This year, we’re off glamping – or luxury camping. Anyone who knows me will tell you that this is an act of bravery not surpassed since I had hysterics whilst abseiling off Merthyr Viaduct.
I am a B&B type of girl. Better still, a 5-star hotel type of girl. Comfy beds, soft sheets, a deep bath and an exciting range of mini toiletries and I’m happy.
But the thing is, when you have kids, it’s not about you any more is it?
I’m working up to the full ‘under canvas’ experience but at least this year we’re giving the kids the chance to (sort of) experience a life slightly wilder than living in a suburban semi.
I did go camping with my parents and my sister a couple of times when I was a teenager. We stayed on a campsite just outside Stow-on-The-Wold in the Cotswolds and then on a site in Stratford-Upon-Avon a year or so later.
I imagine that camping facilities are much more sophisticated these days but then it was still the wafer-thin groundsheet and an ‘off with a toilet roll into the bushes’ experience.
After a week of sunburn, sleep deprivation and constipation I was glad to go home.
I admire those mums who chuck their off-spring into a sling, don a pair of Hunters and trot happily off to a festival, irrespective of the threat of hearing damage to their little ones and numerous hideous diseases from the porta-poos.
I wish I could sit on a camping stool knitting my own bunting and teaching my kids about the starry constellations lighting up the night sky. There is such a romance about it.
This time, there will be an extra challenge for us. One that never existed even 20 years ago. There will be no electricity. So no phone charging or iPad charging.
In the confines of our wooden cabin we will have to (gasp!) talk to each other, interact as a family, play games, chat and share confidences.
Isn’t that what really makes a holiday though, no matter where you are? It’s the shared experience.
That’s a really unique gift to give your children (and will help strengthen your relationship with your partner too).
When I look back on my family camping trips now, although I hated the accommodation, I remember the beauty of the Cotswolds – particularly the quaintness of Bourton-on-the-Water and The Slaughters.
I remember sitting somewhere on the edge of a traditional English green watching the locals play cricket in the sunshine. There are so many hidden English gems to explore.
At Stratford, Mum and Dad took us to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform Othello (Donald Sinden was the lead) and I can remember it to this day – seeing Shakespeare performed in a truly authentic way, surrounded by an audience so awed by the play you could have heard a pin drop.
(No mobiles going off or the constant irritation of mobile phone cameras flashing in those days!).
So I’m going to grit my teeth and pitch in.
My parents did it for my sister and me so it’s my turn to bequeath the same chance of life-long memories to my kids.
And if it all gets too much for me, I’ll be investing in some experience days of my own when I come back – starting with a massage and ending with an afternoon tea!