Yes, we got to the Camp. For us, it was not the best camping experience of our lives.
The disappointment started as soon as we arrive. Every year we park and set up camp in a particular spot next to the hedge half-way down the field. It’s one of the few completely level spots, it’s far enough away from things to get a peaceful night’s sleep, but not so far away that nobody can find us or that walking around to see everything would be a problem for me.
Beforehand, Brian had volunteered our big people-carrier as a taxi for picking up people from the bus station. Upon entry to the camp we were practically ordered to park it right by the gate instead of in our usual spot, because “we could be driving in and out all the time”. Never mind that we would only be fifty or so yards away, or that we would be sleeping in it, or that we would make sure that nobody would block us in (we’d need to go out shopping). No, we had to stick to the plan – which was that the Camp’s taxi would be instantly available at the gate, all the time.
The result was that we were well away from everyone and everything. Hardly anybody came round to talk to us – we were too far out of their way. And the extra walking for me proved ruinous to my knees; by Sunday afternoon, I couldn’t walk at all and was forced to completely miss John Barleycorn – the highlight of every Camp for me. On Sunday afternoon also, the rubbish skip arrived and was parked next to us – oh, yes, I’ve always wanted to camp next to a rubbish skip! And, to top it all, our taxi services were never called upon anyway. So we spent a lot of the weekend just sitting there, bored and ignored.
Then there were my nightly Headaches from Hell. These came on in the middle of the night and were horrific – I was retching from the pain. The first time, I thought I was about to have a stroke; after the second night, I concluded that it was my neck being cricked from sleeping on the damm airbed – the pain was radiating from the muscles at the back of my neck. Shifting my position the next night didn’t seem to help; more pillows under my head were probably the answer, but there weren’t any more.
In previous years, we’d never hurried to pack up and go on the Monday. We hadn’t wanted to leave and often stayed until the next day. This time we drove out through the gates ten minutes before noon, feeling nothing but relief that we were on out way home. We’d have gone a lot sooner if I hadn’t been disabled from a tachycardia attack and so unable to help with the packing.
I’ll have one more try at camping with the people-carrier, with lots of pillows this time to see if I still get the Headaches From Hell. But that was the last of the Camp for us.