Generally when we are camping with friends we are considered the organised ones. It is our ‘van everyone comes to for a spare mug, local maps, paracetamol for a headache or blister plasters after a walk. However, this last month this (unwarranted) reputation has taken a massive knock.
We were camping for three nights near the Leicestershire market town of Melton Mowbray with the Devon Conversions Owners Club and had packed the ‘van with warm clothes and food before leaving Salford. It was splendid to meet old and new friends and our first night was convivial.
All was well with the world until we came to make the beds that evening. I opened the cupboard to extract the duvets and seeing an empty space experienced that bottom-of-the-stomach sick feeling. In winter, between camping trips our duvets and sleeping bags are stored in the flat to stop them getting damp and they were still there! All we had with us were sheets and pillow cases.
We felt foolish and embarrassed as we searched the ‘van for suitable alternatives for the night. Covered with sheets, our emergency blankets and coats and with the heating on we were fortunately warm enough but missed snuggling under a thick duvet.
We could have kept our discomfort to ourselves but weren’t looking forward to two more nights under makeshift bedding so the next morning I sought help from the reception staff at Eye Kettleby Lakes, where we were staying.
Campsite staff must have a long list of ludicrous questions they have been asked over the years but I like to think my request will become notorious for camping ineptitude. To be fair to the excellent staff, when I hung my head in shame, explained the situation and asked if they had a duvet we could borrow for a couple of nights they were professional and didn’t even titter at my school boy error.
They provided duvets with freshly laundered covers and refused any payment for their trouble; we were so grateful (and lucky) to be on a campsite with first-rate customer service. We bought the staff a thank you box of chocolates and will attempt to move on and rebuild our reputations.
Published in MMM March 2019 edition.