrambling for position woke Brandon. He started to serenade us with some of his classics, ones I have named ‘Killing Me Loudly With His Screams’ and ‘If You’re Unhappy And You Know It, Shriek And Shout.’
By morning we were all tired, sore and grumpy.
Although it didn’t rain on our camping grounds, it certainly poured somewhere because the flashes of lightning and the constant rumble of distant thunder added to our collective misery.
I got out of the tent in the morning to visit the now inconveniently distant toilet block. For a second I thought we’d inadvertently set up our tent on the local rubbish tip. There was stuff everywhere.
“Dad, you better get out here,” I said, sticking my head back into the tent.
“What’s the problem, Mate?” he asked sleepily.
“Breakfast for a start,” I told him.
Food clearly intended being a problem for us this weekend.
A possum, we suspect, got into our supplies over night, as well as the rubbish in the nearby bin. Perhaps it was revenge for spotlighting him last night.
And the stench! Pretty much everyone in the campsite had eaten fish or seafood all day yesterday, it being Good Friday and all, so the smell from the strewn about leftovers was truly horrible.
This, at least, brought a smile to my face. For the first time in days I was looking forward to catching up with Bruiser and his mate.
Dad’s shoulders dropped when he saw the mess. “Come on, Tristan,” he said. “Let’s get this cleaned up before your mother wakes up.”
Struggling with a bladder which was about ready to pop I quickly helped him return the mess to the bin.
“What’ll we do for breakfast?” I asked him as I was about to run off to the loo.
“I have a plan,” he said, and I could see the spark coming back to him already. Dad’s glass isn’t merely half full, it’s made of crystal. “When you get back we’ll wake your mother and get started.”
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“Raising a family on little more than laughs”