When you think of a cheap holiday maybe your mind always goes to camping, setting up home under the stars, in a secluded woodland glade, with only the wild life and the sunshine for company, eating sausages and beans cooked over the campfire. Sleeping in soft down filled sleeping bags with only the sound of a distant owl hooting to lull you to sleep. Your dogs snoozing at the entrance guarding their masters.
Scratch all that, when I think of camping I think of struggling to erect a tent that's determined to fly away over into the next muddy over- crowded camping field. Struggling to light any type of fire or camping stove and then when you finally succeed the beans weld themselves mercilessly to the bottom of the pan and you end up with black flecked boiled to death beans with underdone sausages.
You climb into your sleeping bag with rumbling tummy only to find that you've pitched your tent over the hardest ridgiest bit of land in the place and your sleeping bag is mysteriously wet, was one of the mutts that is currently retching up what looks like a disembowelled rabbit by the front door determined to have an indoor toilet or was it something less sinister. You toss and turn and finally that bl**dy owl seems to have b*ggered off, oh no there it is again with it's friends having a choir practice for tone deaf owls in the tree directly above your tent!!
With that in mind perhaps a caravan is the answer!
Those cute little tow along homes no bigger than a king size bed that you nip up the motorway with and park in any overnight holiday field. All your worldly goods hanging in the twee little cupboards, your mini cups and saucers clinking together for the journey. You arrive set in place your little step, unstrap everything that has survived the journey and after hooking up to the electric point put the kettle on and plan your first meal while watching the news on your lovely little portable television.
Scratch that too. Driving along the motorway at fifty miles an hour with huge trucks whizzing past and creating wind tunnels for your plywood box to be sucked into, arriving white knuckled and hyperventilating at a camp site to find you have the pitch furthest from the outdoor toilet and shower block. After ten minutes spent reversing your 'home' into the smallest space available because Mr and Mrs Blogs and their gang of unruly children have set up their van with awnings, paddling pools and dog kennels, and commandeered all available space you try and find the kettle, ah yes there it is tucked somehow below the table which then collapses on your head as you crawl under to fetch the now dented kettle. Balancing it on the little gas ring after fiddling for what seems like an eternity to get a flame out of the thing you realise that the TV ariel is obviously pointing in the wrong direction as all you seem to have is a knitting pattern for a lovely red and pink Fair Isle jumper. Oh, and once you settle down for the night the dogs decided that yes on top of your chest really is the comfiest place to sleep in this little box their humans are calling home.
I don't think so.
And then of course there's this.
Caravanning for lazy people. You pull up in your car, park on the neatly manicured grass by your ready to use van, unpack your belongings, put the kettle on and begin your holiday.
Fine ... except I'm married to a 'real man' and his elbows tend to bash the walls of those dinky little showers, he pushes me out of any bed less then four foot six wide when he turns over in his sleep and is known, on occasion, to be accident prone, ie if walking in narrow spaces cups and food leap out of his hands and embed themselves in carpets, furniture and on top of unsuspecting dogs.
And so we've chosen to spend our four days of mini holiday HERE in the same holiday apartments I had my little break at in March, only hopefully the weather will be a little nicer to us this time. The dogs will have lots of space, my man will have a lovely full sized shower and all the furniture is full sized and new. It may not be the complete lap of luxury but it will be a brilliant little break in an area we know and love, near-ish to my Mum for a nice visit and with fingers crossed for a bit of sunshine a patio to sit on and lots of lovely doggy walks along the river bank, one of which ends up at the sweetest little icecream shop.
Today's job for me now that we're all booked in, is to plan the menu for the four days so I can see what we have in the freezer that will be coming with us and what I need to buy out of our remaining holiday fund. The apartment has cost us £220 which leaves us with £280 for everything else.
And absolutely no offence to all you lovely campers and caravanners out there, this post is written very tongue in cheek :-)