On Tuesday we went camping. It was a bit ambitious so close to the end of term, but I decided we had enough time to get organised. And then Grizzly was invited to Lord's on Sunday. And then Rafa ended up in a 5-set epic on Monday night. And half-way to Wiltshire the next morning I realised I had forgotten to pack the booze. And the camera battery. And socks for the boys.
We arrived as the heavens opened. There's little more soul-destroying than trying to put a tent up when it's raining sideways, but I kept telling everyone how, once we were actually inside the tent, shovelling in the bolognese I had brought, all would be right with the world again - we would remember why camping was fun. Unfortunately the stove turned out to be broken. I offered marmite rolls instead. The Bear was seething, and refused to eat anything.
By morning we had a new stove and it had stopped raining. Off we went to Longleat. On our way to the enormous double gates into the safari drive, I noticed the signs saying 'Keep windows closed', 'Do not leave your vehicle', 'In emergency sound horn', and we laughed at how like Jurassic Park it was, and how implausible it was that you would actually break down in a safari park. We did, obviously. Somewhere between the monkeys and the rhinos. Red lights on dashboard, smoke billowing out of the bonnet...the works. It turned out the engine has overheated, and we needed coolant. We drove back to the start and, in a rare moment of quick thinking and ingenuity, Grizzly leaped out of the car and began sprinting across the car park in hot pursuit of a garage van he had seen driving past, eventually catching up and banging on the door as he ran alongside. The rather startled driver was pleased to confirm that tap water would get us home, before winding up his window again and accelerating away from the madman. However having spent an eye-watering amount of money on getting in, going home was not an option. We refilled the radiator, and set off again. The same thing happened in the wolf enclosure. It became obvious that every time we poured water into the radiator, water poured out from underneath the car. Against all the odds, we survived.
And that evening the sun was out, we had wine, and the kids were gambolling through the meadow enjoying freedom and the great outdoors. The Bee enjoyed such a degree of freedom that she was even allowed to go to the loo on her own whilst we sat outside the tent. I should add at this point we could see her at all times, although I did remark that we were out of earshot should she need assistance. Which later that evening she did, and it turns out a 3 year-old shouting 'I'VE DONE A POO!!!' every 5 seconds for the length of time it took Grizzly to undertake his second sprint of the day, is very audible, and very within earshot...for an entire field of glampers and campers, in fact.
And now we're home again. I've finally managed to get the marshmallow out of the Bee's hair, the tent is 'airing' in the sitting room, and we're planning our next camping trip...bonkers!
Back in the real world, the exciting Bee & Bear news is that I have been accepted for the 2018 Cobnut Food Fair, which I raved about last week. I have literally no idea how I'm going to cook enough muffins for a 2 day food fair, open 6 hours each day, in a 2 oven Aga, but I'll worry about that nearer the time.