This weekend the girls and I went to a 'music' festival with some friends. Now, I wasn't exactly excited by the line-up (it was actually pretty poor and not my kettle of fish) but I thought it would be fun, especially for Annie and Eliza, as it was being promoted as a family-friendly event.
I've never been anywhere as far removed from fun, or anywhere more family un-friendly.
It rained for the entire duration of the first day and intermittently for the next few days (except for a two hour window during which I somehow managed to get sun burnt). From the first morning the whole place was a mud bath (the photo above was taken when we first arrived, it got worse, much, much worse!).
A-ha, I thought smuggly, I have had the foresight to bring wellies. I haven't worn them since before Annie and Eliza were born though, when my feet were a whole size smaller. Within half an hour I had the biggest blister on my heel. So I had to wear my sandals for the rest of the weekend with the mud squelching between my toes and around my ankles. My beautiful birkenstocks will never forgive me.
The site was a mile-long boggy trek from the car park, which I had to make three times to get all our food, clothes, bedding and tent. In the rain. Obviously although the children need a lot of stuff, they don't carry anything! And then back again at the end.
The 'organisers' had provided two port-a-loos at the entrance to a campsite for about 10,000 campers, which, unsurprisingly, were seriously minging after half an hour. The only other loos were inside the festival area or a very long trek away.
And there was no water on tap. Honestly: No water. I don't mean no showers or basins/sinks. I mean no water. at. all.
And no rubbish bins. Intermittent recycling bins but no actual rubbish bins. So you can imagine what a state the site ended up being in.
I had the worst nights sleep ever. Annie (who is obviously going to grow up to be a traveller-extraordinaire) slept like a log but Eliza was really unsettled.
I'd bought an air-bed which I couldn't pump up, because it required a nozzle of a different size to the three we'd brought along for Annie's, Eliza's and my friend Esther's air beds. And even though I have lots of God-given, chocolate-enhanced padding, the ground was hard, hard, hard.
Add to this the happy campers either side of our tent violently throwing up in the early hours, someone thoughtfully having an impromptu camp-fire, playing the guitar and singing (badly) at 3.30 am and, the final straw, being woken up at 6 am by people trying to find some drugs to buy.
And we were in the 'family' field.
I've always liked to think of myself as something of a practical, down-to-earth, sturdy girl, but I couldn't stand it.
I hated every. single. moment.
I am now officially a lightweight. I will never go camping again without a written contract promising dry weather, ample loos, water, thoughtful organisers and considerate fellow campers.
I wished I'd stayed home and shared David's weekend which involved queuing with entertainment in Borders on Friday night for the book and then enjoying a child-free uninterrupted reading marathon.
The up-side is that when we got home I had the best, most loveliest bath of my life. And my feet are very soft, mud is obviously super-hydrating.
Oh, and the girls had an absolute blast! They loved the mud, the puddles, the un-ending squelch-iness! But that's because their mother had the foresight to pack their wellies...