Sunday, January 03, 2010


We are packing to go down to Tassie for two weeks under canvas (give or take a night with friends). We do a lot of driving and find that as long as the girls each have peppermints, water and MP3 players chock full of music and stories (Mamma Mia, The Jimmies, Police, Kate Rusby for sleepy time, Play School Rainy Day Stories, Kate Winslet reading The Faraway Tree, Charlie & Lola...), the girls are content to look out the window and watch the world go by. I often peer into other people's loungeroom-sized 4WDs with dvd players in the back and feel a wave of superiority, tinged with the humble knowledge that one day I too may go there. Never say never. Luckily at the moment, they both still sleep in the car.
I am looking forward to the trip, optimistic that we have our camping down to, well, nowhere near a fine art (we saw an artful photograph in the newspaper of wooden cafe table and chairs and wafty gauze draping from a tree), but it isn't a schemozzle either. We still need to master cooking - we don't tend to take the gas stove, as going and scoring a latte somewhere is the kind of luxurious distraction that neither of us could live without, and it's a pain checking it in when we go on the boat to Tasmania. We're getting more creative with public barbecues though, combining salad making with some kind of grilled meat, veg or fruit arrangement or making a meal out of fried bread (quesadillas were a hit). We do miss our one pot wonders though - rice, pasta, soup*.
With the girls the age they are, most of our camping has been short stints so far, and the way this trip has panned out we'll be moving on a few times. I am looking forward sometime in the future to camping in one spot for two weeks so we can perfect the campsite's aura. Maybe even drape some gauze of our own. Martin is infinitely practical, I am the one whose only issue with camping is the aesthetic of it - everything is green and brown. Nature is perfectly entitled to its green and brownness, I mean the tent and stuff. So I will have to sneak the airy white gauze in myself, and regretfully accept that there will probably never be a lovely wooden cafe table in our kit (though I hasten to defend myself - I am no glamper).

*for those who follow me on Twitter or know me in real life, you might know that recently we went low-carb. I couldn't hack the vast quantities of meat, and I found it hard to keep our salt intake down, so after a month's trial we abandoned it. We are still avoiding vast quantities of sandwiches, potatoes, white pasta and rice though.


  1. HAVE FUN Penn. The girls are the perfect age for camping, so full of adventure and willing to explore. I still remember growing up we would always go camping, such wonderful times.

    We joined the mob and put a tv in our cars a few years ago when driving across the country{NSW, NT and then Perth}. At the time it was a sanity saver but now a days we don't use it allot like fred and una the kids are happy to plug in their ipods and look out the window.

  2. Hope you have a fabulous time! We camped around Tasmania on our honeymoon back in 1992, would love to take the kids and do it again sometime.

    I had guilt issues when I caved and bought a dvd player for the car prior to driving to Melbourne with 3 kids some years ago. It was pre-iPod and Nintendo DS's for us and, although up till then we'd got by nicely on activity packs, audio books on cd and playing I Spy for shorter trips, I was frankly scared of a full day in the car with them. So I squished the guilt down and enjoyed the peace (we bought headphones too!).

    The guilt came from years of family trips as a kid during which I would get told off by my Mum for reading in the car because I was missing all the lovely scenery. I now have a theory she was jealous, reading in the car made her car-sick :-)

  3. Anonymous11:14 PM

    Have a lovely time, the Bloke tells me eating French cheese with organic avocado on ones sanga while camping is glamping, but I say it's not a freakin' holiday if the food's crap. So buy a big lump of excellent cheese, shut your eyes and pretend you're in a luxury hotel just for a minute a day.

    Til someone wants to play shuttle cock or totem tennis or something. Or sing the Sesame Street best of album (we only packed two cds for our recent holiday).

  4. Dani: Yeah, I think if we were driving cross country then a DVD might slip through my parenting net.

    Mim: I can't read in the car! I'm jealous!

    Kate: big lump of excellent cheese is exactly my idea of camping.

  5. Our camping indulgence - which also proved really practical with kids - was a big old faux persian rug (lotsa red and green, very aesthetically pleasing) that we spread out under the tent awning. The kids loved to lie around on it playing cards and board games. It has stood up to 13 years of camping and is only just starting to look frayed in the spot where it was run over by a lawnmower (another story).

  6. Here's a lovely way to deal with carbs: no processed ones. That lets you eat fruits and vegetables and beans and lentils and rice and other grains. Works well for me.