“Balloons!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” they all squeal!
They all grab one from her as they trampoline up and down on their seats.
All us adults give each other, and the balloon lady, a wry smile and tell her thank you through gritted teeth. The kids by this point are already smacking each other over the head with said balloons and wielding them like Lightsabers. Joy of sodding joys.
So now, not only is the car going to be fully loaded with camping stuff, a husband on the edge and hyper kids after a McDonald’s breakfast, we now have 3 balloons on sticks to cram in. Beam me up Scotty…preferably to a bar where there is Gin on tap.
We finish up, squidge our way back into the car along with the balloons and set off for the campsite. We aren’t far away now and this section of the journey is very interesting/scenic. We go past the Tata Steel factory, a random thing to note perhaps but the sheer scale and size of this place on the landscape is truly something to behold, with it’s smoke and steam bellowing out from it’s many chimneys. We then pass through Swansea, a mixture of retail outlets and seafront but it does look like a lovely place. On we then go through the countryside until we reach our destination, Port Eynon on the Gower Peninsular. A tiny old fishing village with beautiful coastal walks, a stunning beach and scenery to die for.
The campsite we stay on is called Carreglwyd and it is situated almost on the beach, just behind the sand dunes. It has a decent toilet/shower block, a small on-site shop which sells essentials like bread, milk and eggs and a pot wash area. It’s facilities are basic but clean, and nothing like reading festival… 😉
They have a van go around a few times per day selling essentials, as well as fresh fruits and veg if you don’t want to take all that yourself, and the Ice Cream lady also makes her rounds a couple of times per day. There are a couple of fish and chip shops a two minute walk away and there is also a pub and a restaurant. All bases are covered.
As we check in, my husband comes over and tells me that Keith Allen (Lily Allen’s Dad) is staying at the campsite. I can see him sat on a bench with his dog outside the reception. It takes all my willpower to not go over and disturb him to ask for a quick selfie, and it practically killed me to not start singing Vindaloo at the top of my voice…
Proud of my self restraint at not ambushing Mr Allen, we went off to find a suitable pitch and then did battle with the tents. Our friends are regular campers, we aren’t. We only go once per year and therefore, my tent putting up skills aren’t my strong point. Still, I do the dutiful wife thing and help my husband wrestle the enormous thing up and after an hour or so, with minimal swearing and toddler chasing, camp is made.
The kids excitedly put their blankets and pillows in their sleeping pods and me and my other half, naively, decide to stay in the same pod as each other because the boys want to split themselves up. No good can come of this. He hates air beds, being cramped and is quite broad. I am small, claustrophobic and hate grumpy men. You can see the problem that is looming can’t you…
We decide to head straight to the beach to stretch our legs and to make the most of the sunny afternoon we have thankfully been greeted with. We pack our numerous bags of crap up, buckets, spades, snacks, towels, swimming stuff, spare clothes for all the kids, you name it, it’s packed, and head off to the beach.
As we reach the end of the walkway, we get our first view of the sea and the kids all shout with delight. It’s a lovely moment, ultimately made even better by my eldest announcing, “Wow! The sea doesn’t look as deep today!” Truly insightful. He’s destined for greatness that one…*ahem*.
“WOW! The sea doesn’t look so deep today guys!”
After a bit of a walk along the rocky part of the beach, we reach the sandy part. Warm, golden sand, sunshine, sea breeze, salty sea air and very happy kids. It almost feels too good to be true.
We set up camp on the beach and while away the afternoon making sand pictures, sand castles, body boarding, paddling and eating snacks. Perfect.
We head back, shoes and bum cracks full of sand, and clean ourselves up ready for a lovely wholesome dinner of Bolognese that my friend had made and frozen ready for us to have for dinner that night. Such a good idea when you don’t want to cook on that first night when you’re all knackered from an early start. We have a beer/cider or two and a cheeky margarita (no, I wasn’t joking. I honestly did pack a Margarita mixer and some tequila!) before unanimously deciding bedtime is a good idea about 9:30pm. It rocks going away with friends who are equally as knackered as you are, no guilt about buggering off to bed early whatsoever, yippee!
We tuck the kids into bed and they’re all super excited about sleeping under canvas. I’m a little more apprehensive.
It all starts off well, until about 1am I hear the toddler crying. I try to leap out from the back of the sleep pod, having to hurdle over my half asleep husband in the process and fall out of it like a drunken teenager wearing stilettos for the first time.
I see to the toddler but he’s now fine so I leave him in with his brother and ungracefully struggle my way back into the double sleeping bag I am ‘sharing’ with my other half. I say, ‘sharing’ because while I was out seeing to the toddler, he has stolen the entire sodding thing for himself and I have no sleeping bag to climb into. What a tosser.
I wrestle it back off him and struggle back into it, but the small amount I am given isn’t doing my claustrophobia much good. I managed to drift back off to sleep only for the toddler to rev up again about 15 minutes later. Fecking hell.
I spring from the air bed again, clambering over my husband who by now is resembling an enormously annoying, and pointless, speed bump. I’m falling all over the place and decide this is a loosing battle so I shove the toddler in with my husband and I hop in with our middle one. The husband doesn’t look too pleased about the card he has been dealt but I am tired, cold and pissed off, so he can have the toddler and I will sleep next to the peaceful, angelically sleeping, middle one.
We wake to sunshine on day 2….
(story continues tomorrow)