An early start and Les Enfants are reasonably co-operative. They all troop off to the toilet block, only to find that it's being cleaned (you have to question the wisdom of cleaning at 8am, don't you?), so they all sauntered off to another one somewhere else on site. As an old fogey, I discover that pyjamas, especially those worn by teenaged girls, are actually highly fashionable and will adequately double as suitable clothing in which to travel home; hey, what do I know?
With only a modicum of delay, we're all packed up, or rather the kids are, and we're heading out of the gate to dump them all home. I'm coming back later to break camp and bring Towed Haul home and Mrs T is making a start as she stays at Rondeau. It's all working out swimmingly as the Toad Woman and I can work so much faster when not hindered by kids and animals! I even manage to put a load of laundry in the machine before I head back to the campground; how efficient is that?
So, the breaking up of the camp goes well. All the tents are covered in rain from the previous evening but we lift off the fly sheets, shake them and hang them up on our super-sized washing line to dry. The inside of the girls' tent is a fright, even though they were supposed to have cleaned it out. Crisp packets, broken plastic cups and mud litter the floor, but Mrs T is on top of things and gets them cleaned up properly whilst I put other stuff away. We're practiced in the art of drying wet tents, so we go through the process of gradually folding them in on themselves, exposing sections of wet groundsheet to the sun, then brushing the mud off when its dry.
By midday we're all but done the major work and have time to settle down to a nice, and very quiet, lunch before starting the final pack and hitching the trailer to the car. I thought I might have a bit of a struggle negotiating the tight 180 degree turn to leave the site, given the proximity of the fire pit and the fact that the grass is very wet. People tell us that front-wheel drive cars can't tow, but this front-wheel drive car made the tight turn and didn't slip once on the greasy surface; they know nothing.
With just the poo tanks to empty, we looked around the campground as we drove out and wondered when we'd be back again, what with the school holidays fast approaching their end. I reckon that we'll get out again this year.
The short trip home was uneventful and we did a glorious one move back-up onto the driveway to park up; I'm getting used to this towing lark, I think.
What of camping avec les enfants? It was a lot of work, lots of extra mouths to feed and I don't think we'd anticipated that the three onto one dynamic would be so corrosive. Next time the big tadpole takes a male friend! The three nights seemed to pass awfully slowly, especially compared to the previous week we'd spent at Rondeau. The weather was its usual August self, major thunderstorms, but at least it was warm and they were all able to get on the beach and swim in the lake, which has to be a bonus.
The jury's out, I'm afraid, on whether we camp avec les enfants again.
There will be more trips, but nothing planned as yet; keep watching this space.
Mr Toad - Airstreamer
The Old Blog