Campfires and exploding drinks with the 1st Lindfield Scouts


Like most people I like my holidays and when you’ve had a busy year or just need to have a break a quick holiday is essential.

For me I’ve been brought up on camping holidays.

There are some camping trips that stick with me, from camping with the beavers and scouts, to camping with my parents heading off to Cheddar Gorge, to being squashed in an old retro styled three-berth caravan in the New Forest with me, my mum and dad, my auntie and uncle and my nan and granddad – and somehow being able to have a cup of tea in a small tiny, tiny space quite literally like a sardine can on wheels.

As I write this, there’s an instant smile on my face.

My first taste of camping was in the 1st Lindfield beavers and scouts. Brilliant fun times when life was so much simpler and when health and safety was nowhere to be seen – quite frankly it didn’t exist.

We learnt how to prepare and cook rabbits, how to make mud oven’s and cook bread and cook bread wrapped round sticks with dollops of cream and lovely jam, and we could go around with pen knifes and hand saws quite easily.

In scouts in the early days we seemed to get away with so much, on reflection. For example one memory I have was when we always got given cheap, horrible drinks – so bad you literally couldn’t drink them – so what we did was, we got the drinks, we shook them up as much as possible and put them on the fire and legged it.

From behind a distant log you could hear the cans fizzing and bubbling, occasional twang, then all of a sudden one, by one, they would shoot up in the air and explode like fireworks.

Then once they were done we put a new batch on. The good old days - good, clean fun.

Moving on a couple of years, the camping was still fun but took a different form with the family’s investment of our first caravan. Not our wisest investment but it gave us a taste of caravanning, which has its highs and lows.

Let’s just say a tiny space, three people, you can hear everything including the rest of the camp site, especially with my mum’s snoring.

I remember one camp site and the looks we got the next morning coming from the tent. My mum’s snoring had kept the site awake. Let’s just say I don’t think we will be going back to that site in a hurry.

Caravanning is a total different ball game compared to camping, or even clamping, the posh form of camping. Caravanning is nice because you can load everything in your caravan, have all the mod cons and literally just hitch up the caravan and go.

The same applies to mobile homes as well. No need to worry about did you pack the mini fridge and mobile toilet - it’s all in one place ready to go.

There are so many different forms of camping; your bog standard caravan, folding camper van, trailer tent, normal standard tent - so many different variations of tent as well.

Over the years we’ve accumulated quite a collection but for me you can’t beat a classic metal framed tent. It may take a while to put up but it’s quite surprising how sturdy these good old fashion canvas tents are.

We have a French-made one in our collection. It’s stood up to some terrible storm’s.

On one trip our tent was the only one left standing - good old metal-framed tent. In some cases the old fashioned beats these new glass fibre poled tent’s by miles.

Don’t be afraid to try camping. The tents are fairly cheap nowadays and a simple chilled box with basic food supply and good camp site is all you really need for quick holiday camping get away

And you can’t beat waking up on a fresh morning opening your sleeping bag and tent inner, being greeted with freshly made coffee and eggs and bacon - and for some reason it always tastes better.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my faithful followers and readers and especially my parents who still help me with my dyslexia.

I would also like to dedicate this piece to Diana Willoughby who helped out with Lindfeld Scouts when I was younger. Really nice lady.

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