We’re back! We’ve survived our first camping trip and we loved it!
All my trepidation about how Tink would cope was more or less unfounded, as she had a brilliant time and coped wonderfully with pretty much everything we threw at her. In fact, not only did she cope, but she positively thrived. We’ve always known that she enjoys the outdoors and we had hoped that she’d love camping, but the change in her was unmistakable.
First, we had a long drive in some pretty miserable weather to contend with. We’ve done long drives before and we know that Tink is okay with these. She’s really good in the car, actually, and is happy to look out of the window and sometimes doze off for a while. Once we finally reached our first campsite, in North Devon, we were all pretty tired, but she was content to sit in the car for a while longer while we got set up. There wasn’t much time for exploring that evening, but Tink and H enjoyed chasing each other by the tent. That night Tink, H and I ‘slept’ in the car (converted to a bedroom). I say ‘slept’ as there wasn’t much sleeping happening, as we were parked on a slight incline which felt more like a steep slope! This meant that we spent all night sliding down the car into each other. Despite this, Tink managed well, only getting upset as she wasn’t right next to me at first, so we had a little swap around, with poor H squished at the end.
The next day, the awful sea mist had cleared, although it was horrendously windy still. We thought we’d go down to the beach in Woolacombe – one of our favourite places on previous holidays. We stopped off at a cafe for breakfast, and this was fine until Tink asked for her ‘deedee’ (dummy). Parent fail – we didn’t have one. Crap! As if neither of us checked?! No amount of trying to pacify her (ha! Pacify – get it?!) was working and she was getting louder and more disruptive, so I rushed to a nearby pharmacy to see if I could buy one. They didn’t have our usual brand. I chose one that was most similar, knowing that it wouldn’t be any good, but desperate times, and all that… Nope. no good. She popped it in her mouth, and a look of utter confusion passed over he face! It popped back out again and she looked at it with disdain. “Yak. It’s disgusting.” We just looked at each other in despair and I said, patting my pockets, “I can’t believe we came without one, that there’s not even one lurking in a….” BINGO! There was a used, somewhat fluffy one in my coat pocket! We’re saved!!
Breakfast over, we made our way to the beach. What a complete and utter disaster. I don’t even have a photo to post, as the only one I took was a blurry Tink’s back as she tried to escape from the howling wind and rain that descended on us as soon as we found a spot. We had bought a beach shelter – what a waste of time! It broke before we could even get it up, after 10 minutes of battling the elements! Fortunately, the shop gave us a refund. Eventually, we gave up (okay, I may have had a bit of a strop about it being the worst day ever and how I wasn’t spending another minute on the stupid beach in the stupid wind and rain) and went back to the car. Naturally, by the time we got to the car park, the sun was out again, so we did sit in our camping chairs for a while, watching the kids playing on the grass. Until I put my hand on a slug that had clearly been residing in the folded chair for who knows how long?! Bleeeee!
We decided to give up with North Devon as the wind was too ridiculous, although Dave was impressed with how well the new tent stood up to the elements – what a baptism of fire! So, we packed up quickly the following morning and set off for Cornwall.
After another long drive down, we finally reached Penzance and our new home for what turned out to be the next ten days. The campsite was small, but safe and I felt happy for Tink and H to run around as long as I could still see them, so we pitched up in the middle. Straight away, I could tell she would be happy here.
The weather in Penzance was considerably better (and we wished we’d gone there in the first place, but hey, you live and learn!) and I think we all felt much more chilled. Tink had the run of the field, as it was fairly empty when we arrived, and she loved running up the hill behind us, then running back down again as fast as she could.
We were only a few minutes’ walk from a beach, so we ventured over there after tea on the first evening and Tink was so happy to be on the beach! She found a stone and began drawing in the sand. This was interesting, as she doesn’t often draw with pencils or crayons on paper at home, but she seems to enjoy mark making on a larger scale, such as in the sand on the beach. She made some marks and said “Eff, for Tink (obviously, she said her real name instead!) and when I looked, she really had written ‘F’! She also drew a spiral and said, “ook! A snail!” This is huge progress, as her last nursery report at the end of term stated that she doesn’t yet give meaning to the marks she makes and she can’t draw or write anything other than wonky circles!
We had plenty to do while we were there; on our first full day we walked about three miles along the beach from the campsite to Marazion, with a beautiful view of St. Michael’s Mount. Tink is often really good at walking, but has started to ask for ‘Daddy’s shoulders’ – poor Dave!
We visited Land’s End – twice, we had train rides into St. Ives, which Tink was very excited about! “There’s the twain, there’s the twain!” Both times we visited St. Ives, it rained, much to Dave’s displeasure, as he was desperate to show us his favourite beach – Porthminster. The first time, we gave up after a while and walked into the town to see more of it, but it was incredibly busy and I’m not sure about Tink, but I know I felt overwhelmed! The second time we stuck it out on the beach, and were rewarded with a swim past from the local seal and a rescue display from the Coast Guard helicopter and Lifeboat, which was exciting! Tink, as usual, loved the beach and was in her element jumping in the shallow water and digging in the sand.
One morning we walked into Penzance to visit the Pirate Ship. Tink was curious, but once she’d been on it for a few minutes, she took my hand and said, “let’s go, Mummy.” She knows when she’s had enough! She was quite happy to play pirates though! If you ask her what pirates say, she replies, “aarrrrrgh, shivermetimbers!”
We visited the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. Tink insisted on calling them ‘dolphins’ though. She was quite fascinated and enjoyed getting up close!
My favourite beach day was spent at Porthcurno, a beautiful little beach with crystal clear blue sea tucked away near Land’s End. We arrived really early so we could park and enjoy the beach before the madness of the crowds started and it really was lovely.
Tink just loved jumping the waves, which were a little more excitable here!
I have split our adventure into two posts, as I’m sure you’ll be asleep by the end otherwise! Please look out for Part 2!