Focus Magazines The local magazines for Abergavenny, Crickhowell, Brecon & Talgarth – Events, News and Advertising
Hannah Hill, Editor of the Focus, talks about her fear of and subsequent love affair with camping.


‘I’ve got an idea,’ said my husband as I pored lovingly over the holiday brochures in front of me, depicting Caribbean Islands and azure seas, ‘Let’s go camping.’ My head snapped up. I peered over the top of the brochure, eyeing him in disbelief
‘Camping?!’ I repeated incredulously.
‘Yeah. Why not? It’ll be fun.’
‘But I don’t do camping,’ said I, reflecting that the closest I’d got to camping in my adult years was queuing outside department stores in London on the opening day of the sales.


Actually, that’s not strictly true. When I lived in Australia I did camp…once. The experience ended badly when I woke to find a six foot kangaroo eyeballing me through the flimsy tent material as it licked moisture from my shelter. But that’s another story.
Now, I’m not one to be easily persuaded. I am, what you might call, stubborn, bloody minded, choose whatever adjective you wish along those lines and insert it here. And I am definitely not outdoorsy. Suffice to say I had decided, in that split second, that no, I would not go camping. It was not up for discussion.


‘I’m not going camping,’ was my vehement response and I promptly went back to my poring, stroking photos of palm trees and sandy beaches in a longing type of way.
I mean, really, who would want to go camping? It’s cold. It’s often wet. There are spiders (not poisonous, I grant you, but still) you have to walk across fields to get to the toilet. There’s no fridge! My hair, what about my hair?! And as my internal dialogue grew in its hysteria, I looked over at my husband. He wanted to go. I could see it in his eyes; something of the Boy Scout. And here I was squashing his desire to build a campfire, stifling his (irrational) compulsion to thump tent pegs into the ground with a mallet. I sighed. And that was my undoing…


tent interior

Happiness is a well ordered tent

I didn’t want to like it. I had decided I wouldn’t like it. But I did. Damn. My first camping experience was wet and it was cold. It was all the things I feared it would be and, yes, there were moments when I ranted ‘See?! I told you it would be like this.’ But what I hadn’t accounted for and what I’d entirely overlooked was the fun factor.
There was a certain amount of joy to be had in boiling a kettle over a stove outside and snuggling down into the cosy warmth of a sleeping bag while the rain hammered (and yes, it hammered) down. The absence of the television in the evenings made way for long conversations, putting the world to rights over a bottle of wine, knitting, increasingly competitive style card games (the winner of which is still a contentious issue) and, of course, the campfire. I didn’t get quite as far as singing any campfire songs, but you’re getting my drift here, readers…I enjoyed it.
Fast forward a year or so and I’m now what you might call a consummate camper. A pop-up tent in the middle of nowhere doesn’t even bother me. OK, it does a bit…I’m a work in progress. I suppose what I’ve learnt is that the cliché of not knocking something before you’ve tried it (discounting six foot kangaroos) is good advice.


outdoor cooking

Nothing beats cooking outdoors

Here in Abergavenny, we’re so lucky to have such breathtaking landscape on our doorstep that camping is only a hop, a skip and a jump away. There’s the added bonus that if it gets really wet or really cold, or your card games get too competitive to handle in the confined space of a tent, you can get home to the comfort of your own bed relatively quickly. The benefit of camping is that it’s really cheap, even during the high season, so it’s fabulous as a budget holiday option and, if you have children, no amount of mud, wind and rain can dampen their spirits so it seems. Camping is a brilliant way to get in touch with the countryside and the great outdoors. Visit for some fabulous campsite suggestions in our beautiful country. If you really can’t stomach the idea of life under canvas, you can always try ‘Glamping’ – a form of camping involving accommodation and facilities that are more luxurious than those associated with traditional camping. There are lots of glamping spots popping up all over the place, so get online and check them out.
Last Saturday, I was enjoying a morning cup of coffee while reading the newspaper. ‘Look!’ I exclaimed to my husband, jabbing my index finger at the page. ‘It says there’s a sale beginning here on Monday morning. I bet they’ve got some great bargains.’ His head snapped up and he peered at me over the top of his newspaper. ‘I’m not going’ he announced. I raised my eyebrows at him and gave him a weighty stare. He sighed. And that was his undoing…

Article by Hannah Hill

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