An incident occurred while we were away on the Isle of  Wight recently that brought home to me the British stoicism in the face of adversity.

One night at the weekend we had the mother of all storms raging for a good few hours. The rain was torrential, and the wind screamed and whistled and brought down a blanket of leaves and twigs onto the decking.  We heard on the news the following morning that there had been over 500 flashes of lightning during the night.  Our holiday home was thankfully spared though, as it seems quite sturdily built with an added bonus of double glazing and central heating.

A little way away down towards the beach was a field of colourful tents containing perhaps about 200 campers.  The field had been full when we had walked through it the previous day, and Sam and I both wondered how they had all fared during the storm.  The next day when we took our usual morning walk down to the beach, the field was a tad waterlogged, but children were running about, barbeques were smoking, and families were sitting under blankets chatting and laughing, no doubt sharing events of the previous night.  There did not appear to be any spaces where a family had perhaps given up and gone back home.

I must admit that if I had been in a tent I would have sought out a hotel room.  Sam and I have camped with our boys at the Download music festival in similar bad weather, and remember the mud with its consistency of gravy, the bone-aching cold, and the inability to find any dry clothing.  Plus a nasty effect from the lack of a memory foam mattress on ageing hips, and the noise of other people shouting “Oggy oggy oggy, oi oi oi!”  well into the small hours. Never again!

Perhaps it’s because we’re older now and the families were all younger than us.  I think nearly 60 year olds perhaps need a little bit of comfort!  Would you have gone home or braved the weather and stayed in your tent?  I know what I would have done…

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