So we popped the 3 metre bell tent up in the garden.
We had to attach the guy ropes. We couldn’t pull them straight out as we ran out of garden, but we sort of got the idea. Then we put it up again when we went away. I say we put it up, but my son put most of it up and my daughter helped peg it out.
And here’s a closer shot of the inside.
As you can see, it has plenty of room to sleep in. We could easily fit three sleeping mats in. We only need it for one or two. The headroom isn’t brilliant. You can stand up in the middle and can probably fit two people in chairs quite close to the centre, but we don’t really need too much headroom. We didn’t use it much as there was only the three of us and the weather was fair. We need it more when there are four of us or when it’s wetter.
It rained for a little while and seemed fine and though we didn’t get it back in the bag with the poles the first time, we did manage to get it back in the bag with the poles the second time.
Okay, so the not so positive bits. Putting the three poles in is obviously trickier than the one, though it leaves more room in the tent. Unfortunately, you need to get in the tent, which is a bit like going under a blanket and what I hadn’t thought about was that I don’t like enclosed spaces much. So, I kind of need to grit my teeth before going in and ask someone to hold up the entrance so I can still see out. I’m sure I’ll get used to it in time especially with my children’s help. It just wasn’t something I thought about before I bought it. On our old tent the poles were on the outside.
I’ll report back on what it’s like once we’ve used it a bit more in a variety of weathers and got used to putting it up and down.
We did see some other campers with a five metre bell tent which looked enormous. From what I could see they had an inner taking up half the tent and it had two doors to it so it looked like they could fit four people in half the tent an it obviously had a lot more headroom too. Far too big for use with a camper van though. The mini bell fits nicely in the back and we’ve started to work out where we’ll pack everything in the camper van.
I’ll tell you more about our trip over the next week.
I have managed to copy my A-Z blog posts and put them under the A-Z page which you can find at the top of my blog. They are supposed to be posted every day except Sundays during April. I forgot to do Saturday’s so I did it today. They won’t be sent automatically any more as they are posted as pages rather than posts. This was the only way I could keep them separate from the rest of my blog and in the correct order so they can be followed easily. There’s a link here too https://lookingforaview.wordpress.com/a-z-blog-challenge/ Please keep looking I’ve been encouraged by the number of people who have found them interesting.
Now Edna hasn’t been out on much in the way of adventures recently. The weather hasn’t been great and the children have had birthday parties to attend, but we’re planning two trips during their Easter holiday. One at the beginning and one after the Bank Holiday hopefully. The night time temperatures seem colder than last time we went away, but hopefully the new sleeping bags will save the day or night.
I mentioned before that Edna sleeps 4 people, but with a boy and a girl that gets a bit awkward as they don’t particularly want to share. The solution is an awning or tent to go with the van. I have been looking around at camp sites for a couple of years now and the awnings seem to be either small and porch like for a table and chairs and extra storage or massive. Coming from a camping background I have always fancied a bell tent, so I thought that if I have to get a tent or awning why not get one I really want. The big down side of a bell tent is drying the canvas, but if I use it with the camper van I can just get it out when it’s warmer or when we need extra space with the four of us.
I was hovering between the 4 metre and the 3 metre, but then I saw the new 3 metre without a centre pole from belltent http://www.belltent.co.uk/bell_tents/3_metre_ultimate_bell_tent It seems big enough to sleep a couple of people or even 3 on a hot night. I’ve gone for a zipped in ground sheet so I have the option of rolling the sides up if it’s warm or zipping the bottom off if it gets muddy. I’ve dithered quite a lot about this decision and I’m hoping I’ve made the right one. I think only time will tell. Maybe I’ll regret not having an awning that physically attaches to the van, but I just had this vision of me driving off without unattaching it properly, or not being able to park in exactly the same spot when I came back from the day out. What about anyone else? Any thoughts on awnings and tents? Hopefully it will come some time this week.
I have been camping for about five years now and I love it. The first time someone mentioned I should try it, I wasn’t sure. Then I thought back to my teenage years when my Dad used to take my brother and I to France in a big orange and brown canvas tent with lurid flowery curtains attached. I loved it. But I wasn’t so sure about camping at home in the United Kingdom. The weather just isn’t so good.
Anyway, after a few discussions with a friend who camps and the realisation that it could be a way to get away without spending quite as much money I decided to give it a go. My camping friend organised a collection when I left the job I was in and they brought me a tent, a small suitcase stove and a kettle. The best leaving present ever. So, new house, new job and new tent.
My first trip was, after much deliberation, to Tan Y Bryn farm near Llandudno junction. It is a Camping and Caravanning Club certificated site and had an electric hook up field which was fairly flat and full and a sloping field with magnificent views of the sea. From what I can remember there were toilets which were alright and cold water taps, but no washing up sinks or hot water. We washed up in a bucket and boiled a kettle. I think that since then they’ve installed washing up facilities. The thing that sticks in my head the most was the views. At night when you went to the toilet you could see the lights from the boats twinkling in the distance on the sea -magical. I was hooked.
We slept on a slope, but it didn’t bother us too much as our heads were up the right way towards the top of the slope and our feet were facing down. We had so little camping equipment at this point that it didn’t really matter about it sliding down. We sat outside on a rug and I cooked on a stove perched on top of it’s own suitcase box.
At the time the children were 3 and 8, so I did worry a bit about them, but they loved it. They loved being with me and they loved being outdoors. There was a little playground up the road and my eldest was in charge of fetching water which he loved. He was also in charge of fetching pegs whilst I put the tent up. It was flexible poles so I could do it on my own. The biggest problem with that early tent was the bedroom compartments. They were supposed to sleep two each, but when it rained the double air bed touched the sides and if we moved too much and it leaked a bit in the corners. It didn’t put us off. It was the start of lots of camping.