We've had some truly horrible times camping...as in I want to go HOME...now! sort of horrible times...

Himself and I decided on a long-weekend in Scotland many years ago...it rained. Not a fine drizzle or the occasional shower...this was torrential rain for the entire four days and we were miles away from anything and anyone and our sleeping bags were drenched and the tent sprang leaks and in the end we had to admit defeat and go to my parents for the last night...Himself got up in the night to go to the bathroom and fainted...made quite a racket actually.

The following morning Mother told me he probably had a brain tumour and I was to make sure he went to the Doctor...then she asked what would I do if we were travelling down the motorway at speed...on the way home...and he fainted again...I told her we'd probably crash and cause an horrendous pile-up...she didn't speak to me for the rest of the morning.

For reasons I can't imagine, we used to go camping when we lived in France...in the forest...where there were wild boar roaming about grunting and snorting which frightened me witless. So I'd scream and Mother would slap me...

While I was still living at home my parents decided to go on a camping holiday to Scotland and asked if I'd like to bring my then boyfriend...I was immediately highly suspicious but he said he'd be willing to give it a go...we all piled into Fathers old Morris shooting brake and set off...and everything was fine until we entered Glasgow and became totally and completely lost...in the Gorbals.

For those who are unfamilar with the Gorbals, they were streets of tenement housing which were very run down and over crowded with poor families...they've been knocked down now but they were a totally alien concept to my parents and the more Father drove down one narrow street after another filled with tiny children playing in the gutters the more frustrated he became...in the end David...the boyfriend ...persuaded him to actually stop the car and he went into a corner shop and asked...how do we find the main road north...and the Pakastani man told him and he came back and told Father and so that was alright.

But the parents were totally unused to camping...Father wore his tweed jacket and a tie while he tried to get the little parrafin stove to light in a howling gale...Mother wore a frock and high heeled shoes and kept up a litany of complaints...so David and I took my little brother to find the nearest 'bus stop and we spent the rest of the week in an amusement arcade eating hot dogs and chips...

I did have photos of Mother in her frock and Father in his jacket and tie...they disappeared when we moved house though.

Much later when I was in my late teens a group of us went camping in Cornwall...just outside St Ives when it was still a small fishing village full of writers and artists...we stayed on a little site on a farm which had a sign in the basic toilets...PLEASE SAVE WATER FOR COWS...we only had one big tent and all slept together in a sort of huddle because we'd brought one blanket each and the nights were freezing cold even though it was the middle of the summer. The couple who owned the farm were lovely though and gave us eggs and bacon rashers and a fruit cake which was so enormous it lasted us all the week...

The highlight of that holiday for me was being lucky enough to meet and have lunch with Daphne Du Maurier at her home...one of our group of friends restored vintage cars and she wanted him to restore one of hers...she invited him to lunch and said to bring a friend...as this was towards the end of the week we were both a bit smelly and dishevelled by then...there were no showers on the site and sea water isn't the same somehow...but she appeared not to notice and we had a lovely time...she was slightly eccentric...quite loopy actually. Smoked like a chimney and drank neat Whiskey and told us some alarming stories about the people she knew...

After we'd been married for a while Himself and I decided we'd risk another camping holiday...anywhere but Scotland. So we hired a camper van and thought we were in seventh heaven...somewhere dry to sleep and cook...and you can see for miles 'cos you're sitting up so high...we went to Derbyshire and the Yorkshire Dales and Wales and eventually back to Scotland when the sun shone and the sky was blue...we went to Devon and Cornwall and to Ireland...and it was when we spent time in Ireland we knew that was where we needed to be...