Jul 032008

Published in the WOW! supplement of the Evening Echo

Château d'Ussé, in Rigny-UsséCamping is one of those things that seems a lot more fun when you’re planning it than when you’re actually doing it. We were heading to France for my sister-in-law’s wedding, and as we’d be away anyway, we decided to turn it into a family holiday. A few days at a high-spec French camp site (NB. High spec campsite – not a high-spec website) seemed like an ideal way to start the trip.

And so it proved: the days were great… plenty to see and do, and loads of things to keep the kids occupied. It was the nights that were the problem. We have one of those big family dome-tent contraptions – one bedroom for the kids, one for Mum and Dad and a central “living” space. Again, great on paper, but more challenging in practice.

Trying to get the three children into their sleeping bags, settled and off to sleep on the first night was little short of torture. The initial excited chatter soon descended into heated debate about territory, and things went steadily downhill from there. You must have been able to hear them on the other side of the camp site… a fact made worse by the fact we were surrounded by older couples in camper vans who were keen to get an early night. It was gone midnight when, at our wits end, we finally got them settled.

Continue reading »