a peek inside the fishbowl

04 Aug, 2021

Camping 2021: Two good things we did

Posted by andrea tomkins in: travel talk

Floating on the lake

One year when the girls were young teens we brought two inflatable. mattress-shaped pool floats on our camping trip and the girls used them to bob out into the middle of the lake together. They are both strong swimmers so I wasn’t *too* worried about them. It turned out to be a lovely thing, which was talked about a lot in  subsequent years, so this year I bought two new ones for our trip. I purchased them way back in the spring because I didn’t want to fall victim to the supply and demand issues brought about by Covid.

It’s always a risk, trying to recreate special moments, isn’t it? They become special moments in the first place because they occur at a cross section of space and time that, by definition, is impossible to repeat. What’s more, you run the risk of diminishing the original memory in some way. You can never step in the same river twice, after all.

It’s hard to tell by the photo but I chose cloud & rainbow-themed floats because they made me smile. There are large pieces of loose glitter inside too, which reflected the sunlight in a pretty way.

I would also like to add that they took forever to inflate because someone neglected to bring the special attachment for the batter-powered pump, but that is neither here nor there. ;)

Rainbow inflatable mattress

The girls enjoyed their outing on to the lake. We could hear them chatting and laughing all the way to our camp site. I took a turn one afternoon as well. How could I not? My floaty afternoon has now become the family joke because I nodded off AND DRIFTED AWAY. It’s just too funny. I woke up to shouts of “MUM? MUM?! MUM!!” I wasn’t THAT far, still in sight of our site, which is on the water, but a little bit further and I would have washed ashore on a private beach or ended up in the reeds.

I will say, it felt wonderful to be warmed by the sun and cradled by the lake. It’s no surprise I fell asleep, really.

Speaking of floating, Mark rented two kayaks from a local outfitter and had them delivered to the campground. (I don’t know why there are only canoes available for rent at Achray, and not kayaks, but we prefer kayaking.) Mark managed to snag the last two from this particular business. The kayaks arrived dirty and in rough shape (and we had trouble finding them!), but they served their purpose. The girls took them out a couple of times. Mark and I paddled to “gull island” across the lake from our site, where we spotted gulls and cormorants. (We proved two things: that the island was farther than we’d thought, and a lot smaller.)

One night I took it out alone, just to drift and watch the sunset. (No risk of falling asleep here though!) It was quiet, so quiet. I could only hear the splash of water and occasional thunk as my paddle hit the side of the kayak. I took a million picture and tried to store them up in my mind.

Twilight kayak

2 Responses to "Camping 2021: Two good things we did"

1 | Brien Marshall

August 4th, 2021 at 9:48 pm


This post has transported me back to camping on Lake Opinicon in the 70s. Air mattresses were the classic blue-on-one-side/red-on-the-other-side canvas over rubber. It never even occurred to me that these were used for anything other than floating on the water! Why would they be used as an actual…mattress? The taste of rubber-imbued air as you blew in and then put your tongue on the valve for your next inhale – I can taste it now!

2 | andrea tomkins

August 5th, 2021 at 8:55 am


Hmmm. Perhaps I didn’t use the right term in my post? They’re inflatable pool floats, but they are a mattress shape, if you know what I mean! I amended the wording so it made more sense. And yes, I also recall the taste of rubber air! lol!

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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