5 September 2010 (Sunday) - It Rained

I awoke at 2am to the sound of Tom Jones bellowing out his classic chart-topper “Delilah”. I was awake, I had a tiddle whilst I wondered how much longer the wedding celebration down the road could possible go on for. I eventually dozed off (despite the noise). Music was quieter, but still clearly audible at 3.30am, and when I wandered down to the toilet block at 8am I could hear someone on a loudspeaker wishing the best to the happy couple.

I washed up, and as the rest of our party awoke, we prepared breakfast. And we had bacon, sausage and egg sandwiches in the rain. The rain started about 8.30, and lasted for an hour or so. Long enough to soak us and our kitchen table. As the rain slackened off we packed away that which we could, and the sun came out and (mostly) dried our tents, so we got them packed before the next shower. The original plan for today was to get packed away as quickly as possible, and then we could play kites as long as we wanted, and then (having already packed away) make a quick getaway sometime in the mid afternoon. However with no wind at all, and being soaked from the intermittent heavy showers, we decided to go home early. We said our goodbyes, which took some time and then set off home, where we looked on line for some sort of lightweight awning.

I’d been looking forward to camping at Sumner’s Ponds for ages; it was a shame that the weather was against us. But I’d certainly go again. Reflecting on the camping trips I’ve done this year, I find myself leaning away from the whole concept of “Kite Festival”. The Kite Festivals are organised with “the normal people” in mind, but at two of my year’s three “camping” kite festivals you can’t actually fly a kite because the normal people are in the way playing football and having picnics. And if you don’t try to fly a kite in the middle of them, you feel you shouldn’t be at the kite festival. This weekend was in many ways very similar to last week’s Bat-Camp – a private camp of like minded friends.

However, next time I’m not going to go quite so minimalist. Minimalist camping is all very well provided it doesn’t rain. This year I’ve done five camping trips, and four of them have been very wet at one stage or another. This weekend’s camping was in many ways as an experiment, and one of the things we found is that we need a communal shelter. Usually we have one, and not having one this weekend, we really missed it. Pretty much everyone else on site had a caravan or camper, and most of those had awnings. Whilst we had several offers of the use of awnings, firstly in order to use said awning you need to be camped nearby, and secondly I don’t like to impose.

Normally we take a huge frame tent. We hadn’t this time. For future Sumner’s Ponds weekends we will look to investing in a lightweight cooking shelter, or we will bring “Brown and Smelly” with us...

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