Thursday, 25 February 2010

Swallows and Amazons - camping

This post is dangerously close to sounding like just another take on 'glamping' so I need to be a bit careful here. This is NOT about staying in a bed with a duvet in a yurt, or being able to have sweet-smelling hot showers, electricity and a Persian rug on the floor. I want to talk about old fashioned camping - canvas tents, stony ground, cooking over campfires, eating tinned food and sleeping under thick blankets. If I were to do this I would want to travel and live as simply as possible; I'm not a glamorous girl who wants her life to be all pretty and pillowy with hairdryers and towelling robes galore. Don't get me wrong - I like my creature comforts a lot - but there is something very attractive to me about the frugality of camping. No rain, though, please, not too much rain and mud.

In the spirit of yesterday's post, I've put together some things I might want to have around if I were setting up camp on a little lake island for the summer holidays. True to the Swallows, one must have a little vintage milk can, must one not? I've probably lost all of you there if you haven't read the books, so apologies for being such a nerd about it.

(clockwise from top left) Ridge tent from £465, Albion Canvas; first aid tin with contents, £22, H is for Home; wooden first aid box, £28, H is for Home; milk can, £25, H is for Home; English willow fishing creel, £285, Great English Outdoors; Welsh blankets, from £85, Baileys; sandwich tin, £8, H is for Home.

(clockwise from top left) Woodsman tent, from £605, Albion Canvas; narrow loom Welsh blanket, £185, Great English Outdoors; billy can, £14, Baileys; candles, Labour and Wait.

(clockwise from top left) Enamel teapot, £12, Labour and Wait (or google 'falcon enamelware' for cheaper prices); red saucepan, £40, Labour and Wait; vintage Chalwyn hurricane lamp, £15, eBay; steel kettle, £38, Labour and Wait; 4m bell tent, £279,

I have made a few concessions to space by choosing pretty large tents, but they are good to look at aren't they, and surely a girl needs a little more space once she's grown up? If you want an even more vintage look, try the period ridge tents from £255, Albion Canvas.


  1. I grew to love camping, as I alluded to once in a comment As a matter of fact, we will be taking a wee borrowed caravan to Lille in September and parking it in a place called Houplines. The caravan is a first, though: we are tent people - tent, gazburner, little fridge, some wine and some cheese, all on a tiny camping a la ferme. Heavenonearth.
    (And I will admit to buying gorgeous Ikea cotton for curtains and tablecloths, and insisting that everything MATCH.) :-)

  2. oh, how exciting! I love France and a bit of wine and cheese would go down a treat. It's nice to get away into the countryside somewhere really quiet. I have Ikea fabric as our bedroom curtains that I made myself. They didn't iron very flat so they aren't amazingly neat to look at, even though my sewing was fine. I think it's a bit temperamental when used for heavily lined curtains. I'm sure if I were a better seamstress they would have been a little neater!

  3. How lovely! I have made fabric dolls (the D's so far) and am still looking for ideas for their camping gear and clothes. The Amazons will be a Christmas present for a dear friend (she has the Dorothea and Dick already), and the Walker children will be mine when I have time to sew them.