Adlai and I boldly ventured into the great wilderness this weekend. We packed up our ivory transporter (Meriva) and headed down the Congo river (A303) into the heart of darkness (Ickfield, Bedfordshire). There we joined with fellow adventurers; those bold and courageous enough to charter new territory (some other dads and their sons) and set up camp.
In total, we joined up with four other dads and five other preschoolers, all of who were experiencing their first camping adventure (back gardens not included). Adlai and I set to work on our tent – the same one my parents bought me when I was 16 to take to Reading Festival. After 15 minutes we declared victory over the pegs and poles and joined the rest of our group on an exploratory trip of our local surroundings. Highlights included finding a whole lot of baby frogs (Adlai was keen to get one in his hands to examine more closely, though he had little success) and a natural spring.
Back at base camp, we lit a campfire and barbecued our dinner. We finished off the evening roasting marshmallows and stuffing our faces, which ousted the frogs for the highlight of the evening.
Then it was time for bed for the kids. The idea was that we’d get the boys down and then reconvene around the campfire for a beer or two. I never managed to reconvene; the dark tent was understandably intimidating to my two-year-old. So instead I lay next to my son as he chattered about everything from Buzz Lightyear to Mommy to the inner workings of his torch until he wore himself out, ending his monologue by kissing me on the cheek.
The night was strange. My sleep was interrupted by cries from nearby tents, but my own son slept through like a champ. We didn’t hang around much in the morning. After a pancake (or five – Adlai loves pancakes) we loaded up and headed out of the wilderness and back to civilization…and to Mommy, whom Adlai was keen to cuddle.