My love of camping and the great outdoors is nothing new. There's almost nothing I like better than heading off in Daisy, our camper van, for a week, a weekend, or even a night, exploring new places and heading back to our home from home at the end of the day. I love eating outside, sitting out under the stars, but am equally happy (OK may be not quite so happy, but you know, happy enough) huddled in under the canvas awning, or even in the van, with a bottle of red wine playing Uno as the wind howls and the rain lashes down. I've eulogised plenty about it all before so I won't go on about it...
Sometimes, though, there are moments when it's not quite what it cracked up to be. Don't get me wrong it doesn't put me off for the next time, but there are definitely challenges that make unbidden thoughts flash through my head.
Mainly "What on earth possessed you?" type thoughts.
We had a moment like that this last week, camping on Shell Island in North Wales. The campsite itself is an odd sort of place - out on a causeway, you can camp in the sand dunes or facing inland with views over the salt marshes to the mountains beyond. It should be the best place to camp in the world ever. For various odd reasons, it's not quite that good, but we still had a great time. However, one night, the wind got up, blowing straight across the site.
"Will the kids be alright?" (they sleep out in an awning most of the time)
The wind got stronger. We went to bed ourselves, having checked everything twice.
The wind got stronger.
There was banging and flapping. Noises we couldn't identify.
The Husband valiantly got back out of bed to do more checking.
In the end, we just couldn't cope with the idea that somehow the wind would whip up the awning, blowing the kids straight over into the salt marshes that we were camped right on top of, so we brought them in to the van and I spent a largely sleepless night with Pink on one side of me, out of her sleeping bag, legs thrown over mine, muttering to herself as she tends to do, and the Husband, family duly safe and protected, snoring loudly in my ear on the other... It could have been worse, I suppose - Blue got to sleep on the floor of the van, nose to nose with the dog.
After a night like that, the best thing of course is a morale boosting bacon sarnie (sorry, all you vegetarians out there, but it really is), but no ordinary bacon sarnie - allow me please to introduce (drum roll please)
the Fried Bacon Sandwich.
For this, you need to make sure you are the person cooking the bacon. And really, given that just looking at it makes your arteries tense up a little, it should only be eaten in dire need. But it is so good.
Cook the bacon up for all the sandwiches you are making - then make everyone else's sandwiches first (part of the treat is that only one person gets it). DO NOT clean out the pan you cooked the bacon in. At the same time, make sure there's a coffee on the go somewhere. We take a stove top espresso maker with us - it has justified its van space on many occasions.
Butter 2 slices of pappy white bread, and lay one butter side up on a plate, or the table, or wherever, and put your own bacon on the bread along with any sauce you choose (red tends to be my choice). Heat up all the left over bacon fat/oil that's still in the pan, then place the second slice of bread, butter side up, in the hot fat and fry gently till crisp. Depending on how much fat there is in the pan, the bread may absorb it all. You won't be eating these often, so that's OK. Once the bread is crisp, remove from the pan, and place butter side down (the butter will have gone all melty, by the way. Mmmmmm).
Slice the sandwich in 2, take your sandwich and cup of freshly brewed coffee somewhere far away from husbands, children and dogs, with a view, and enjoy 5 minutes peace and quiet.
Mojo restored, you can crack on with the rest of your day - whatever that might involve.