One of the benefits of having a significant break between Lee Valley and Wembley is that I had a chance to come home for a few days – it’s not that I don’t enjoy London, but I can’t afford to stay in London too long without having a purpose for being there – strange things happen to my bank balance when I do! But when you go from camping to your own house and bed, you realise pretty quickly what the downfalls of your particular campsite are:
- Uncomfortable sleeping arrangements: Okay, pretty obvious and probably applies to all campsites, but you don’t appreciate how comfortable your own bed is until you spend a few nights without it.
- Low flying aircraft: Not one of the most common problems with campsites, but it would appear that our campsite is directly under a busy flight path – maybe not Heathrow-busy, but frequent enough to be annoying! It appears that flights do stop for the night, but it doesn’t coincide with sleep schedules when you have an early start towards the west of London, and you’re camping in the east!
- Mosquitoes: In central London? Yes, it turns out I’m camping at the boundary of Hackney Marsh and the lower Lee Valley – I’m still finding new mosquito bites days after leaving the site!
- Temperature regulation: Pretty simple in a house, it’s something you can easily take for granted: You fall asleep pretty content with your temperature, you wake up at 3 or 4 AM needing to add an extra layer or two, and you wake up at around 9 in a stuffy tent due to the heating effects of the sun on canvas – not the most pleasant cycle to be taken through.
- Overpatriotism: No, believe it or not, we British are not the culprits here! The site is actually shared between two campsites, one of which is called “De Oranjecamping” and is formed of the Netherlands supporters. Many of them seem friendly enough, but when their patriotism exceeds that of the British campers (with all their flags, lions and overuse of the colour orange) you find yourself having to compensate! I happened upon a pair of wellies in union jack colours and decided I’d buy them because they were cheap enough *cough* Primark *cough*. As soon as the Olympics are over, I’ll probably never use them again (especially since I normally identify myself as Welsh over British).
- “Right in the heart of London”: As it turns out, you can define a 20-minute commute to the city centre as still being central London… if only I knew this before camping. Then again, I suppose there aren’t many green spaces in the city centre and there would be very angry people if all the parks were taken over by tents.
As you can tell, I look forward to my return tomorrow!