(that was a typo in the title, but rather apt so I'm keeping it)
Don't you just love it when a plan comes together?
I do have this tendency to commit myself to crazy endeavours that involve a lot of headless-flying and not a lot of sleep, and this last fortnight has been no exception... but it has all paid off.
Basically it is Felix's tenth birthday tomorrow, and he decided weeks / months ago that he would like another Camping Birthday Party, which involves us, our friends, Felix's friends and assorted hangers-on disappearing up into t' hills for a weekend, getting muddy, having Nerf Gun wars and eating cake (and drinking lots of beer after the kids have gone to bed).
It's lots of fun, but when it doesn't coincide with half term it's an organisational marathon.
Normally I try to mitigate this by going down on my own in the morning with a car jam-packed full of stuff and setting the tents up for everyone before they arrive on the train. Advantages: I get some peace, I get to tinker and organise and arrange stuff without having naggy hungry impatient children biting my ankles, and - crucially - I can shove as much stuff into the car as I like without having to worry where the pesky people* will sit.
(*I'm not really a misanthrope**)
BUT this year I can't get the time off and am basically having to drive from Oldham (where I work) to Edale and will be arriving later than the hordes.
SO. I came up with a brilliant plan: Pack the car up on Wednesday evening, take all the camping stuff to work with me on Thursday morning, drive from Oldham to Edale on Thursday night, set the tents up, have the campsite all to myself, get up at the crack of dawn on Friday morning, drive to Oldham, go to work, go back to Edale on Fri night to find everyone happy and arrived (having come on the train with Ally) and everything set up and ready for maximum chillage / enjoyment.
There were, however, some snags:
1a. LOTS of people, all of whom had tents and general baggage which I helpfully agreed to take with me.
1b. LOTS of stuff. Cos this ain't just any old camping trip, this is a birthday party, AND two of the guests are other people's children for whom we will be in loco parentis, and I would like to make things as comfy and nice for them as possible, which means beds, duvets, pillows etc.
... meaning that it takes HOURS to pack everything up and get it into the car, and it only just fits. Our (big) car has never been so full. By the end it was like that vid of Japanese people being forcibly squeezed onto a train by helpful conductors. I had a gap on the passenger seat so I could see my left wing mirror, but apart from that it was like driving a van. TOTALLY FULL. And we had to put the roof box on too. In the middle of the night on Wednesday night. When we realised we wouldn't get away without it.
2. Oscar being ill. Oscar (3yo) has had a temperature all week and generally been unhappy and coughy and ill, which has made everything more difficult, not least the worry that he might not be well enough to come away, and what the hell we would do if that were the case.
3. Genius Day. It is Genius Day at work today, which meant that I wouldn't have been allowed the day off even if I did have enough leave. But also meant that I have spent every spare moment I possibly could for the last month developing my exciting piece of Genius Day software and being ever-so-slightly obsessed and distracted by that.
4. "flexi-start" working hours. I do not have flexitime where I work, but I do have "flexi-start", which means I am allowed to arrive at work any time between 8am and 10am, but after that I have to work 7 hours and I have to take an hour for lunch, so the time I leave is dictated entirely by the time I arrive. Which means that, in order to have time to drive to Edale and put tents up in the light, I had to leave work at 4pm yesterday, so had to arrive at 8am, so had to have the car packed up and ready to go by 7.30am yesterday morning. It also meant I had to leave the campsite at 6.15 this morning so I can leave work at a decent time tonight.
Net result: One VERY tired Clare yesterday, after several nights in a row of very little sleep. And a car FULL of stuff. I had to plug myself into YouTube and listen to LOUD MUSIC on headphones all day just to get myself through (had lots of fun with 70s and 90s nostalgia though).
So, the happy ending? A campsite full of tents and beds and duvets and food and a kitchen and tables and chairs, all set up beautifully. A very-snug Clare in bed by 10.15pm (with 4 mattresses and a onesie and a sleeping bag and two duvets, oh yes, although I will have to relinquish some of that to the hordes tonight). A decent night's sleep. A morning wakening to hills and trees and air and running water in the background. A peaceful early-morning drive through the hills. Genius Day, which is really rather fun, and my software is nearly finished and I like it lots and I am proud of it and who knows, maybe I will win a PRIZE???
Nothing to worry about at all, a fun weekend ahead, and best of all Oscar has no temperature at all and is back in school for the second day running.
** Oh all right then, maybe I am.
PS When I arrived at the campsite yesterday, there were four (four!) hares, chasing each other about madly, and coming really-really close to me whilst doing it. They were really beautiful. It was magical.
PPS Massive props to my friend's teenage son, who met me there last night and helped me put all the tents up. He was still asleep when I left this morning.
6 hours ago