Ah, the joys of camping. Cooking outdoors, lazing in the sun, sitting around a fire pit as the moon rises and wood smoke scents the air. The last time my tent saw action, it was gaily decked out in fairy lights in a Sussex field last summer, as we drank wine after spending our days hiking through the sunny South Downs and along the coast. Blissful. Idyllic, even.
Let’s do it again, we said to each other. It’ll be such fun. This holidaying in Britain lark is wonderful, isn’t it?
Cue late May 2021, and the weather gods that were so benevolent last year turned vindictive and downright nasty. You want dry weather during a pandemic again? Dream on, mate. And be prepared for a bit of a nightmare.
Still, we stayed optimistic as the date we booked ages ago for a campsite in Dorset’s Isle of Purbeck came closer, and the weather forecast looked positively horrendous. We even stayed optimistic as we scrambled madly to put up most of the tent in strong winds before the forecast heavy rain duly appeared. We less than optimistically put up the awning of the tent – a reasonably substantial-looking thing meant to house four people – while praying it wouldn’t go flying away in the gale. Then, splattered with mud, we zipped everything up and went to Swanage for a drink, eternally grateful that indoor drinking was finally allowed again and we could defrost ourselves.