Drat! I just lost a whole page!
No, that is not the Cure.
One summer school holidays I managed to convince GOM- who was then Happy Young Publican Husband- into hiring a caravan off a friend of a friend for 2 weeks. Plan was to go to a gorgeous river camping site, in a Gorge. We had spent several happy picnic days there, & it was ideal for the children to swim, & generally have fun.
I should have known the OMENS were not good when we found, on delivery, the fitting on the 'van did not fit the tow-bar ball on our car, so there was a frantic search of nearby businesses to finally find one to fit. Then of course the drama of actually fitting it! We had been given conflicting advice on how to pack the caravan, & chose the weight at the back option. Things were somewhat fraught, & departure time delayed- not being helped by the celebration of a staff member's imminent marriage, the previous evening.
Summer could bring powerful high winds, & if they came from the Nor West they wer hot, from roaring over the plains. Yes, you guessed it, there was a rip roaring Nor Wester blowing- resulting fishtail spin was quite terrifying,-very early in our trip!- so we stopped to completely repack our van, & ventured onto the road again. The howling Nor Wester made the travel over an extremely wide bridge a terrifying affair, to nervous me! At last we safely arrived at the campsite, & the wind had obligeingly dropped.
Then came the part where we had to set up. Oh what fun! As I was straddling the towbar of the van, -as instructed by HYPH, -he accidentally let the weight go, so the result was the 'almost-rape, &/or breakage' of my pubic bone. Bloodcurdling scream brought a neighbouring caravan's occupants out to see who had been murdered. After finally managing to stand & then actually speak, we asked for some help in the setup of the awning. Fellow assured us we had done it all correctly. When it poured with rain that night, we realised it was inside out! so of course the rain poured into our 'doorway'.
Next morning, -me limping severely- we reerected the awning, right side out. As the ablution block was some distance from our van, we had got a bucket for the children to use for emergency piddles in the night. Imagine our horror when daughter got diarrhoea, & could be seen silhouetted crouching over the bucket, when she put the outside light on. As if that was not enough, she then got a severe allergic reaction to the sandfly bites, & swelled up like a balloon. Mind you, the sandflies by that river were the size of helicopters, & raised welts on everyone.
With the rains came unseasonably cold weather, so bushwalking was deemed out, & as a friend had lent us a small TV, we holed up, with a heater on. HYPH plugged the TV into the wrong port- or something, & the fuse box blew! Sheepish HYPH sneaked out of the awning, only to meet neighbour caravanner who claimed he had done it- using too many heaters. So HYPH never said a word about buggered TV.
The weather warmed a little, so everyone ventured out next day to the river. Son had been given a tractor inner tube to use as a 'raft'. He had made friends with other boys, & they all clambered onto huge tractor Tyre-however, river was a lot faster flowing than usual, so off they swept! Screaming hysterical father of other boy makes us all aware of what is happening, so GOM -who cant really swim, is the only one with the brains to rush out to rescue them! Tractor tyre is deflated, & forbidden for the remaining stay.
But wait, our fun adventure is not over yet! During the night a fierce mini Tornado comes sweeping down the Gorge, & upends whole tents, rips our awning to shreds, & twists all the struts, so we are unable to get out! After wrestling with it for what seemed like hours, we finally emerge to find the caravan next to us untouched! But others were less lucky, whole tents had been shredded around the poor occupants, & another caravan had been 'matchsticked'- empty luckily.
We had made friends with other campers, as you do, & tried to hold it together to enjoy the time remaining. It was a lousy summer, & we did leave early, in the end, vowing NEVER to go camping again.
We kept in touch with a couple we had met there, & she amazed us when she told us she had concieved another child there! They also regarded it as the holiday from hell- not because of the baby though!. Strangely enough our daughter is still mad on camping, & must admit she usually ejoys the experience.
Wont find us off Vanning about the place spending the kids inheritance!